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  • Signing big name FA RB a "fools errand"

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/...ents-meet-hell

    After a season that saw unheralded backs like Arian Foster and Peyton Hillis break out with elite numbers, it should be clear to NFL teams that running backs are mostly fungible properties. That doesn't appear to be the case. The Broncos, for one, have been vocal about wanting to add a running back in free agency, compounding their mistake to waste a first-round pick on Knowshon Moreno two years ago. It's hard to imagine they're the only interested party.

    Spending more than a million dollars or so on a running back in free agency, though, has mostly been a fool's errand. Last season, the Bears and Chiefs gave free-agent backs Chester Taylor and Thomas Jones, respectively, a combined $10 million for the 2010 season. They were the two least productive running backs in football. The Eagles gave Mike Bell $1.7 million and dealt him to Cleveland halfway through the year. They also re-signed hybrid back Leonard Weaver, only for Weaver to suffer a gruesome knee injury in Week 1. Of the veteran backs who switched teams, only LaDainian Tomlinson approached even a passable level of play. Meanwhile, Danny Woodhead, Ryan Torain, and LeGarrette Blount all bounced around the waiver wire for peanuts.

    This wasn't just a 2010 thing, either. Virtually every outlay given to a veteran back in free agency has failed. Derrick Ward got $6 million in guaranteed money from the Buccaneers in 2009 and lasted one year. His former teammate with the Giants, Brandon Jacobs, re-signed with the team and lost his starting job a year later. During the 2007 offseason, Ahman Green got $6.5 million in guaranteed money for a total of 144 carries in two years with the Texans. The Broncos passed on Green to sign Travis Henry, who got $12 million in guaranteed money and ran for 691 yards and four touchdowns before the team released him to a life of child support payments and drug trafficking. By comparison, the Raiders got off lucky by giving Dominic Rhodes $2.5 million to produce 75 below-average carries. And they signed him only because their $17.8 million investment in LaMont Jordan after the 2005 season proved to be a great way to get 3.8 disgruntled yards per carry. Edgerrin James made that look good, running for 3.6 yards a pop while picking up $25 million from the Cardinals during his three years with the team. James was benched during the team's 2008 NFC championship season for a fifth-round pick making $430,500, Tim Hightower.

    The counterexample every GM will use to try to convince themselves that things will work out is Michael Turner, but even the six-year deal with $15 million in guaranteed money that he got doesn't look all that great any more. After a superb 2008, Turner suffered through injuries in 2009 and had a below-average DVOA1 in 2010. Considering Turner has been one of the league's worst receivers at halfback, he needs to be a remarkably efficient runner to justify his salary. Other success stories in free agency, such as Jamal Lewis (Browns, 2007) and Chester Taylor (Vikings, 2006), were also first-season wonders. The last time a team invested more than a million bucks in a free-agent back and got a consistent return was when the Bears snapped up Thomas Jones in 2004. Jones signed a four-year deal worth $10 million and promptly ran for nearly 3,500 yards and 22 touchdowns in three seasons with the Bears. Even if you like Turner more than the numbers do, that's two impact backs in the past seven free-agent classes. Running backs simply don't last long enough — running backs who put up a 1,000-yard season since 1983 have only been able to repeat that performance an average of 1.5 times over the remainder of their careers.
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  • #2
    Il be very unhappy if we shell out top dollar to sign Williams

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Papa-pwn View Post
      Il be very unhappy if we shell out top dollar to sign Williams
      I'll be disappointed if we shell out ANY money for him. It's a recipe for failure. We're expecting Tim Tebow to be the first successful heisman winner and first successful spread option QB in the NFL, be the first team to have a great D with nothing on the line, and we want to add the decades of historical failures of signing a big name FA RB?

      We'd have to be the ultimate team of destiny for that ALL to pan out.
      Last edited by CoryWinget81; 07-20-2011, 01:19 PM.
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      • #4
        We need more depth at RB... but I don't think emptying the wallet for a player (who most likely is looking for his last BIG contract in the league) is a smart thing to do.

        Age, injuries, and workload are all negatives that could = disaster in the near future.

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        • #5
          said it before, say it again, running backs are a dime a dozen in the NFL up until they hit that big payday (with exceptions of course) but unless your have a AP, Chris Johnson, MJD I do not think its worth a top contract.... hell Blount from tamppa ran liek a beast last year, willis of course, Mike Tolbert, Chris Ivory, Arian Foster the list goes one... I played RB in college and I believe that besides the line, running back is the toughest position to play on the field and usually the ones who excel are the ones that have the athletic talent but more importantly the drive to play hard 100% of the time.

          Also, with teams having a two back system, why shell out more millions to another RB when you can get the same production for a lot less?

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          • #6
            All their examples are guys who were signed past their prime, didn't get playing time with their new team, or were coming off a career year.

            There's an enormous difference between Derrick Ward or Dominic Rhodes and DeAngelo Williams.

            Williams is one of the best backs in the league, and has been for multiple seasons. It's not realistic to think he could possibly be bad for a team, the only risk is injury.

            Everyone talks about the breakout backs who were acquired for nearly nothing, but everyone fails to realize that its about 1 in every 200 undrafted backs that actually DO SOMETHING in the NFL.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by CoryWinget81 View Post
              I'll be disappointed if we shell out ANY money for him. It's a recipe for failure. We're expecting Tim Tebow to be the first successful heisman winner and first successful spread option QB in the NFL, be the first team to have a great D with nothing on the line, and we want to add the decades of historical failures of signing a big name FA RB?

              We'd have to be the ultimate team of destiny for that ALL to pan out.
              I'm already starting to wash my hands of this season when the FO says RB is top priority... if we don't have a big name DT on day 1 of FA, I'll be pretty upset.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SoundsOfSuccess View Post
                All their examples are guys who were signed past their prime, didn't get playing time with their new team, or were coming off a career year.

                There's an enormous difference between Derrick Ward or Dominic Rhodes and DeAngelo Williams.

                Williams is one of the best backs in the league, and has been for multiple seasons. It's not realistic to think he could possibly be bad for a team, the only risk is injury.

                Everyone talks about the breakout backs who were acquired for nearly nothing, but everyone fails to realize that its about 1 in every 200 undrafted backs that actually DO SOMETHING in the NFL.
                Average number of times a RB reproduces a 1000 yard season since 1993: 1.5 times.


                Read the article. Two players....two in 25 years ALMOST lived up to the deal.

                EDIT: 1983, not 93.
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                • #9
                  i'd rather pay $9m for deangelo than $9m for orton

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lolcopter View Post
                    i'd rather pay $9m for deangelo than $9m for orton

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CoryWinget81 View Post
                      Average number of times a RB reproduces a 1000 yard season since 1993: 1.5 times.


                      Read the article. Two players....two in 25 years ALMOST lived up to the deal.

                      EDIT: 1983, not 93.
                      And DeAngelo is unlikely to consecutively run for 1000 yards. He won't be the only one carrying the rock.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lolcopter View Post
                        i'd rather pay $9m for deangelo than $9m for orton
                        Alright guys... lets try to discuss RBs here...
                        Thanks, Reid!
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SoundsOfSuccess View Post
                          And DeAngelo is unlikely to consecutively run for 1000 yards. He won't be the only one carrying the rock.

                          So then it makes sense to sign a FA thats most likely looking for more than 2 million a year that you're not going to expect a 1k season out of?








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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LordTrychon View Post
                            Alright guys... lets try to discuss RBs here...
                            i'm arguing for the rational allocation of resources ($$$)

                            since some people feel as though getting a FA RB would be a waste of $$$, we might need to look at cutting some fat from others areas to compensate the move (primarily backup QB, safety, and possibly CB)
                            Last edited by lolcopter; 07-20-2011, 01:40 PM. Reason: orton, dawkins, and possibly goodie obv

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lolcopter View Post
                              i'm arguing for the rational allocation of resources ($$$)

                              since some people feel as though getting a FA RB would be a waste of $$$, we might need to look at cutting some fat from others areas to compensate the move (primarily backup QB, safety, and possibly CB)
                              So you seriously advocate signing Williams for $9 million? I doubt it.

                              The subject is whether or not FA RBs are worth the $ they demand, not who's already making too much money on the roster. I'm sure there's other threads on the subject of Orton somewhere around here......
                              Thanks, Reid!
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