Brandon Jacobs, UFA, New York Giants
Jacobs is a tough runner, and that type of running kept him from being on the field in parts of the two seasons prior to 2008. This season, Jacobs has seen action in every game, and while carries are limited at times, he has still been able to rush for 879 yards and score 11 touchdowns. Jacobs was injured in the Giants most recent game, so the team will monitor his situation closely. He averaged five yards a carry during the Giants Super Bowl season, gaining over 1,000 yards in just 11 games and is averaging well over five yards a carry this season. He is a quality goal line back, but has become more than that. Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw contribute to New York’s backfield as well, so while the team likely wants Jacobs to stick around, Jacobs could have other plans and may bolt for a team willing to give him more of the carries. There will be some tough decisions concerning the Giants backfield and who will play what role in the future.Maurice Morris, UFA, Seattle Seahawks
Morris has always been a back under the radar—mainly because he was backing up Shaun Alexander for a period—but he has good vision and speed. He cracked the 100-yard mark in week twelve for the first time since week ten of the ’06 season. He is receiving limited carries but has averaged more than five yards per rush and may be a useful backup come next season. Seattle has a lot of questions to answer and Morris may not be in the plans for the future.
Ricky Williams, UFA, Miami Dolphins
Williams has shown flashes of the back that he was in his early days, but he has been inconsistent and less than impressive most of the time. Williams is over 30 and not likely to be a starter with anyone, but he gets a mention because of his controversial past. There is a team out there that will take a chance on him if the Dolphins are unwilling to retain his services. Look for Williams to try and land somewhere as a backup.
Darren Sproles, UFA, San Diego Chargers
Sproles is a spark plug of a runner, who doesn’t shy away from contact and has excellent speed. He has done most of his work on special teams, where he is averaging more than 25 yards per kick return and almost 11 yards per punt return. Sproles’ best hope is to be a number two back while doing the special teams work as well; that’s just the position he finds himself in with the Chargers. Sproles will likely stay unless a team offers him a chance at a starting role. Michael Turner has found some success having left San Diego, but Sproles doesn’t have the same skill set.
Other Running Backs
J.J. Arrington, UFA, Arizona Cardinals
Correll Buckhalter, UFA, Philadelphia Eagles
Jesse Chatman, UFA, New York Jets
Heath Evans, UFA, New England Patriots
Rudi Johnson, UFA, Detroit Lions
LaMont Jordan, UFA, New England Patriots
Ryan Moats, UFA, Philadelphia Eagles
Dominic Rhodes, UFA, Indianapolis Colts
Aaron Stecker, UFA, New Orleans Saints
Derrick Ward, UFA, New York Giants