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2010 Free Agent Watch – RB

Welcome to another offseason edition of the Brew Crew Corner. We’ve passed the deadline of designated franchise players and now each team has anted up for free agency. So far, the Bears have made the biggest splash in free agency landing Julius Peppers and Chester Taylor, while the quarterback free agent market has seen Jake Delhomme sign with

Cleveland
and LaDainian Tomlinson sign with the Jets.

The running backs are what we pay attention to the most in free agency because a player added or traded to a different team will give the running back situation a whole different look. Let’s start with the
Taylor signing in

Chicago
. It truly kills the value of Matt Forte.
Taylor will have a much more significant role in
Chicago then he did in

Minnesota
. Both will make for a shaky starter and will most likely have value as a flex running back or insurance for an injury. They won’t get drafted in the first  two rounds, but if you take one you might have to grab the other one with your next selection to secure the

Chicago
backfield for yourself.

We’ve seen Thomas Jones released from the Jets and signing with the Chiefs, which really hurts the value of Jamaal Charles.
LT signed a 2 year deal with the Jets. Doesn’t make sense since they could have Paid Jones the same amount of money and Jones had 1402 RuYds and 14 RuTDs. I heard that the Jets took out a full page ad in the Kansas City paper thanking Jones for his service. I think it was more of an apology trying to save face.

Brian Westbrook has had little talks since his release from the Eagles, and depending on his health he could go unsigned for the rest of the offseason. You can pretty much write him off on the fantasy front as it would take the ideal situation, if healthy, for him to have value in 2010.

Larry Johnson signed a deal with the Redskins, which will end up being be a running-back-by-committee situation in

Washington
. One thing that stands out is that Mike Shanahan is keeping Clinton Portis around but things could change once we have the draft and the June 1 cuts come into play even with an uncapped year.

Justin Fargas’ release from the Raiders has some speculation that he is not healthy but he denies that report. He could fit in and produce on the right team. Keep him on your list for a late-round stash.

Darren Sproles will get $7.27 million provided that another team doesn’t match the first- and third-round tender the Chargers have placed on him. It is safe to say he will be staying in

San Diego
but the Chargers will need to add another running back as Sproles is not an every down back that can carry the load. If he enters the season as the No. 1, I’d stay away from the Chargers running backs come draft time.

I was surprised that the Saints only put a second-round tender on Pierre Thomas, who could be signed to another team. Jerious

Norwood, Leon Washington and Jerome Harrison will also cost just a second-round pick for any team looking to sign them. Of course, their current teams have an option to match any offer.

The remaining running backs will fill holes for teams but have little value unless there is an injury. Even then they should only be counted on for a couple of games.

Here is the list of running back free agents:

RB

Status

LaDainian Tomlinson



UFA


Brian Westbrook



UFA


Willie Parker



UFA


Ronnie Brown

RFA

Darren Sproles

RFA

Pierre Thomas

RFA

Leon Washington

RFA

LenDale White

RFA

Cadillac Williams

RFA

Justin Fargas



UFA


Larry Johnson



UFA


Le’Ron McClain

RFA

Michael Bennett



UFA


Ladell Betts



UFA


LaMont

Jordan




UFA


Chris R. Brown



UFA


Jerome Harrison

RFA

Jamal Lewis



UFA


Jerious

Norwood


RFA

Rock Cartwright



UFA


Ryan Moats

RFA

Ahman Green



UFA


Justin Griffith



UFA


Jason Snelling

RFA

Samkon Gado

RFA

U = Unrestricted (not on a team), R = Restricted (currently on a team but can take offers from other teams).

Thanks for reading. Next article we will look at the state of wide receivers still out on the market.

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