With NFL free agency on the horizon (March 9), we take a look at free agents to upgrade the Los Angeles Chargers. Running backs, you’re on the clock.
(Note: Free agents are realistically chosen based off what Chargers are missing and need)
Notable free-agent running backs: Le’Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount, Latavius Murray, Eddie Lacy, Darren McFadden, Jacquizz Rodgers, Rex Burkhead, Denard Robinson, Andre Ellington, Matt Asiata, Isaiah Crowell (RFA), Mike Gillislee (RFA)
Chargers running backs: Melvin Gordon (23), Kenneth Farrow (23), Derek Watt (FB)
Chargers pending free agents: Danny Woodhead (32, UFA), Dexter McCluster (28, UFA), Ronnie Hillman (25, UFA), Branden Oliver (25, RFA), Andre Williams (24, ERFA)
After years of searching for a replacement for HOF running back LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers appear to have finally found their man. Melvin Gordon, who the Chargers traded up to get in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, bounced back immensely in 2016 after a discouraging rookie season. After scoring 12 total touchdowns and doing damage behind the second-worst offensive line in the league, Gordon proved to be a workhorse.
But what about the backup to Gordon? Despite Gordon’s bounce-back sophomore season, he landed on injured reserve for the second year in a row. As of now, 2016 undrafted free agent Kenneth Farrow is the only other back on the roster, but don’t expect him to man that role come opening day.
Head coach Anthony Lynn’s background favors the running game. The Chargers have Gordon, who Lynn wants to take to another level, but he is going to want extra backs in what should be a run-heavy offense. This position isn’t a huge need whatsoever, but it does need some help.
Luckily, the Chargers don’t have to go too far in order to find some depth, as several of their own players can be retained. Danny Woodhead, Dexter McCluster, Ronnie Hillman are all unrestricted free agents while Branden Oliver is a restricted free agent and Andre Williams is an exclusive rights free agent.
And the Chargers will be just fine keeping around two of the players mentioned above, so expect the Bolts to do just that.
With that said, let’s take a look and see which players the Chargers should go after.