We’ve covered the Los Angeles Chargers’ in-house free agents, but the team will explore what else is on the market as well. Could a tough, pounding running back be on the team’s wish list?
Eric D. Williams, who covers the Chargers for ESPN.com, seems to think the Chargers will be in that market.
If that is indeed the case, the Jacksonville Jaguars may have just released the perfect candidate. Chris Ivory, a veteran of eight NFL seasons, was recently put on the market by the Jaguars, who released him after two seasons with the team.
Ivory will turn 30 years old in March, but after averaging just nine carries per game over the last two seasons in Jacksonville, should still have some tread on the proverbial tires.
Ivory is a grinder. The 4.4 yards per carry he has averaged in his career are more than enough to continue to get the job done for teams, especially when you throw in his 4,852 career rushing yards and 28 touchdowns.
The Chargers have a solid complementary back in Austin Ekeler, the undrafted rookie who defied the odds last season to make the opening day roster and play well every time his number was called. In fact, he led all running backs on the team in average yards per carry, gaining 5.5 yards per attempt.
However, what the Chargers could use is a short-yardage back who can also aid the team around the goal line. Ivory can definitely do that.
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The Chargers aren’t likely to bring back the oft-injured Branden Oliver so there won’t be much depth beyond Gordon and Ekeler. Ivory would be a solid pickup off the free-agent market if the Chargers could land him at a reasonable price.
According to Spotrac, Ivory made $4.5 million in Jacksonville last season to be the team’s No. 3 running back. It’s obvious why the team decided to get his high cap number off its books as he was scheduled to count $3,75 million against the salary cap next year.
If he’d agree to a one-year deal with the Chargers in which he’d have to prove his worth as a rotational back, the team should strongly consider signing him. After eight years in the league and reaching the 30-year old mark, he won’t fetch many great offers on the market and any offer he does receive will be for a similar role.
It makes sense for him and the Chargers. Teams can start signing free agents when the new league year opens on March 14.