Broncos still in search of a free agent running back


Over the past few hours, the talk around the Denver sporting world is the possible signing of Wes Welker. If you were unaware, take a look here.

Behind all of this though, is the fact that the Broncos still need to somehow pick up a running back, and the choices are running out. There were two guys I really liked the odds of the Broncos picking up, but both of them have been signed by other teams today.

Dec 30, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall (34) runs the ball between Cleveland Browns linebacker Craig Robertson (53) and defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard (97) during the first half of the game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos apparently hosted Rashard Mendenhall, and I was hoping the Broncos could reach a deal for them. He’s only 25 years old, and as a Pittsburgh native, I’ve watched his ups-and-downs throughout his five year career. I liked the idea of the Broncos scooping him up, but he signed a one year deal with the Arizona Cardinals earlier today. The other guy I was a fan of and hoped they could pursue, was former New York Jet, Shonn Greene.

Greene is similar to Mendenhall in a few different ways. They are both young running backs, but never really got a shot with their teams. When they were given a shot, both of them took advantage of it, as Mendenhall and Greene each have two 1,000 yard seasons under their belts. Greene has had his carries taken away from Thomas Jones, Bilal Powell, and Ladanian Tomlinson, and Mendenhall has had to deal with Willie Parker, Jonathan Dwyer, Issac Redman, and Mewelde Moore. Greene signed a three year deal with the Tennessee Titans today which ends the chances of the Broncos getting him.

Both of these guys were pursued by the Broncos, but I guess they couldn’t meet on terms. There are still a few decent running backs available, but I would have loved for the Broncos to pick up either Mendenhall or Greene.

Steven Jackson is still available, but I’m not too sure I like the idea of the Broncos getting him. He’s the highest ranked free agent running back out there, but I would have to think he’ll be asking for too much. Michael Turner is the same way, as he will not be an Atlanta Falcon next season. Both players are veterans who have had great careers, but are two of the most banged up, and injury prone running backs in the league. They’re probably both looking for huge contracts, which is why I think the Broncos should look elsewhere.

December 30, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw (44) is chased by Philadelphia Eagles corner back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (23) during the first quarter of an NFL game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Ahmad Bradshaw was released by the New York Giants earlier this offseason, and will definitely be playing somewhere next season. He’s only 26-years old and was a pretty reliable running back for the Giants over the past couple seasons. The Broncos should pick up the phones and give him a call, and maybe given him a two or three year deal.

Felix Jones is the other guy I have thought about. With Demarco Murray being the featured running back in Dallas, Jones will most likely be looking for a starting role somewhere, and he might find one with Denver.

Jones and Bradshaw are just two running backs who could help out the Broncos and there are others on the list, as well. Rashard Mendenhall, Shonn Greene, and Reggie Bush have all found new teams, while Steven Jackson and Michael Turner will most likely be overpaid by someone else.

Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, and Ronnie Hillman are all still technically on the Broncos, but I’d have to guess Moreno will be out at the end of the offseason, and McGahee is unable to play a full season nowadays. Hillman isn’t bad, and actually shows some potential for a young running back, but before they rely on him, they should look to pick one up in free agency.