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2015 Top 5 Free Agent Running Backs
Teams will look to sign guys like these to be the workhorse of their offense. Today I rank the top five running back free agents for 2015.
5. Ryan Matthews
Bio: In five years with San Diego, Ryan Matthews' play varied from pro bowl talent to injuries plagued bust. In 2011, he made the pro bowl after rushing for 1,000 yards. The following year, Matthews was injured for much of the year. The cycle repeats over the next two years and in a fiver year span he rushed for over 4,000 yards and scored 23 touchdowns.
Bottom line: While injury prone, Mathews is one of the hardest running early down backs in the league. He's a perfect player to pair with a receiving back in an offense.
Possible landing spot: Atlanta
4. Frank Gore
Bio: In his 10 years in San Francisco, Frank Gore established himself as the most productive running back in franchise history. He is the 49ers all time leading rusher with over 11,000 rushing yards and 64 touchdowns. He defied all the stigmas of an NFL running back being productive into his 30's. He was a five time pro bowler and a 2006 All-Pro.
Bottom line: The Inconvenient Truth can still block, catch, and turn a 1 yard loss into a 4 yard gain like no one else. He's a nice veteran short term pickup for a team seeking a title.
Possible landing spot: Seattle
3. C.J. Spiller
Bio: In his five years in Buffalo, C.J. Spiller was part of one of the leagues more underrated running back duos with Fred Jackson. In 2012, he accounted for 1,700 total yards, eight touchdowns, and was named to the pro bowl. Also an effective return man, he returned two kick returns for touchdowns in his career.
Bottom line: I could have ranked him higher, but his peak has only come out once in five seasons. He's a great complementary back, not a foundation to build around.
Possible landing spot: New Orleans
2. Mark Ingram
Bio: In his four years in New Orleans, Mark Ingram's first two and a half years were plagued by injuries and bad performances. It wasn't until the 2013 postseason that he really began to catch on and be productive. In 2014, Ingram finished with over 1,100 yards from scrimmage and scored nine touchdowns.
Bottom line: Still just 25 years old with little tread on his tires, Ingram should attract plenty of interest on the heels of a breakout 2014 season. The cap strained Saints can't afford a back of his caliber.
Possible landing spot: Dallas
1. Demarco Murray
Bio: In 2011 as a rookie, Demarco Murray broke the Dallas single game rushing record. By 2013, he rushed for his first 1,000 yard season and became the fixture of the offense. In 2014, Murray broke Jim Brown's NFL record by rushing for 100 yards in eight consecutive games to start a season. He ended the season as the leagues leading rusher and broke the Dallas single season rushing record.
Bottom line: Murray was a tackle breaking monster for the first three months of the season en route to Offensive Player of the Year honors. The number one concern for potential suitors isn't the benefit of the Cowboy's' dominant offensive line. It's that Murray was saddled up for a back breaking 497 touches. He wasn't as elusive in December and January and lost six fumbles on the year. Since Dallas used the franchise tag on Dez Bryant, Murray could be set free.
Possible landing spot: Oakland