Super Bowl 50 is barely in the rear view mirror yet fans and critics are already scheming and dreaming about winning Super Bowl XLI and claiming bragging rights for the year over their friends and rivals. The beautiful part about spring is that every team can re shuffle the deck and gather as many offensive and defensive weapons as possible. With Free Agency due to open tomorrow, we take a position by position look at the best available free agents who could be the missing piece that catapults your team to a Lombardi win next season. First up, the Running Backs Teams most in need of running support : New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys Please note, Lamar miller has been left off this list as his deal to return to the Dolphins is almost complete 1) Matt Forte, Chicago Bears Forte has been very consistent running and catching the rock over the last 8 seasons and there’s no reason he can’t bring these skills to any team in the NFL in need of a dual-threat player, however he has hit the dreaded age of 30 and could do with being the number two back in an roster that needs a veteran to show leadership to its young stallions. Forte comes with plenty of upside despite the age, He’s only two seasons off a 102 catch season which shouts out to most teams that he has plenty left in the tank. Look for Forte to attract plenty of interest from teams in need of versatility, the Patriots and Cowboys will no doubt be calling as they are in need of quality backups but my surprise pick would be Green Bay who need someone to show Eddie Lacy how to take care of himself. Although the Packers traditionally don’t like to spend in free agency, Forte should come cheap enough to make them consider the move, especially as number 2 back James Starks is also a free agent. 2) Chris Ivory, New York Jets 2015 was statistically Ivory’s best season which climaxed with his first Pro Bowl appearance. He also doubled his receiving production last year bringing in 30 grabs for 217 yards and a TD, showing that he can be a feature back when given the chance. At 27 he still has plenty left to give and his aggressive running style punishes defenders all 4 quarters. The Jets would like to bring back Ivory but their cap issues may cause him to slip through the net. Ivory’s style would suit the Seahawks and Panthers but he may not desire sharing the work load in a committee style back field. My surprise choice for Ivory is the Cleveland Browns. Their struggles lasted all season offensively and Ivory could provide them with some dependability in the backfield while they work in a new QB. 3) Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers The Buc’s young star finally re-found his rookie form last season, putting up over 1400 yards on the ground, reminding us that he wasn’t a one season wonder when he rocked the league in his rookie season. Like Ivory, Doug Martin is 27 years of age and has plenty of football left in him. Despite the Buc’s desire to bring back their feature back, Martin is looking to cash in on the market and land a 5 million plus contract with anyone willing to pay. We saw a similar situation last year when DeMarco Murray went to the Eagles but the gamble didn’t necessarily pay off. Just like Murray, Martin has had injury problems in the past which could be a red flag for teams. It makes too much sense to bring Martin back to Tampa Bay. He was a solid starter during the 2015 campaign and kept defences honest for young quarterback Jameis Winston. Look for Martin to cash-in this off season as the Buc’s bring him back for stability. If he does reach the open market my surprise buyer would be the Titans as they are desperately seeking consistency in the backfield and a leader for the young offence. 4) Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins I can’t help but feel sorry for Alfred Morris. He was a consistent runner for 3 years with the Redskins until last season where he joined a rotation with rookie Matt Jones. Unfortunately for Morris his production decreased in 2015 and he still can’t catch consistently out of the back field. These issues have led to his arrival on this list as the Redskins will most likely look to the draft for fresh legs instead of opting to resign the bullish runner. Morris’s blocking skills combined with his downhill running style make him a desirable prospect for teams in need of a rugged upgrade to their ground game. Despite his low lever catching ability the Colts would be wise to look for Morris as his skill set would complement Frank Gore and help them keep Gore fresh for a playoff run. Another good fit would be a trip to previous rivals the Dallas Cowboys as their Offensive Line is great at getting to the second level and Darren McFadden is unlikely to start all 16 regular season games again. My surprise move would be the Baltimore Ravens , They need a solid back in the rotation with Justin Forsett. 5) Arian Foster, Houston Texans The marriage is over in Houston as they say goodbye to their all-time leading rusher that walked onto their practice field as a undrafted free agent back in 2009. When healthy Foster is a very impressive player that could start for any of the 32 teams in the league but staying healthy is just impossible for this guy. At 29 years of age it’s not going to get any easier for Foster but he can still offer a team tough running and versatility if he’s given the right situation. He would make sense at the Patriots, Cowboys and Green Bay as part of the rotation but my surprise pick would be the Atlanta Falcons to provide a solid back up for Devonta Freeman, The Falcons showed flashes of brilliance but somewhere down the road they lost their way. Foster would bring some much needed leadership and solid competition for Freeman to make sure he doesn’t slow down along the stretch. Honourable mentions go to LeGarrette Blount and Chris Johnson. They could be very productive for the right team but history has proven that these two guys need a lot of assistance around them to keep the production up. Their best chance to succeed is to return to the Patriots and Cardinals respectively.
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