6 Best NFL Running Backs Most Likely to Hit Free Agency in 2020 Offseason
By Zach Brunner
With over half of the NFL teams' seasons coming to an end this week, the shift in mindset for many turns to the offseason, figuring out how to bring talent to their team whether through the NFL Draft or proven free agents.
Running back is one of the most interesting positions to discuss, since the shelf life for the position is one of the shortest, and because much of the league is turning to a backfield committee approach to highlight skill sets and keep players healthy.
There are a number of upcoming free agent running backs that could completely transform backfields around the league. With that in mind, these are the top seven upcoming running back free agents.
6. Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers
Working in the backfield committee for the San Francisco 49ers, Matt Breida is a restricted free agent that should garner some attention. With Tevin Coleman still under contract and Raheem Mostert leading the backfield, the Niners may not choose to match another team's offer for Breida. He has averaged 5.1 yards per carry this season after averaging 5.3 with an even bigger workload last season, and the 24-year-old is averaging 5.5 yards per touch for his career.
5. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns
Kareem Hunt is another restricted free agent this offseason, after playing a complementary role in the Browns backfield this season. The Browns have disappointed mightily in 2019, and there are reports that the team may clean house in the front office, which could also give Hunt an uncertain future. His skills in the receiving game have been highlighted in Cleveland, catching 34 passes for 253 yards in seven games after exploding for 2,151 yards and 15 TDs on the ground in his first 27 career games with the Kansas City Chiefs. As long as he is able to stay on the field, Hunt is a proven playmaker that any team could benefit from.
4. Carlos Hyde, Houston Texans
Carlos Hyde has had a bit of a renaissance season with the Texans. In his sixth NFL season, Hyde put together his first 1,000-yard campaign. His 4.4 yards per rush is his best since the 2016 season, and he proved this season that he can still handle a heavy workload.
3. Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals
After coming over from Miami, Kenyan Drake has had some big performances for the Arizona Cardinals, and the team may not want to let him leave the desert. However, he should garner a lot of attention in the free agent market as a true dual threat in the backfield, and the Cards do still have a promising young RB in Chase Edmonds. In just seven games for Arizona, Drake has 583 rushing yards and seven touchdowns along with 174 receiving yards.
2. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers
Melvin Gordon didn't come away with a new contract after holding out to start the season, and that means he will likely be on the move. The former Wisconsin Badger said he would never hold out again after playing noticeably worse upon his return. Gordon has averaged just 3.8 yards per carry this season, down from 5.1 just last year, and he may be available at a discount as a result.
1. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
The Titans would be fools to let this 6'3" monster go, but the team could opt to head in a different direction if the asking price is too high. Henry has made a statement this season. running for 1,329 yards and 13 touchdowns in only 14 games, while adding another 206 yards and two touchdowns through the air. This bruising running back has continued to play his best football in the second half of season, which is exactly what the majority of NFL teams are needing right now.
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