There are a large number of voids the New York Giants will need to fill this offseason. And of those voids, running back should be one of the biggest areas of focus on the offensive side of the football.
With David Wilson’s future uncertain, the Giants could be looking toward free agency to add talent and boost their lackluster backfield for the 2014 season.
Cover32 dropped their list of the top 10 running backs available on the free agent market (which can be seen here). Who might pique the Giants’ interest? Here are three of the best fits:
The former Green Bay Packer has been popularly associated with the Giants for that very reason: he is a former Packer. Starks has spent all four years of his pro career with new Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo as one of his coaches. Many believe that should, as a result, make him a great fit in New York as he’ll likely be familiar McAdoo’s offensive scheme.
The 27-year-old running back could be had for cheap. He is not a No. 1 rusher and likely won’t garner as much interest as guys like Knowshon Moreno and Ben Tate.
Starks had a solid year for the Packers in 2013, however. He racked up 493 yards and averaged an impressive 5.5 yards per carry in Green Bay’s pass-happy offense.
Speaking of Ben Tate, the former Texans rusher could be a major signing for whomever picks him up. The Giants could very well be that team—if they’re willing to spend the money.
Tate is cover32’s second-ranked free agent running back, coming off three strong seasons in Houston as Arian Foster’s backup. In 40 games played with nine starts, Tate has rushed for 1,992 yards, 4.7 yards per carry and 10 touchdowns.
Fumbles are an understandable concern—he has fumbled 10 times in three years, including five this past season—but he is a durable, hard-nosed runner poised to breakout as the lead man in the backfield for the lucky team able to sign him this winter.
Fortunately for the Giants, Tate should not come at a price tag too hefty for them. That contrasts the Broncos’ Knowshon Moreno, who will be the league’s most high-profile free agent running back on the market.
Should Wilson be healthy enough to go, a tandem featuring these two men would be very difficult to stop for opposing defenses. And after finishing 29th in rushing in 2013, the Giants could use a turnaround year for their rushing attack.
Everyone knows Moreno has talent. He showcased it this past season for the Denver Broncos. And while many might choose to credit a lot of that to quarterback Peyton Manning—understandably so—he is the best running back on the market this offseason.
However, as aforementioned, Moreno likely won’t come cheap. And, for the most part, the Giants are only interested if they can get you for cheap (sorry, it’s just being honest). That’s not a bad thing, but it may be worth the risk to open the wallet and spend on one of the NFL’s better rushers should he be available for the Giants.
Moreno is coming off a year during which he recorded his first 1,000-yard season, scored 10 touchdowns on the ground, and also caught 60 passes for 548 yards and three touchdowns. Not too shabby for the 26-year-old’s fifth year in the NFL.
Moreno would be a good fit in what is expected to be a high octane offensive unit, possibly in a similar mold to what was run in Green Bay and Denver this past season. Moreno’s skill set should allow him to thrive in such an offense and, having had success with the older Manning already, keeping it in the family with Eli in New York could be a good move for all sides.