Top 10 free agent running backs in the NFL

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Running the football isn’t as important as it used to be; at least, that’s the general consensus in 2014. And there seems to be some proof to the notion; one look through the teams that made the playoffs last season provides plenty of evidence.

More teams are employing a running-back-by-committee approach than ever before. The day and age of the dominant, every-down back seems to be a thing of the past.

As a result, franchises aren’t investing in running backs like they used to. Finding ball carriers in more obscure places is en vogue. Translation: Cheap is in.

Thus, there are plenty of big-name backs on the free-agent market in 2014. Players who are certainly recognizable to fans are available for the right price. So if a team is in need of a quality running back, they can certainly find one.

Who is available in 2014 to help them? Here’s how the editors of cover32 assess this year’s free agent class of running backs:

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10. James Starks

Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Philadelphia Eagles
Starks had some big moments in Green Bay.

When called upon in Green Bay, Starks has typically answered the bell. But for a team that was constantly looking for a running game prior to drafting Eddie Lacy, it’s a little curious that this soon-to-be 28-year-old back was only able to crack the starting lineup for five games. There’s a consistency issue in there somewhere.

9. Toby Gerhart

play_u_peterson_gerhartt_576
Playing behind AP kept Gerhart fresh.

Backing up the best running back in the league, even one that has had some injury issues of late, doesn’t provide a lot of opportunities to shine. Thus, Gerhart hasn’t put up gaudy numbers during his first four seasons in the NFL; playing behind Adrian Peterson hasn’t allowed for it. But the former Stanford star can tote the rock (see his 7.9 ypg average in 2013) and he hasn’t been overused.

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  • Spencer Engel

    Forget about the rest of this list (Moreno number 1????), Ben Tate should be ahead of everyone else on this list. The market will back me up too because he’s going to land the most lucrative contract and have the best season next year barring injury.

    • Joey

      Knowshon Moreno: 1,038 yards rushing, 548 yards receiving, 13 total TDs.
      Ben Tate: 771 yards rushing, 140 yards receiving, 4 total TDs.
      Both averaged 4.3 yards per carry.
      Crack must be fun.

      • Spencer Engel

        First of all, you’re comparing a starter to a backup, so bringing up stats like that is misleading.

        As for the players themselves, you can take the guy who sucked for four straight years before having one good year in which he benefited from being a part of one of the best passing offenses of all time. I’ll take the guy who’s only been in the league for three years and has had the opportunity to learn from a great running back like Arian Foster. I guarantee you Moreno will never have another 1,000 yard rushing season or 500-yard receiving season in his career. Tate will.

  • dustyroads

    Moreno had manning which we all know anyone can look good running the ball with him at qb. Ex. Joseph addai