With the league’s OTAs winding down, there will surely be several NFL rumors being spread around between now and when training camp officially begins at the end of July. Several such rumors are to surely involve free agent running back Arian Foster.
Foster, who is ranked among Fox Sports top nine free agents still available, is coming off a torn Achilles tendon that caused him to miss the final 13 weeks of the regular season last year with the Houston Texans. The 29-year-old managed just 163 yards on 64 carries (2.3 yards per carry) last season though he did catch 22 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns.
Foster has topped the 1,000-yard plateau in four of his seven NFL seasons. He also owns the Texans’ franchise record for rushing yards with 6,472 yards and rushing touchdowns with 52.
Adam Shefter of ESPN recently tweeted that Foster is currently not comfortable working out for teams, so he has decided to wait until late July to ensure that he is fully healthy.
Sense is Arian Foster will work out for teams in late July. He probably would pass a physical now, but those extra 6 weeks or so will help.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 1, 2016
Whenever Foster declares himself, he most certainly have plenty of suitors with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots likely topping the list. Foster visited with the Dolphins back in March and while they did not make an offer back then, Eric Frostbuter of Fansided believes the ‘Phins could be inclined to do so prior to training camp.
Miami finished 23rd in the league in rushing last season, averaging 93.5 yards a game. The Dolphins have been trying to replace leading rusher Lamar Miller, who left to sign with the Texans this offseason, but have struck out. Miami went after free agents C.J. Anderson and Chris Johnson as well as attempted to move up in the draft to select Ohio State sensation Ezekiel Elliot.
Second-year back Jay Ajayi is expected to get the first shot at starting for Miami during training camp. The former fifth round selection totaled 187 yards on 49 carries for a 3.8 yard per carry average a season ago. He had three runs of 20 or more yards and one touchdown. The Dolphins used a third-round pick on Kenyon Drake, out of Alabama, in this year’s draft and also have veterans Isaiah Pead, Daniel Thomas, and Damian Williams on the roster.
The Patriots like to add proven veterans on the cheap and have done so once again this year – with the signings of Chris Long, Terrance Knighton, Shea Mcclellan, and Nate Washington. So, it is no surprise that the Pats are interested in Foster.
New England ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing with 87.8 yards a game, but the Pats have a host of capable backs already on the roster. LeGarrette Blount, who led the team in rushing with 703 yards, along with Dion Lewis, James White, Donald Brown, Brandon Bolden, Tyler Gaffney, and undrafted D.J. Foster currently make up the Pats’ depth chart.
If Foster does sign with New England, he would compete with Blount and Brown for the role of between-the-tackles runner, according to Rant Sports.
The Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Diego Chargers are also possible landing spots for Foster.
The Lions ranked dead last in rushing with 83.4 yards a game. Detroit added free agent unning back Stevan Ridley, who has appeared in just 14 games over the past two campaigns, and drafted Dwyane Washington in the seventh round, but that is about it as far as adding running backs. The Lions do still have holdovers Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, and Zach Zenner on the roster.
The Broncos have C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman as a solid one-two punch. The Broncos also drafted Devontae Booker, out of Utah, in the fourth round of this year’s draft. But Foster spent five-years with head coach Gary Kubiak while both were in Houston.
The Colts were 29th in the league in rushing, with 89.9 yards a game, last year and attempted to revive their ground attack by improving the offensive line. Thirty-three-year-old Frank Gore is the starter, and Robert Turbin and Jordan Todman are the main backups for Indianapolis.
The Eagles have already traded running back DeMarco Murray and have reportedly been looking for suitors for Darren Sproles. If Sproles is indeed dealt, Ryan Matthews and 2016 fifth-round draft pick Wendell Smallwood would be the only two backs guaranteed a roster spot. Philadelphia currently has just two other backs on the roster, Kenjon Barner and Cedric O’Neal.
The Chargers finished 31st in the league in rushing as rookie Melvin Gordon struggled running and holding onto the ball. Gordon, who averaged 3.5 yards per carry and lost four fumbles, also had micro-fracture knee surgery in January. San Diego does also have Danny Whitehead, Branden Oliver, and Dreamius Smith on the depth chart.
The Raiders have Latavious Murray, one of seven backs to rush for over 1,000 yards in 2015, and they drafted DeAndre Washington in the fifth round of the draft. Oakland did finish just 28th in the league in rushing with 91.1 yards a game.
[Photo by Joel Auerbach/Associated Press]