Arian Foster is one of the biggest names still on the free agent market in the NFL, but that may not be the case much longer. Foster has reportedly set up visits with both the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions for this week as he recovers from a torn Achilles injury that ended his 2015 season early. This will be Arian’s second free agent visit with the Dolphins following a meeting in March that was largely medical.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) July 18, 2016
Foster will be 30 years old prior to the start of the 2016 NFL Season, and he does have some question marks, mostly surrounding his health. Back in 2013, Arian only played in eight games due to a back injury that required surgery. Foster considered retiring after the surgery, but eventually decided to return and posted a brilliant 2014 campaign where he rushed for 1,246 yards and 4.8 yards per carry in only 13 games.
In addition to the torn Achilles Arian suffered in the Houston Texans’ fourth game of 2015, Foster struggled mightily with production in those four games as he posted 163 rushing yards on 63 carries which is only good for a 2.6 YPC average. Some organizations believe that the poor production and serious injuries are a sign that Arian is breaking down as a number of running backs do once they hit the 30-year-old threshold.
That being said, the Dolphins and Lions are two teams that hope that Foster has a little more left in the tank. Sun Sentinel writer Omar Kelly speculates that while the Dolphins claim they’re confident that Jay Ajayi, rookie Kenyan Drake, and Damien Williams can handle the load in the backfield, each of those three players has a flaw in their game, and the team might prefer an every down back like Arian Foster over a rotating trio.
Last season, Miami finished 23rd in the NFL with 1,496 rushing yards and 93.5 rushing yards per game. The team leader was Lamar Miller, who rushed for 872 yards, eight touchdowns and averaged 4.5 YPC. After being underutilized with the Dolphins, Miller left the team this offseason and signed a four-year, $26 million contract with the Houston Texans.
Following a disappointing 6-10 season, the Dolphins fired interim head coach Dan Campbell and replaced him with Chicago Bears offensive coordinator, Adam Gase. In Chicago, Gase was an offensive guru and orchestrated an offense last year that finished 11th in rushing with 1,851 yards and in rushing yards per game at 115.7. Foster’s game is a lot like former Bears running back Matt Forte’s.
Another reason why Arian Foster would be a nice fit with the Miami Dolphins is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Last year, Forte and Jeremy Langford combined for 66 catches for 668 yards for the Bears in Gase’s system. Arian is considered one of the best receivers out of the backfield in the NFL as Foster often lined up in the slot for the Texans.
Arian Foster, who tore an Achilles in Week Four last year, will work out for Dolphins and Lions https://t.co/152oQeLY5l
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 18, 2016
The Dolphins are committed to fixing an offense that struggled mightily in 2015. The organization has already done a major overhaul on an offensive line that suffered injuries to starters Branden Albert, Mike Pouncey, and Ja’Wuan James last season.
Not only should those three guys be back, but Miami also added Laremy Tunsil with the No. 13 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and signed veterans Jermon Bushrod, Sam Baker, and Kraig Urbik to provide depth on the offensive line. Adding a guy like Arian Foster to run behind that offensive line would be a huge help to Ryan Tannehill and the passing game.
If the Miami Dolphins and Arian Foster are able to work out a deal for the 2016 season, Foster has a very strong chance to turn in a solid year as long as he can stay healthy. Arian fits well in Gase’s system and should perform if given the opportunity. It’s a big risk for the Dolphins to take, but Arian Foster shouldn’t leave South Beach without a contract.
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