Falcons

Free Agency Preview: Running Backs

On Thursday night, the Falcons parted ways with starting running back Steven Jackson. The Falcons have running backs Devonta Freeman and Jaquizz Rodgers signed, and unrestricted free-agent Antoine Smith has publicly stated that he wants to remain apart of the team. However, with no true three-down running back on the roster, I want to give my view on who the Falcons should target and why.

1) Demarco Murray

(Matthew Emmons, USA Today Sports)

Demarco Murray had an incredible season last year with the Dallas Cowboys. He carried the ball 392 times and totaled 1845 rushing yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Not only did Murray almost achieve the 2000 yard mark, but he had 12 games with 100 rushing yards or more. The Cowboys ran a zone-blocking scheme last year with Murray, so with Kyle Shanahan running the same scheme, why not throw some money at Murray to see if he will carry the load in Atlanta? There are plenty teams in the NFL who would love to have Murray in their backfield, but having Murray in Atlanta’s backfield would make this offense absolutely dynamic.

2) Justin Forsett

(Evan Habeeb, USA TODAY sports)

If you have been following the Falcons this offseason, you have likely heard the rumors that they have very strong interest in 29-year-old running back Justin Forsett. Forsett took over the starting role last year after all of drama that took place in Baltimore surrounding Ray Rice. Forsett played incredible football in the 2014-2015 season. Not only did he become Baltimore’s starting running back, but he averaged 5.4 yards per carry. Forsett also found the endzone 8 times during the regular season. Forsett is well known around the NFL to love playing in zone-blocking schemes, and with Kyle Shanahan making the play calls, it could be a dream come true for the veteran. Shanahan and former Ravens Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak run very similar offenses. Last year was his first year as a three-down back, so he has fresh legs for a soon to be 30 year-old running back. Forsett recently stated he was looking for a multi-year deal, and with the Ravens having tight cap space, Forsett is a very realistic target for Atlanta.

3) Reggie Bush

(Tim Fuller, USA TODAY sports)

The 29-year old former Heisman winning running back from USC and the Detroit Lions parted ways on Friday. The Lions felt as if they were not getting what they expected from Reggie Bush, and Joique Bell had a great year for Detroit. Luckily, there are 31 other teams in the NFL for Bush to prove to his former team that he has a lot more football left in the tank. Atlanta is a team that would utilize his ability not only as a running back, but as a pass catcher in the backfield. In his 9-year career, Bush has had 30 or more receptions per year, while catching 18 receiving touchdowns. Bush is a patient running back, and with the Falcons improvement of the offensive line, Bush could become a star for a team like Atlanta.

These are my three top targets for the Atlanta Falcons to sign at the running back position. Atlanta fans, who do you think we should target and why? I would love to hear all of your opinions so please comment below!

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