I keep reading about how the Redskins should sign a running back in free agency, and to me it just doesn’t make much sense. The crux of the argument is that since the Redskins are going into the 2011 season likely with either Rex Grossman or John Beck as the QB, they’re going to need to run the ball effectively to take pressure off the passing game. OK, I get it. That’s a reasonable premise.
Allow me to state the two obvious bullet points here before I get into my reasoning why it doesn’t make sense:
- Ryan Torain was pretty good last year. Not great, but good. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry behind a below average offensive line, and managed (3) 100-yard games, including one game where he went off for 172 against the Bucs. He turns 25 in August. If he can stay healthy (and I should note that he did miss 4 games late in the season last year), Torain’s your bell cow.
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- The Redskins drafted Roy Helu in the 4th round and Evan Royster in the 6th. Fourth round picks are typically mortal locks to make the team. Royster may not be as much of a sure thing – For example, last year the Eagles drafted Charles Scott in the 6th round, and when it became clear that he wasn’t going to make the team, they shipped him off to the Cardinals for another rookie, CB Jorrick Calvin. Still, the Redskins certainly want Royster to make the team, and he’ll have every opportunity to do so. And then there’s Keiland Williams, who showed flashes in limited time in 2010. He’ll certainly have a fair shot to make the 53-man roster as well. The rest (Chad Simpson, James Davis, etc) are basically just camp JAG’s (“Just A Guy”). So now we’re up to 4 roster spots.
Now, when we’re thinking about bringing in a veteran RB that would legitimately take pressure off the passing game, who exactly are we talking about here? Are we talking about DeAngelo Williams? Ahmad Bradshaw? Cedric Benson? Ronnie Brown? Joseph Addai? You won’t get much of an argument from me that guys like Ahmad Bradshaw and DeAngelo Williams would help the running game this season – They most certainly would. But those are guys that are going to get paid rather handsomely.
You have to look at the bigger picture here – The Redskins are not going to contend for a championship this year. Let’s not kid ourselves… They’re just not. If you sign a big name RB, while the immediate gains might be positive, you’re cutting one of your young backs and you’re occupying cap space with a player that might help you win 7 games instead of 6.
The Redskins did a phenomenal job in the draft re-loading their roster with youth. Don’t revert back to the ugly cycle in the flowchart above.