In the NFL, player’s only last 3.3 years in the league on average. Running backs last 2.5 years on average. It is often the case that if you do not shine early on, your career is over. So keeping that in mind, we will take a look at three running backs who were destined for big things coming out of college only to fall short of expectations thus far. But can they turn things around before their time is cut short?
Royce Freeman was drafted in the third round of the 2018 draft as a the next C.J Anderson in Denver. Having broken multiple records at Oregon, things didn’t pan out that way for Freeman. It was another rooie, Philip Lindsey, who stole the limelight and the starting role. Freeman didn’t start any games in 2019 haven’t started 8 in 2018. Things only get worse for him as the Broncos have signed Melvin Gordon to a 2 year contract who will likely play long side Lindsey in a shared backfield.
So what is next for Freeman? Well, as he is still on his rookie contract, his cap space is only approximately $1 million for 2020 and 2021. So if Denver do decide to hold on to him, it won’t cost a fortune and offers a good backup incase of injury. Alternatively, Freeman could offer as a good option for running back hunger teams like the Chiefs or the Buccs. Freeman has only been in the league two years so he can definitely turn his career around. He will need to be in a position to get his fair shares of snaps though.
After 4 years in the league, Howard still hasn’t topped of his rookie season career high of 1,313 yards. He looked destined to be the Bears feature running back for years to come, but after a down year in 2018, he was traded to Philadelphia. Here, he was outshone by rookie Miles Sanders and missed multiple games due to injury. He was not resigned and free agency.
Now, he has signed a two year deal with Miami where he will likely win out the starting role. With it likely that his starting QB will be a recently drafted rookie, the running game could become a key aspect of their offence next season. I am expecting big things from Howard who would like to show that he is a running back that deserves a long term contract with a team.
This one may be a bit of a stretch but hear me out. Foreman is currently a free agent so it might be too late for Foreman to save his career. He was drafted by the Texans in 2017 in the third round. He has not made an appearance in the league since his rookie season due to multiple leagues. He tore his ACL and missed the end of the 2017 season / start of the 2018 season. He was cut from the Texans as they reportedly tired of his work ethic and he needed to “grow up”. He was picked up by the Colts only to tear his bicep and be cut once more.
It’s a big if but if Foreman can get himself into a healthy state and put in the work, he could make an impact as a back up. And based on his instagram, he is planning on attempting to make his comeback and why shouldn’t he. He rushed for over 2000 yards at Texas in 2016 and ran in 15 TDs. The talent is definitely but his body may have had enough. It is one to keep an eye on as some teams will be willing to give him a chance during the summer months.