Only about one more week until 2020 NFL Free Agency finally kicks off! There are plenty of talented running backs in free agency that are hitting the market. Last week, 2020 NFL Free Agent Quarterback Predictions was released, so now, here is the 2020 NFL Free Agent Running Backs predictions.
Derrick Henry is the biggest free-agent running back available, both physically and metaphorically. This past season’s rushing leader is set to hit free agency after rushing for 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns. Henry literally carried his team, the Tennessee Titans, to the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs by running for 182 yards and a touchdown against the New England Patriots in the divisional round and then running for 195 yards against the 14-2 Baltimore Ravens. The former second-round pick will most likely be demanding a big contract after this season.
Prediction: Tennessee Titans
I don’t see the Titans letting Henry go. Henry was the main reason that the team made it as far as they did. Henry may demand big money, but the Titans should pay it.
Melvin Gordon planned to hold out in 2019 due to his desire for a new contract in Los Angeles. This plan failed greatly as Austin Ekeler performed spectacularly in place of Gordon and earned himself a four-year, $24.5 million deal. Melvin Gordon ended up coming back in week five after seeing this himself. He struggled to get going but found his footing as the year went on. Gordon in 2018 missed a few games due to injury, but ran for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns and caught 490 receiving yards and four more touchdowns. He was very solid for them that season. Gordon should demand a solid contract as he’s been consistently very solid for the Los Angeles Chargers since they drafted him.
Prediction: Miami Dolphins
I expect the Miami Dolphins to splurge in Free Agency and to pick up not only a brand new line for a rookie quarterback (if they draft one), but also a reliable receiving back for that young quarterback to rely on.
After being rented by the Arizona Cardinals for basically half of the season (for some odd reason), Kenyan Drake killed it for the Cardinals and showed that once freed from Adam Gase and/or the Miami Dolphins, he can ball. Kenyan Drake basically replaced David Johnson in Arizona for the last month of the season. Since he only has about 600 carries to his name, Drake is a hot commodity this offseason since he is a fairly fresh, but experienced running back. Unfortunately, Drake is looking for $10 million a year, so this may hurt his options for potential suitors.
Prediction: Houston Texans
If the rumors are true and Drake wants north of $8 million, the Texans have a lot of cap space and are losing both Lamar Miller and Carlos Hyde. Kenyan Drake and Deshaun Watson would be a lot of fun together.
Kareem Hunt (Restricted)
In terms of talent, Kareem Hunt may be the second-best available free agent running back just behind Derrick Henry. Kareem Hunt was an absolute all-star in Kansas City with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. After some off-the-field issues, Hunt was released by the Chiefs and picked up for a cheap price by the Cleveland Browns. After serving an eight-game suspension, Kareem Hunt proved that he can still play at a high level. Unfortunately, he cannot seem to stay out of trouble with his assault case and more recently, a run-in with the police and got a small amount of marijuana confiscated from him. Kareem Hunt deserves to start, and he may be cheap due to his issues off-the-field. Unfortunately for him, I don’t believe any team pulls the plug and he gets another cheap, prove-it deal with the Browns.
Prediction: Cleveland Browns
Unfortunately for Hunt, he may have to play another year not touching the ball as much as he should. If he proves to other teams he can keep clean and still play at a high-level, maybe next year he’ll earn a lucrative deal.
After a one-year stint in Philadelphia, Jordan Howard plans to hit the open market. Howard began the year as the starter in Philadelphia but started to slowly see his role diminish with the emergence of young, receiving back Miles Sanders. He is a powerful runner who is great in a ground-and-pound system but has little-to-no receiving ability as a running back. Howard could do well in a system just as he had in Chicago years ago when he ran for 1,313 yards as a rookie only starting 13 games. He also ran for over 1,000 yards the next. Howard will most likely go into a system to be the goal-line back and relieve the stress of a receiving back just as he was for Miles Sanders.
Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers were already reportedly interested in Howard at the trade deadline when they were trying to dump Melvin Gordon. Howard would be a great fit as the power back to Austin Ekeler‘s receiving ability. They would make a great one-two punch in Los Angeles.
After being an undrafted free agent for the San Francisco 49ers, Matt Breida has been very successful for them. Over his career, Breida has averaged 5.0 yards per carry and been a solid threat in the receiving game. Using his lightning speed, Breida has been a very hard back to stop and could be the main back elsewhere getting a cheap contract as well. He could be a steal this free agency period since he has only 381 carries to his name. Breida will most likely join a running back room that is fairly full, but weak so he may not be able to earn the starting role right away, but he should be able to earn the starting job.
Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is more of a wish rather than a prediction. Matt Breida is a fast, explosive, cheap running back that would perfectly suit Bruce Arians’ offense. All the Buccaneers need for their weapons is a running back (and to resign Jameis Winston) and they are set.
Other 2020 NFL Free Agent Running Backs
- Lamar Miller – Detroit Lions
- Carlos Hyde – Buffalo Bills
- LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles
- Frank Gore – Anywhere but Retirement
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