Unrestricted Free Agents
Adrian Peterson (Min, 32) – On Feb. 28, the Vikings announced they will not be picking up Peterson’s massive $18 million option for 2017, which is not surprising given Peterson is coming off an injury-plagued year in which he averaged 1.9 YPC (albeit on just 37 carries). Now, when Peterson played in 2016, he played behind an awful offensive line, plus he wasn’t completely healthy. For teams on the open market, they may choose to look at his far-more-effective 2015 for justification for signing him. But Peterson really should be focused, at this point, on signing with a contender behind a strong line. The Raiders and Patriots come to mind, and both of those teams have a leading rusher entering free agency (Latavius Murray and LeGarrette Blount, respectively). Peterson could also return to Minnesota, as GM Rick Spielman has not ruled it out, but it really appears the AP era in Minneapolis has ended. His best bet is to latch on somewhere he can play a two-down role.
Latavius Murray (Oak, 25) – All in all, 2016 was a weird year for Murray. Let’s start by examining his bottom line – in 14 games, missing two early in the season with turf toe – Murray posted 195/788/12 rushing (4.0 YPC) and 33/264/0 receiving on 43 targets (8.0 YPR, 76.7% catch rate) to finish 12th at RB with 15.0 FPG. That finish is better than Murray’s play this season. First of all, 34.3% of Murray’s total scoring came from TDs, a relatively high number. And overall, Murray played just 52.9% of the Raiders’ snaps when active, as Oakland consistently tried to get Jalen Richard and/or DeAndre Washington involved. Nonetheless, Murray’s propensity for scoring TDs (he had 9 TDs on 17 runs inside the 5, a better percentage than anyone above him in goal-line carries) helped him to five top-12 finishes at the RB position. And his floor was reasonably high, as he finished with fewer than 10 FP in a PPR in just three of his 14 games. The problem was the Raiders’ lack of full faith in him – they spent most of the early part of the season trying to replace him, and even when he got hot in the middle part of the year, they went away from him later on. He fumbled twice in a Week 15 game against the Chargers, and then saw just 20 carries total over the final two games of the season. Murray now enters free agency with two 100-yard games under his belt from 2016, but teams on the open market may view him just like the Raiders did – as a goal-line specialist who is best as part of a rotation.
Eddie Lacy (GB, 26) – Lacy’s battles with the scale will likely spell the end of his time in Green Bay this off-season. He did put in an effort to lose weight last off-season, but he had seemingly put all the weight back on by the time Week 1 rolled around. His weight issue surely didn’t help when he injured his ankle in Week 5, which resulted in surgery and the end to his season. Lacy averaged a pathetic .57 fantasy points per touch – the league average for the position was .70. He didn’t score a single TD after coming into the year averaging .63 TDs per game in his first three seasons (29 TDs in 46 games). HC Mike McCarthy said at the end of January that he would love to re-sign Lacy and that the 26-year-old RB was still recovering from his ankle surgery. The Packers are in a bit of bind at RB heading into the off-season, so there’s a chance they could bring him back, but we expect the Packers to turn the page on Lacy and look for a new lead back in the draft or free agency.
LeGarrette Blount (NE, 30) – In 2016, Blount scored TDs in all but three of his games and he topped 10+ FP in all but four games. He finished the year with 299/1161/18 rushing (3.9 YPC) and 7/38/0 receiving on 8 targets (87.5% catch rate, 5.4 YPR) in 16 games. Blount averaged 14.8 FPG, ranking 13th at the position behind Latavius Murray. He played on 47% of the snaps and had 39.79% of the team’s touches. Blount’s production did tail off a bit once Dion Lewis returned, averaging 12.3 FPG on 117/483/6 rushing in Weeks 11-17. Playing beside just James White in Weeks 1-10, Blount averaged 16.8 FPG on 182/678/12 rushing. Considering how poorly his last free-agent foray went with the Steelers back in 2014, we’d expect Blount to be eager to return to the Patriots next season. It’s also not like Blount would have much of market as a 30-year-old back who is just a pile-pusher between the tackles.
Jamaal Charles (KC, 30) – The Chiefs saved about $6 million by cutting Charles, which was anticipated given the fact that he’s basically missed two seasons in a row. Sometimes, we take for granted how difficult it is to return from an ACL injury. It seems that so many athletes return with little to no complications – Jordy Nelson comes to mind – that we almost ignore the possibility of an injury lasting longer than expected. Well, Charles serves as a cautionary tale. After tearing his ACL in October 2015, Charles’ recovery was consistently “behind” schedule, so much so that he was inactive for the Chiefs’ first three games. Then, Charles was only able to play in three games before going down with damage in both knees, requiring surgery to repair a meniscus in each knee. In those three games, Charles played a total of 27 snaps and managed 12/40/1 rushing and 2/14 receiving on 3 targets. Charles has told reporters that he still wants to play, but he is now 30 and has had multiple serious injuries in both of his knees. He’s a total wild card for 2017, but he should draw some interest from teams looking for a rotational veteran back on a cheap deal. The Eagles, coached by former Chief OC Doug Pederson, come to mind.
DeAngelo Williams (Pit, 33) – Williams has been everything the Steelers could’ve asked for the last two years as Le’Veon Bell’s handcuff at the position. He showed in the first three games of the season and in the AFC Championship that’s he still got a little gas left in the tank, even as the oldest RB in the league – he’ll turn 34 in April. Williams did miss seven games in 2016 because of arthroscopic surgery to his knee, but he still posted 298/1250/15 rushing in his two seasons with the Steelers. The Steelers will likely be interested in bringing Williams back on a reasonable, one-year deal to serve as the backup to Bell. Still, the Steelers also need to start looking for a long-term option in the middle rounds of the draft in case Bell leaves after the 2017 season. The Steelers did sign Karlos Williams to a reserve/future contract, but he’s been a mess with drugs and his weight since rookie season in 2015.
Rashad Jennings (NYG, 32) – Jennings “led” the Giants in rushing in the same way that someone always has to be first for something, but he had a miserable season. Playing in 13 games (missing three with a thumb injury), Jennings posted 181/593/3 rushing (3.3 YPC), with 35/201/1 receiving on 42 targets (5.7 YPC, 83.3% catch rate). He managed 10.6 FPG, which ranked him 35th among RBs on the year. In all, Jennings played 50.8% of the Giants’ backfield snaps, which easily led the team, when active. But for fantasy, he was barely useful behind a poor offensive line. Jennings ran for no more than 87 yards all season, and in only three games did he top 10 carries and 4.0 YPC. Among RBs with 200 or more touches, only Todd Gurley averaged fewer FP/touch than did Jennings (0.64). The Giants released him to save about $2.5 million, and he will be no more than a backup somewhere next season, if he finds any work at all. His work in the passing game will at least help, however.
Rex Burkhead (Cin, 26) – Burkhead has flashed at times since he broke into the league in 2013, but he’s never really had the chance to play behind Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Burkhead finally got to show what he could do after Bernard tore his ACL and landed on the IR. He was a slippery runner between the tackles and an effective receiver out of the backfield – the team has tinkered with him as a slot receiver in the past. He finished with 74/344/2 rushing (4.6 YPC) and 17/145/0 receiving on 20 targets (85% catch rate, 8.5 YPR) in 16 games. When he took over Bernard’s spot in Week 12, he averaged 11.6 FPG (68/305/2 rushing, 15/121 receiving) and played 54.8% of the snaps. According to Cincinnati.com, Burkhead was one of just five RBs with 70+ rushing attempts and 15+ receptions who averaged at least 4.6 YPC and 8.5 YPR. The other four were Ezekiel Elliott, Jordan Howard, Devonta Freeman, and Duke Johnson. Burkhead averaged an impressive .33 fantasy points per snap – the league average for the position was .24. He also averaged .86 fantasy points per touch – the league average for the position was .70. Burkhead certainly isn’t a lead runner type, but the final six games of the year allowed him to showcase his skills as a role player out of the backfield. It might be hard for the Bengals to retain Burkhead with Bernard likely to return to his old role as the change-of-pace/receiving back. Burkhead proved he could/should have a bigger role somewhere, and we’re expecting some team to give him a chance as a change-of-pace back next to a big lead runner next season.
Lance Dunbar (Dal, 27) – Dunbar played in 11 games in 2016, posting 9/31/1 rushing (3.4 YPC) and 16/122/0 receiving on 24 targets. He missed semi-significant time in the middle of the season with a knee injury, and when active, he played just 16.2% of the Cowboys’ snaps. Dunbar is a free agent, and in theory there’s a role for him here in Dallas as a change-of-pace back, but he’s a gifted receiver who barely played in 2016. He’s just 27, so he could go somewhere else with a bigger guaranteed role.
James Starks (GB, 30) – In 2016, Starks had a truly awful season, struggling to get over an early season knee injury and eventually undergoing surgery. He didn’t look any better when he returned to the lineup in Week 10, and he soon found himself on the bench behind Ty Montgomery and Christine Michael. He then suffered a concussion in a car accident before Week 15, and he didn’t play the rest of the season. He finished with 63/145/0 rushing (2.3 YPC) and 19/134/2 receiving on 25 targets (76.0% catch rate, 7.1 YPR), averaging 6.8 FPG in 9 games. The Packers released him in February, and it’s hard to see Starks latching on anywhere as anything but a flyer.
Christine Michael (GB, 26) – Is it safe to say yet that Michael will never quite live up to his tantalizing talent? The fourth-year back is clearly an explosive runner and can be a dominant player for stretches of time, but he’s proven many times to be too erratic and unreliable. Michael played well early in the season with the Seahawks, but his play started to tail off and they seemingly couldn’t wait to cut him once Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise got healthy before Week 11. The Packers quickly snatched him up with all their RB problems, but he struggled to pick up the offense and didn’t always follow the play and his blockers, common complaints about Michael over the years. He finished the year with 148/583/1 rushing (3.9 YPC) and 22/107/1 receiving (4.9 YPR) in 15 games - nine with the Seahawks and six with the Packers. The Packers likely saw enough of Michael to know that they should quickly move on from him this off-season. Michael is talented, so some team will likely bring him in to compete for a backup job on a one-year deal this off-season.
Benny Cunningham (LAR, 26) – A veteran RB regarded for his receiving ability and pass protection skills, Cunningham played sparingly in 2016, touching the ball just 37 times in 11 games (his season was shortened by a neck injury). The Rams could choose to bring in a more explosive back to pair with Todd Gurley under new coach Sean McVay, but given his third-down skills and special-teams ability, Cunningham should latch on somewhere.
Andre Ellington (Ari, 28) – Ellington was useless for fantasy in 2016, even after Chris Johnson went down for the year. In 16 games, Ellington posted 34/96 rushing and 12/85 receiving on 17 targets. In all, he played just 13% of the offensive snaps for the Cards. The most interesting thing about Ellington is that he’s now entering free agency, and we wouldn’t at all be shocked if he looks to wind up somewhere else as a rotational back, where he has a bigger and more consistent role. Ellington turns 28 in February, so he’s still in his prime, and fortunately he hasn’t accumulated a ton of wear-and-tear over the last year or so.
Darren McFadden (Dal, 29) – McFadden ran for over 1000 yards in 2015, but he was cast aside in April when the Cowboys spent a top-5 pick on Ezekiel Elliott, this after Dallas signed Alfred Morris to a contract in March. Then, McFadden missed most of the season when he injured his elbow in a freak accident at his home in June. McFadden returned from the NFI list in December to play in just three games, posting 24/87 rushing (3.6 YPC) and 3/17 receiving on 5 targets. The Cowboys activated him ahead of Morris late in the season, showing they preferred him to Morris, but McFadden is also a free agent heading into 2017, and he’s also heading into his age-30 season. He’s highly unlikely to find a better situation than Dallas, assuming Dallas actually wants him back.
Matt Asiata (Min, 29) – Adrian Peterson played in just three games last season, giving way to Jerick McKinnon and Asiata behind this terrible Vikings O-line. He finished with 121/402/6 rushing (3.3 YPC) and 32/263/0 receiving on 38 targets (84.2% catch rate, 8.2 YPR) in 16 games. He was their most effective pass protector, which earned him some additional playing time. He’s never been much of a runner, but he struggled more than ever in short-yardage situations and had a career-worst 3.3 YPC. Asiata averaged an impressive .33 fantasy points per snap – the league average for the position was .24. He also averaged .88 fantasy points per touch – the league average for the position was .70. Asiata certainly isn’t a special player, but he’s a valuable player to the Vikings because of his all-around contributions as a short-yardage back, as a receiver, as a fullback, and as a special-teams contributor.
Tim Hightower (NO, 30) – While Hightower’s story is special — he stepped away from the NFL for three years in 2012-14 — his running talent is still lacking. Hightower played well in spurts this past year, but he really struggled down the stretch. In fact, Hightower failed to play on at least one-third of Saints’ snaps in any of their final five games. Keep in mind, Hightower “replaced” a “benched” Mark Ingram at one point during the 2016 season. At any rate, Hightower will likely draw some interest in the secondary days of free agency if New Orleans does indeed decline to re-up him on a one- or two-year deal, because he’s a skilled third-down protector and solid receiver. Hightower turns 31 in May.
Robert Turbin (Ind, 27) – Even though he hilariously vultured touchdowns from Frank Gore in 2016, Turbin is still just a journeyman NFL-talent. At 27-years-old, Turbin has been on four different NFL squads and has scored eight career touchdowns, seven of which came in 2016 with the Colts. But with his short-yardage and pass-protection skills, he should earn a contract somewhere.
Denard Robinson (Jac, 26) – The man they call “Shoelace” has had two disappointing seasons since his semi-breakout of 2014, and has had problems with ball security during his career as well. That said, he has some ability, and he’s still relatively young, as he doesn’t turn 27 until September. Robinson has some starting experience, which should get him a look in free agency.
Chris Johnson (Ari, 31) – CJ had just 25 ineffective carries in 2016, before his season ended with a groin injury. He has already said he plans to play in 2017, but he’ll have to play for close to the veteran minimum, if he manages to find work at all. He was at least generally effective in 2015, so he could be a cheap depth option for some team. The Cardinals may choose to bring him back, since both Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor are free agents as well.
Reggie Bush (Buf, 31) – Bush actually finished with fewer rushing yards than you reading this. Yes you. On 12 carries in 13 games with the Bills, Bush posted -3 rushing yards. At age 32 (in March), it appears Bush’s time in the NFL has run its course.
Brandon Bolden (NE, 27) – A key special teamer, Bolden had just 3 touches on offense in 2016. But given their affinity for WR Matthew Slater, it wouldn’t be shocking if the Patriots re-signed Bolden as well, since he’s a core player on their kicking units.
Cedric Peerman (Cin, 30) – Peerman played in just six games in 2016, missing most of the season with a broken arm suffered during the preseason. Peerman has just 70 carries in eight NFL seasons, but has a reputation as a very good special teamer, which should at least get him camp work somewhere.
Jonathan Grimes (Hou, 27) – Grimes played in 10 games in 2016 and garnered 33 touches and 199 yards. He’s flashed in his five NFL seasons, but has never held down fantasy value for more than a week or two at a time. He has solid athleticism however, and probably will land somewhere in a camp competition.
Justin Forsett (Den, 31) – Forsett was cut by both the Ravens and Lions in 2016, before latching on with the Broncos, who lost C.J. Anderson to injury and couldn’t trust rookie Devontae Booker. Forsett was overall ineffective, averaging just 3.3 YPC and 4.3 YPR, and at 31, he has admitted he’s thinking about retirement. Even if he doesn’t want to retire, the lack of a market for his services may force him in that direction anyway.
Chase Reynolds (LAR, 29) – Reynolds is a core special-teamer who had just 1 offensive touch for the Rams in 2016. It wouldn’t be shocking if they brought him back cheaply, as they did late in free agency last year.
Shaun Draughn (SF, 29) – Draughn had an up-and-down season in 2016, which like the 49ers in general, was mostly “down.” He averaged just 2.6 YPC on 74 rushes, though he’s a good receiver – 9.1 YPR on 29 catches. He was sometimes the top backup to Carlos Hyde, but also fell out of favor to DuJuan Harris at times. He’s going to get a one-year deal, if that.
Bobby Rainey (NYG, 29) – Rainey’s most notable play of 2016 was his horrendous mistake in the Giants’ playoff loss to the Packers, when he fielded a kickoff and ran out of bounds at the three-yard line, rather than letting the kickoff go out of bounds on its own. He has experience on special teams and as a third-down back, but those types are a dime a dozen.
Dexter McCluster (LAC, 28) – McCluster was cut by the Titans before the season, and landed with the Chargers after Danny Woodhead’s injury, given his familiarity with OC Ken Whisenhunt’s system. However, he was mostly ineffective, with just 39 yards on 10 touches in six games. He then broke his arm in an off-field accident in his own home, which ended his season in early November. He may get some camp work, but he has an uphill climb to make a roster.
Jordan Todman (Ind, 27) – A key special teamer who had a kickoff return TD in 2016, Todman had just 9 offensive touches, but has enough experience returning kicks that he should be able to find some work this off-season.
Travaris Cadet (NO, 28) – Coach Sean Payton absolutely loves Cadet, which makes him little more than a thorn for fantasy. But as an effective receiver who has 95 catches over the last three seasons, Cadet should draw interest on the open market, though he’s unlikely to find a better fit than New Orleans.
Ronnie Hillman (LAC, 25) – Hillman doesn’t turn 26 until September, which is amazing considering it feels like he’s been around forever. His youth alone should help him find work this off-season, but he has almost never been effective in the NFL, and averaged just 3.2 YPC in eight games with the Vikings and Chargers this season. It took him a long time to get signed last off-season however, and the Broncos cut him before the season started. He will likely be a camp body with an outside chance of making a roster.
DuJuan Harris (SF, 28) – At one point in 2016, Harris was the top backup to Carlos Hyde, but eventually fell out of favor, and Shaun Draughn reclaimed the role. Harris had 46 touches in 2016, and he still has some juice in him, so he should get a chance to compete for a roster spot somewhere.
Knile Davis (KC, 25) – Davis is just 25, but he hasn’t averaged more than 2.5 YPC in a season since 2014, and has averaged just 3.2 YPC in his career. His experience as a kickoff returner, his outstanding workout metrics, and relative youth should find him a short-term contract somewhere, but he’s just not a very good player.
Stepfan Taylor (Ari, 26) – A solid special-teams player, Taylor has gained just 70 yards on 21 carries the last two years. A plodding type who has just 1 career rushing TD, Taylor has enough special-teams experience to land somewhere as a depth option. It could be in Arizona, given Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington are also free agents.
Marcel Reece (Sea, 31) – A versatile fullback, Reece was cut by the Raiders but saw some action with the Seahawks late in the year. Both he and Will Tukuafu are free agents, and Reece offers more on offense than a typical FB, if a team is looking for a veteran at the position.
Restricted Free Agents
Isaiah Crowell (Cle, 24) – Crow certainly had a breakout campaign in his third season, but it wasn’t exactly the smoothest ride for his fantasy owners, going for more than 15+ FP in seven games and falling under 9 FP six times. And his season was also broken down into three distinct segments. He was great in his first four games from Weeks 1-4 (60/386/3 rushing), terrible in his middle eight games from Weeks 5-12 (84/211/2), and great against in his last four games from Weeks 14-17 (53/347/2). Crow certainly isn’t to blame for his rollercoaster season because it was tough to get consistent use with the Browns trailing the vast majority of the time. He finished with 198/952/7 rushing (4.8 YPC) and 40/319/0 receiving on 53 targets (75.5% catch rate, 8.0 YPR) in 16 games. He averaged 13.1 FPG, ranking 24th at the position behind Matt Forte and Christine Michael. Crow played on 55% of the snaps, saw a 9.5% target share, and had a healthy 38.41% of the team’s touches. It’d be a shock if Crowell isn’t back in 2017, given he looked very good in general on a really poor team. The Browns are almost certainly going to be a better team in 2017, which will give him more opportunity at success. A better defense and/or QB will help big-time.
Chris Thompson (Was, 26) – By total snaps, Thompson was Washington’s lead back. He played 489 snaps on the full year, and at 46%, both his total and snap share led all Washington RBs. However, you wouldn’t know it by his final stat line. In 16 games, Thompson posted just 68/356/3 rushing (5.2 YPC) and 49/349/2 receiving on 62 targets (7.1 YPC, 79.0% catch rate). He averaged 9.3 FPG, which tied him for 44th among all RBs. The reason? Among all RBs with 400 or more snaps, only James White touched the ball on a lower percentage of snaps than Thompson (24%, league average of 42%). So among “bell cow” RBs, or at least RBs who were actively part of a rotation, Thompson could only be expected to touch the ball about half as much as the average RB. We were actually disappointed that Thompson didn’t do more as a fantasy option given he was the “top” passing down back on a team that threw the ball so often, but he had a solid season overall and should still have a role in 2017, provided he’s back in Washington.
Mike Gillislee (Buf, 26) – In 2016, Gillislee got the chance to be the primary backup to LeSean McCoy and took full advantage of his opportunity. He finished with 101/577/18 rushing (5.7 YPC) and 9/50/1 receiving on 11 targets (81.8% catch rate, 5.6 YPR) in 15 games. Gillislee averaged 8.4 FPG, tying him for 48th at the position with the likes of Thomas Rawls, Matt Asiata, and Shane Vereen. Gillislee averaged an impressive 1.14 fantasy points per touch – the league average for the position was .70. He led all runners with 100+ carries with his impressive 5.7 yards per carry average, and he played on 28% of the snaps and saw 16.44% of the team’s touches. Gillislee proved to be a threat in his own right and a great pairing with McCoy, and OC Anthony Lynn preferred Gillislee down near the goal line by the middle of the season, as he ended up vulturing Shady quite a bit. If he can hold off Jonathan Williams this off-season, Gillislee is setting up to be one of the better RB handcuffs to start 2017… provided another team doesn’t look at his overwhelmingly strong efficiency and project him to be a potential bargain. A lot has to do with what RFA tender the Bills put on Gillislee.
Terrance West (Bal, 26) – In 2016, mostly as the Ravens’ “lead” back, West posted 193/774/5 rushing (4.0 YPC) and 34/236/1 receiving on 45 targets (75.6% catch rate, 6.9 YPR) in 16 games. He averaged 10.7 FPG, ranking him 34th at the position behind Rashad Jennings. West played 39% of the snaps and saw 30.0% of the team’s touches. The Ravens finished 28th with 91.4 rushing yards per game, and they ran the ball a franchise-record low 367 times. West is just a downhill runner with minimal skills, and he tried bouncing too many runs outside but didn't have the speed. West will probably be back as a restricted free agent if the Ravens choose to tender him, but his potential role is very much up in the air. HC John Harbaugh made it pretty clear that they are looking for another back this off-season. "We need another back. We have not run the football well enough or enough, really, for the last two years. That has to change."
Damien Williams (Mia, 24) – Williams was buried down the depth chart at the start of training camp behind Arian Foster, Jay Ajayi, and Kenyan Drake, but he emerged to be the primary backup by the end of the season. He finished with 35/115/3 rushing (3.3 YPC) and 23/249/3 receiving on 32 targets (71.9% catch rate, 10.8 YPR) in 15 games. He averaged 6.4 FPG and played on 18% of the snaps. He also scored a TD in their Wild Card game, so he ended up vulturing away 7 scores from Ajayi. Williams is a restricted free agent this off-season, and the Dolphins would likely bring him back to compete for the backup role with Drake and potentially another back.
Branden Oliver (LAC, 25) – Oliver was the first Charger RB – of four total – who went down with a season-ending injury in 2016. He tore his Achilles during the preseason, which was a major shame, since he would have likely ended up having a sizeable role at some point. A bowling-ball type who plays bigger than his size and can contribute on third downs, Oliver is expected to return to the Chargers on a RFA tender, according to Eric Williams of ESPN.
Khiry Robinson (NYJ, 27) – Oft-injured, Robinson had two very promising seasons at the start of his career in 2013 and 2014, but since has struggled to stay on the field. He played just one game with the Jets in 2016, posting 8/22 rushing with a lost fumble, before ending up on IR with a broken leg. It’d be an upset if he’s ever productive in the NFL again.
Antonio Andrews (Ten, 24) – The Titans’ leading rusher in 2015 with 520 yards, Andrews played in all 16 games in 2016, but had just 2 carries (he mostly played special teams). He may be back as depth, but the Titans totally revamped their backfield last off-season because they knew Andrews wasn’t any good. He’s little more than a low-upside grinder.
Kenjon Barner (Phi, 27) – Barner flashed in brief action for the Eagles in 2016, posting 27/129/2 rushing, while also adding some work as a return man before his season ended late with a hamstring injury. With the Eagles likely to release the oft-injured Ryan Mathews, it’d make sense for them to bring Barner back on a cheap tender to compete for a roster spot.
Exclusive-Rights Free Agents
George Atkinson (Cle, 24) – Atkinson played in 16 games in 2016, mostly on special teams, including as a returner. He also had 7/34/1 rushing for the Browns. A 220-pound back with surprising speed, he’s a nice depth option to have around.
Akeem Hunt (Hou, 23) – A scatback type, Hunt posted 20/109/0 rushing and 3/29 receiving in eight games for the Texans in 2016. He’s a dime-a-dozen change-of-pace type of back, but will almost certainly draw an ERFA tender from the Texans.
Don Jackson (GB, 23) – Remember when Jackson was the hot waiver wire name when Eddie Lacy went down? He ended up playing in just three games, posting 10/32 rushing before a knee injury ended his year. He’ll likely be back on an ERFA tender (especially with Lacy a free agent), but he’ll have an uphill climb to make the Packers’ roster.
Troymaine Pope (Sea, 23) – It looked like Pope might end up having a role for the Seahawks in 2016, once the Seahawks cut Christine Michael and lost C.J. Prosise for the season. However, he was lost for the season himself after suffering a high-ankle sprain in late November. Pope has more lateral juice than speed, but can provide some camp depth on an ERFA tender.