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San Diego Chargers: Who Will Be the Backup Running Back?

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 18:  Running back Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers breaks the tackle of Jameel McClain #53 of the Baltimore Ravens in the third quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on December 18, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Ravens 34-14.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Alex RamirezCorrespondent IDecember 24, 2016

The San Diego Chargers have slowed down the pace in free agency. They got off to a hot start, but since then, not many moves have been made. Besides the nose tackle position, San Diego mainly has to worry about acquiring a backup running back. Mike Tolbert is now in Carolina, leaving the Chargers with Ryan Mathews and Curtis Brinkley. A.J. Smith would like to have four running backs competing for spots in training camp.

The question, then, is where will they find that guy, free agency or the draft? As of now, the Chargers have multiple free agents in mind for that position. Jackie Battle looks to be at the top of that list, as he just visited San Diego. Joseph Addai, Ryan Grant, and Tim Hightower could also be considered.

 

Jackie Battle

6'2'' 238 lbs. Strong runner.

Last year was when Battle showed his skill. He had his best season after Jamaal Charles went down with an injury in Week 2. His 4.0 yards-per-carry average may not look enticing, but as a backup, San Diego would love to have him on the team.

 

Tim Hightower

6'0'' 222 lbs. All around runner.

Before he tore his ACL in his left knee last season, Tim Hightower was playing quite well. Like Battle, his stats aren't the best, but to have such a powerful runner as a backup, how could the Chargers say no? The only thing that will keep the Chargers from making a play for Hightower is his recent injury.

 

Joseph Addai

5'11'' 215 lbs. Smart runner.

Joseph Addai has been in the league for six years and has won one Super Bowl. He knows the game very well. Addai would be a great change-of-pace back, but if he is signed, it will probably because of his veteran leadership.

 

Michael Bush

6'1'' 245lbs. Powerful runner.

Michael Bush is without a doubt the best running back on the market. For him not to get more offers is very confusing. Bush has the ability to be a starting back in the NFL.

The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that Bush is commanding too much money, and the Chargers are not willing to offer. This is also confusing, as they offered Mike Tolbert more than Bush is asking for.

Ryan Mathews and Michael Bush would be a dominant one-two punch.

 Report: Michael Bush has signed a four year contract with the Chicago Bears.

If a running back isn't signed in free agency, the Chargers will draft one. LaMichael James or Ronnie Hillman could be the player that San Diego decides to go with. They've been searching for a Darren Sproles-type back. Those two are the closest to that desire.

Don't forget about Curtis Brinkley, though. He was very useful in the games where Tolbert and Mathews couldn't play at 100 percent. Brinkley, who took over as third running back after Jordan Todman was released, showed a lot of promise at the end of last season.

It will definitely be an interesting decision as to who will be No. 2 on the depth chart at the beginning of the season.

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