5 Options for the Indianapolis Colts to Replace Vick Ballard
Who should Chuck Pagano's squad turn to next? Is a free-agent signing imminent? Or will the Colts simple ride out the 2013 campaign with the running backs currently on the roster.
Here's a look at five options.
The soon-to-be 32-year-old running back last played for the Denver Broncos in 2012, before a torn MCL and fractured knee ended his season in November.
At the time, McGahee had carried the ball 167 times at a 4.4 yards-per-attempt clip and added 26 receptions for 221 yards.
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora tweeted the following in early August about the veteran back: "From what I've heard, Willis McGahee is in great shape. As injuries inevitably mount at RB during preseason, I expect him to get some calls."
He remains unsigned and would be a decent option to pair with fellow veteran Ahmad Bradshaw in Indianapolis.
Beanie Wells' NFL career has been marred with injuries, and his past is probably part of the reason why he's currently unemployed.
The former Ohio State Buckeye is only 25 years old, but toe and knee ailments allowed him to play in only eight games during the 2012 season with the Arizona Cardinals.
Running behind, arguably, the worst offensive line in the NFL last year, the running back averaged a pedestrian 2.7 yards per carry but did score five touchdowns.
Wells wouldn't be a dynamite addition for the Colts; however, he'd be experienced insurance.
Michael Turner is another available running back, but he's 31 years old and has over 1,700 career touches following his plodding 2012 season with the Atlanta Falcons.
Tim Hightower is a better option at this point.
Hightower didn't make the Washington Redskins' roster in 2012 and hasn't played a regular-season down in the NFL since 2011.
At that time, he was Mike Shanahan's No. 1 back, although he averaged only 3.8 yards per carry on 84 attempts through before an injury ended his season after only five games.
Kevin Smith is only 26 years old and appeared in 12 games for the Detroit Lions in 2012.
He's dealt with injuries in his career but is healthy and ready to get a phone call from an NFL team. According to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, the New York Giants reached out to Smith before signing Brandon Jacobs this week.
The former UCF stud carried the ball 37 times for only 134 yards last season. In 2011, he averaged an impressive 4.9 yards per rush on 72 attempts.
At 6'0" and 210 pounds, Smith has a similar build and between-the-tackles running style to that of Ballard.
Ride out Current Running Back Stable
Ahmad Bradshaw will be be the Colts' unquestioned feature back from here on out, which isn't a bad development for Indianapolis. Although he averaged only 3.7 yards per carry in the season-opening win against the Oakland Raiders, the former New York Giant has proven to be one of the more well-rounded running backs in the NFL, even if he's not a home run hitter.
Donald Brown didn't receive a carry in Week 1, but that will change. The former UConn standout averaged 4.8 yards per attempt as a complementary back in 2011, yet in 2012, his efficiency dipped to 3.9 yards per rush.
According to Indianapolis Star beat writer Mike Chappell, the team will call up Kerwynn Williams from the practice squad.
Bradshaw and Brown don't formulate the AFC's most prolific backfield tandem, but with Andrew Luck running his old Stanford offense, Indianapolis' running game doesn't need to be spectacular.