Knowshon Moreno's first 1,000-yard rushing campaign of his five-year career wasn't enough to keep him in Denver.
The Dolphins made things official on Friday:
GM Dennis Hickey: “Knowshon is an experienced, productive, three-down player and adds another multi-threat to our backfield."— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) March 28, 2014
ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported terms of the deal:
Former Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno reached agreement on a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins, per league source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 27, 2014
As NFL.com's Ian Rapoport provides financial details of the contract:
Knowshon Moreno’s 1-year agreement with the #Dolphins is for about $3M, per source.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 27, 2014
Rapoport also indicates, Miami's backfield gains a much-needed veteran presence and toughness with the acquisition:
#Dolphins & RB Knowshon Moreno have agreed to terms on a deal, according to a source. Miami’s run game gets valuable experience & toughness— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 27, 2014
Although Moreno's swan song in Denver didn't exactly go as planned—37 total yards in a 43-8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII—he still enjoyed the most productive season of his career.
Benefiting from defenses focusing on Peyton Manning and the Broncos' pass offense, Moreno tallied 1,038 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns during the regular season. He added 60 receptions for 548 yards and three scores through the air, which approached his receiving output from the previous three seasons combined.
Moreno, following his transformation from first-round disappointment to near 1,600-yard back, talked about his desire to stay in Denver, per ESPN's Cecil Lammey:
Knowshon Moreno says "hopefully I'm still here. I'll let my agent take care of things." #Broncos— Cecil Lammey (@cecillammey) February 4, 2014
Unfortunately, the writing of his departure was always on the wall.
How would you grade this signing?
The Broncos drafted Montee Ball in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, and as the season progressed, the former Wisconsin star became more and more featured in the offense. Throw in Moreno's injury history and the short shelf life for NFL running backs, and many assumed Denver would move on after the 2013 season.
Still, while part of Moreno's success can be attributed to a dynamic offense, he showed improvement and played 16 games for the first time since his rookie season. Moreover, his versatility as a pass-catching back made him a sought-after commodity on the open market.
And as ESPN Stats & Info pointed out, he protected the ball extremely well:
Entering the Super Bowl, no Bronco since 2000 has more rush attempts in a season without losing a fumble than Knowshon Moreno in 2013 (278).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 22, 2014
This separation was as much about his value (and price tag) taking off as it was about the Broncos looking toward the future. That's no problem for Joe Philbin and his staff, who now have themselves a hard-working, consistent, solid running back capable of contributing in every phase of the game.
Gaining a talent like Moreno alongside Lamar Miller should help Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins offense gain some consistency in the backfield to help open up the passing game, taking some of the pressure off Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline.
Moreno is still relatively young and only has 845 career rushing attempts on his tires. Utilized in the proper way, there's no reason he can't continue to build on his strong 2013 campaign outside Denver.