Updates from Tuesday, Mar. 11
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that McFadden has re-signed with the Raiders:
Raiders re-signed RB Darren McFadden to a one-year, $4 million deal, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2014
Updates from Monday, Mar. 10
Adam Schefter of ESPN has the latest on the market for Darren McFadden:
Some free-agent RBs not getting much play. But am told free-agent RB Darren McFadden has generated "significant interest."— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2014
Injuries have slowed down the once-promising career of running back Darren McFadden. The 26-year-old free agent will now test his value on the open market and see where he lands.
When healthy, McFadden has shown a unique mix of power, speed and agility to be among the league's elite at running back. The fourth overall pick in the 2008 draft has averaged a solid 4.2 yards per carry in his six years with the Oakland Raiders and had a number of big games in the process.
That number dropped to just 3.3 yards per carry over the past two seasons as injuries continued to pile up. He has never completed a season in the NFL and has missed a total of 29 games in six years.
Adam Schein of NFL.com put it bluntly with his assessment:
I'd never sign McFadden. Yes, he oozes talent—but he will break your heart. Since going to the Raiders with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, McFadden has yet to complete a full season. In fact, he has logged double-digit starts just twice.
This is not a case of a player merely needing a change of scenery—needing to get out of Oakland—and waiting to hit his potential. You can't bank on him. Or, as one of the NFC's top talent evaluators simply stated: "He's injury-prone, big time. You can't sign him."
For this reason, the Raiders have made it a bigger priority to sign his backup Rashad Jennings and will likely allow McFadden to test the market, according to Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com:
#Raiders GM McKenzie also says he wants to re-sign Jennings, Veldheer, Houston and Woodson. Thinks McFadden will test the FA market— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) January 16, 2014
However, Oakland is not completely against re-signing the veteran running back, as long as it is for very cheap, according to Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area:
A source indicated that there is interest in McFadden, but it has to be at the right price. The right price, in this case, is another term for cheap. Largely, the market for him will dictate the Raiders' pursuit of McFadden once free agency begins. If his value is relatively high, the Raiders are expected to let him walk. If it bottoms out, McFadden could come back.
If this does not seem encouraging for McFadden, head coach Dennis Allen had a more promising, yet still realistic, view of the process in a SiriusXM NFL radio interview, via Bair:
When you look at it, Darren McFadden is an extremely good player and a high talent, but unfortunately he’s had the injury history. What we have to do from a business standpoint is you’ve got to look at the dollar figure compared to the availability and what you’re able to get out of it. I think that’s something that we’re going to look at. We’re going to be in communication with Darren’s agent and see where he’s at.
So if McFadden does start a new chapter with another team, which organization would be willing to bring him in?
Where will Darren McFadden play next season?
Gutierrez previously reported that the Cincinnati Bengals might be a potential fit due to the relationship with new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. The former Raiders head coach is a big fan of McFadden, and the running back could become a quality complement to the young Giovani Bernard.
Marc Sessler of NFL.com also called McFadden to the Bengals the "best fit" of the running back class, but he reported that an agent at the NFL Scouting Combine told him that it will not happen.
Another possible destination is the Miami Dolphins, which struggled to find any consistency with the duo of Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas last season. ESPN's John Clayton noted in an interview with The Finsiders that McFadden could be a potential fit and an upgrade to the current unit.
If the running back is willing to give up playing time in an effort to possibly win a Super Bowl, the San Francisco 49ers could be an interesting destination. Bill Williamson of ESPN.com notes a possible connection:
There are certainly a number of other teams who could use a running back, including the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons. Many of these teams already have starters in place, but they could use a secondary option in the offense.
It is not yet known what McFadden's price tag will be in the open market, but you can be certain he will find a landing spot before too long.
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