It is the end of an era for the Oakland Raiders. Today, March 6, 2010, the Raiders announced the rumored release of veteran kamikaze running back Justin Fargas. Fargas emerged as Oakland's best running back because of injury to LaMant Jordan in 2006. In the '06 season, Fargas made 6 starts in which he piled up 659 yards on 178 carries. Remember how bad that 2006 Raiders team was? That was the team that went 2-14 and gave the Raiders the draft pick used on JaMarcus Russell.
After 2006, Fargas continued his reign of terror on interior defenses as he led Oakland's 6th rank rushing offense in 2007: 222 carries for 1,009 yards and 4 TDs in a season ended by a knee injury. In 2008, Michael Bush and Darren McFadden joined the Raiders (Bush was drafted in Round 4 of '07 but was on IR all year recovering from a broken leg in college) and Fargas numbers dropped ( 218 carries--853 yards--1 TD) but he was still the heart of the Raiders offense. 2009 signaled the end was near ( 129 carries--491 yards--3 TDs in 4 starts).
But this is not all bad news for the Raiders. I'll explain why.
PROS: Justin Fargas failed his physical. At age 30, running backs usually hit the wall, with a few exceptions. He has taken a lot of wear and tear as Oakland's lead back.
Fargas was due a bonus of over $1M in the next few days. With the financial struggles the Raiders have, is 3 RBs really necessary.
Fargas had a nose-dive style of running, that has revealed that he is injury prone and he may not have much left in the tank.
Michael Bush could have been the Raiders' best running back all this time, but behind Fargas he didn't get much recognition from anyone other than die-hard Raiders fans (like me.)
Even though there are those few positives; we can't ignore the negatives of losing Fargas.
CONS: His heart is irreplaceable. Look at the picture I used for this article, how many RBs will get right back up after a hit like that...only one...Fargas!
Who will replace him? Darren McFadden is injury prone and Michael Bush shares that hard-nose style of running as Fargas, so he will need a rest here and there.
Who will lead the offense? Zach Miller and Louis Murphy are a little young to lead an offense into battle. Maybe Bruce Gradkowski can do it, that is if he is the starter.
The Raiders get nothing in return; and Fargas could stay in the AFC West! If the Raiders had traded Fargas they could have gotten a mid-round draft pick and sent him to the NFC, San Diego is trying to replace LT and the Chiefs snagged Marcus Allen, and they have no clear-cut running back. Can any Raiders fan imagine the horror of Fargas plowing through Gerard Warren and Tommy Kelly just like he did in practice the last 3 years?
What do you think...Is this a good move--releasing Justin Fargas?