NFL Free Agent Predictions: 10 Potential Moves for Joseph Addai
NFL free agent predictions will probably change a great deal, depending on what happens in the playoffs and who fills the variety of coaching vacancies.
But there aren't many Super Bowl winning running backs out there on the market.
Indianapolis Colt Joseph Addai is out there, however.
And since he's gone this far without an extension, it doesn't seem all that likely that he'll be back with the team that drafted him in 2006.
Where might he end up? Here are 10 possibilities.
No. 10: Green Bay Packers
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Current Running Backs: Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson, James Starks, Dimitri Nicks
An injury like the one Grant suffered in Week 1 should be easy enough to overcome: he's only 28. But with an ankle, the front office has to worry about it slowing him down a bit or how it will affect his cutting.
And although Jackson has filled in nicely, he is also a free agent in 2011. The coaching staff is really high on Starks and he could have a breakout season next year, but even if he does, having Addai there to learn from would be beneficial.
Addai would fit nicely into that Green Bay system, so they might find him an appealing choice.
Just because he plays in a dome in Indianapolis doesn't mean he will lose production outdoors on the grass and snow of Lambeau.
No. 9: New York Giants
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Current Running Backs: Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, Danny Ware
Say what you will about Joseph Addai: he's had injury problems, his production has dipped every year since 2007 and he's benefited by playing beside one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
But he does protect the ball. Since his rookie season of 2006, he's lost only three fumbles.
And while Eli Manning's interceptions were more damaging to the team's playoff goal, fumbles by their running backs were nearly as bad.
Bradshaw (who is also a free agent) lost six fumbles this year, Jacobs two. And since Jacobs doesn't seem to be very happy in New York, he might be on his way out as well.
Replacing him with Addai would be a step in the right direction in terms of limiting turnovers.
No. 8: Detroit Lions
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Current Running Backs: Jahvid Best, Maurice Morris, Aaron Brown
Jahvid Best would seem to be the future in Detroit. He bolted out of the gate with a fantastic start to his 2010 rookie season, scoring five touchdowns in his first two games.
But he cooled off towards the end, thanks mainly to injuries. In his place Morris did a fine job, but he will begin his 10th season next fall.
Addai has been a part of a winning team everyone of his five seasons and played in two Super Bowls and nine playoff games.
For the young Lions, most of whom have zero playoff experience, he'd provide excellent leadership and work to "change the culture of losing" in the Motor City.
No. 7: Miami Dolphins
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Current Running Backs: Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Sammy Morris, Patrick Cobbs, Lex Hilliard
Not only is Brown a free agent, but he hasn't produced the last two seasons. Re-signing him doesn't appear too likely.
And although Ricky Williams has had two pretty good years in 2009 and 2010 (remarkably considering he'll be 34 this May), they cannot depend on him carrying the ball 200-plus times.
Cobbs or Hilliard could emerge as the next Arian Foster, but the front office and whoever their new head coach is won't take that bet.
Addai would be a nice fit because he wouldn't have to be a 20-carry per game back with Williams.
And as the Dolphins continue to wait on Chad Henne, his reliability when it comes to turnovers will be a nice addition.
No. 6: Denver Broncos
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Current Running Backs: Knownshon Moreno, Correll Buckhalter, Laurence Maroney, Lance Bell
Moreno has the potential to be a feature back who totes the ball 300-plus times a season. But because of injuries (and the many problems in Denver), he didn't show much improvement from a fairly productive rookie season in 2009.
Addai wouldn't be brought in to replace him, just to supplement the ground game: after him, the rest of the pool is pretty thin.
Buckhalter is repeatedly injured, Maroney (also a free agent) has done very little since being a first round choice in 2005, and Bell is something of a project.
With Tim Tebow on the field, Addai would have a few more chances to run the ball than in a Peyton Manning offense.
No. 5: Cincinnati Bengals
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Current Running Backs: Cedric Benson, Bernard Scott, Cedric Peerman
Benson is a free agent as well, and considering that he again topped 1,100 yards, he might be looking for big money.
But a closer look reveals how much his production dropped in 2010, from 4.2 yards per carry a year before to 3.5. He also fumbled the ball seven times, six more than his rebound season a year earlier.
Scott and Peerman are nice young options, but with Marvin Lewis still on a short leash, he is going to have to make a move if Benson leaves.
Addai keeps a low profile, something that would be a nice change of pace from the last major free agent they pulled in.
No. 4: San Francisco 49ers
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Current Running Backs: Frank Gore, Brian Westbrook, Anthony Dixon
The loss of Gore and the earlier unexpected retirement of Glen Coffee really put the 49ers behind the eight ball.
Brian Westbrook had one fantastic game against Arizona, but with all his wear-and-tear and advanced age, he cannot be counted on in 2010.
And with Gore suffering a hip fracture, who knows if he'll be back to full strength by the first day of training camp. Between college and the pros, he's now had two major leg injuries.
Dixon is a good young runner who would benefit from having Addai there. From Addai's perspective, with a new coach coming in and a good young offensive line by the Bay, the 49ers could be a nice fit.
No. 3: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Current Running Backs: LeGarrette Blount, Cadillac Williams, Kregg Lumpkin, Earnest Graham
Blount had a fine second half to the season, and with his size and youth, he would figure to be a top notch back in 2010. But the NFL is becoming a two-back league and having a good second option is key these days.
Look at what happened with the Jets: even with Shonn Greene having an incredible playoff run last year, they signed LaDainian Tomlinson and gave him more of the carries in 2010.
After Blount, the young Bucs are not exactly stable. Williams (also a free agent) is a warrior but his load continues to get lighter, and Graham endured a slew of injuries this year, including hamstring and neck.
Addai would fit in with the Bucs' style and, as he might in Detroit, take on an elder statesmen role and show the young team how to win.
No. 2: New Orleans Saints
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Current Running Backs: Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, Julius Jones
It's a scary situation when Reggie Bush is your healthiest running back. But that is the case on the current Saints roster.
Thomas and Ivory were recently placed on injured reserve and Jones still seems to be working his way into the offense.
The Saints may have gotten through 2010 with a running back by committee approach but they need to restock if they hope to succeed.
Addai and Bush would be a nice duo if Thomas and/or Ivory aren't at full strength recovering from their ankle injuries.
That offense is not terribly dissimilar to the one in Indianapolis, and it would be a homecoming of sorts for the former LSU Tiger.
No. 1: Washington Redskins
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Current Running Backs: Clinton Portis, Ryan Torain, Keiland Williams, James Davis, Andre Brown
Throughout the last decade, which NFL team has become notorious for throwing millions of dollars at veterans of questionable value?
Answer: Daniel Snyder's Washington Redskins.
That alone isn't enough to lead Addai to the capital city, but it's part of the reason he might end up there.
For one, Clinton Portis' days have to be numbered: he's been a great player for almost a decade, but this most recent abdominal muscle tear might be the end of the line.
He only played five games this year and has been sidelined with concussions, hand and shoulder injuries in recent seasons.
In his place, Ryan Torain was pretty good, but was he good enough to satisfy the patron saint of the zone blocking scheme, Mike Shanahan?
Even if Washington does put their faith in Torain or one of the other young backs, they should invest in a veteran like Addai. After Portis, their isn't a back on the roster older than 24.
Shanahan was able to turn almost anyone (Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Reuben Droughns, Tatum Bell) into a 1,000-yard runner during his stay in Denver. With Addai, who has tremendous athleticism when healthy, he should be able to do the same.