NFL Trade Rumors: 10 Potential Destinations for Ryan Grant

Drake Oz@drakeozbrSenior Writer IIMarch 10, 2011

NFL Trade Rumors: 10 Potential Destinations for Ryan Grant

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    PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Ryan Grant #25 of the Green Bay Packers rushes after a catch during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 12, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    In Week 1 of the 2010 NFL season, Packers running back Ryan Grant went down with an ankle injury that caused him to miss the rest of Green Bay's Super Bowl season.

    And in his absence, the Packers utilized a running-back-by-committee approach for much of the rest of the way.

    Then, they found their man: a rookie sixth-round draft pick by the name of James Starks, who took the NFL by storm with his breakout playoff performance.

    While Green Bay is thrilled about finding a diamond in the rough, Grant probably isn't too happy that head coach Mike McCarthy recently said that Grant and Starks will compete for carries.

    Will Grant want out of Green Bay? Only time will tell.

    But just in case he does leave Lambeau, let's take a look at his top 10 possible landing spots.  

10. Philadelphia Eagles

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 09:  LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles takes the field before they play against the Green Bay Packers during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvan
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    The Philadelphia Eagles have a star in the making at running back with LeSean McCoy.

    Along with Michael Vick, McCoy helped give the Eagles the No. 4 rushing attack during the 2010 regular season.

    Philadelphia averaged 145.4 yards per game (No. 4 in the NFL), scored 18 rushing touchdowns (No. 2) and averaged 5.5 yards per carry (No. 1).

    On the surface, it doesn't seem like the Eagles need any help in the running game, but they've really been a two-man show with Vick and McCoy.

    If the Eagles were to sign Ryan Grant, he could be used much like Thomas Jones in Kansas City: as one punch in a 1-2 combination.

    Meanwhile, McCoy would be utilized like Jones' running mate, Jamaal Charles: a big-play threat and receiver out of the backfield.

9. St. Louis Rams

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 03:  Ryan Grant #25 of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    When healthy, Steven Jackson is typically one of the league's best running backs, but he didn't miss a game in 2010 and his production was still down significantly.

    Jackson rushed for just 3.8 yards per carry and six touchdowns all season, and the Rams as a whole averaged only 3.7 YPC and got into the end zone just nine times.

    Sure, teams won't simply stack the box against St. Louis next season now that Sam Bradford's got a year of experience under his belt.

    But the Rams cannot afford to have more struggles with their rushing attack next season.

    And part of that problem can be solved by bringing in another running back to keep Jackson fresher and make opposing defenses tire more easily.

    Someone like Ryan Grant. 

8. Seattle Seahawks

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    SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 08:  Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks runs down field against Sedrick Ellis #98 of the New Orleans Saints during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on January 8, 2011 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Seattle had one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL last season.

    The Seahawks rushed for just 89 yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry, ranking 31st in both categories.

    Aside from that thunderous touchdown run against the Saints in the playoffs, Marshawn Lynch was remarkably ineffective in his first season in Seattle—737 yards, 3.6 yards per carry and six touchdowns (three in one game)—and Justin Forsett isn't exactly a featured back.

    The Seahawks did re-sign Leon Washington, but he's utilized more as a returner than as a running back.

    Bringing Ryan Grant to Seattle, alongside Lynch, might not necessarily be the greatest fit.

    But then again, it could wind up working well if both Lynch and Grant regain the form that once made them two of the most promising backs in the NFL.

7. San Francisco 49ers

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    GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 07: Ryan Grant #25 of the Green Bay Packers runs against the Baltimore Ravens at Lambeau Field on December 7, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Ravens 27-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Last season, Frank Gore was right on pace to have another 1,000-yard season with the San Francisco 49ers.

    Then, he somehow managed to mimic an 87-year-old and broke his hip.

    The oft-injured running back was put on injured reserve with what seems like his 456th injury, and it's far from a certainty that he'll be 100 percent when he comes back.

    In Gore's absence, the 49ers relied mainly on a two-back system with the aging Brian Westbrook and then-rookie Anthony Dixon.

    Dixon, is a big, bruising back, while Westbrook is a do-it-all back who is clearly past his prime.

    With those three backs taking up the majority of the carries, San Francisco ranked just 19th in the NFL with 103.6 rushing yards per game and scored just 10 rushing touchdowns.

    Though Ryan Grant would not be an upgrade over a healthy Gore (not many backs would), he's better at this point than both Dixon and Westbrook.

    If Gore struggles to return from injury, Grant could be a good replacement in San Francisco (assuming he's healthy, too).

6. Indianapolis Colts

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    INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 14:  Donald Brown #31 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 23-17.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Ge
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    It's not a bad idea to be a pass-heavy team when Peyton Manning is your quarterback, but Indianapolis may have blurred the line between "pass-heavy" and "passing too much" last season.

    In 2010, the Colts ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing yards (92.7 per game) and averaged just 3.8 yards per carry.

    Like many teams, the Colts were dealing with plenty of injuries, but both Donald Brown and Joseph Addai struggled when they were actually healthy enough to be on the field.

    And now, Indianapolis faces the possibility of losing two key running backs to free agency.

    Addai and Mike Hart are both free agents, and there should be plenty of interest in them on the open market, once this entire CBA mess is settled.

    If Addai and/or Hart bolts, then Ryan Grant might be an intriguing option for the Colts.

    He could fill in for Addai in a two-back system alongside Brown, who is just 23 years old and still has time to develop into a quality NFL back.

5. Denver Broncos

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    GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 01:  Running back Ryan Grant #25 of the Green Bay Packers carries the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter of the game at Lambeau Field on November 1, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Get
    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    In 2010, the Denver Broncos were a long ways away from the days of Terrell Davis and Clinton Portis.

    They ranked 26th in the NFL in rushing yards at just 96.5 yards per game and averaged a very mediocre 3.9 yards per carry.

    The Broncos never broke a run of more than 40 yards, and their running backs had 12 fumbles, eight of which were lost (second worst in the league).

    Denver will have a decent RB trio of Knowshon Moreno, Lance Ball and Correll Buckhalter back in 2011, but none of those running backs fared all that well in 2010.

    Moreno was the best of the bunch, accounting for more than 1,150 total yards and eight touchdowns, but the Broncos need a complement to Moreno, who is listed at just 210 pounds.

    At 222 pounds, Ryan Grant would provide Denver with a tough inside runner, while Moreno would be more of a factor back.

4. Washington Redskins

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 03: Clinton Portis #26 of the Washington Redskins against the Philadelphia Eagles on October 3, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Redskins defeated the Eagles 17-12.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Imag
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    In 2010, Washington relied almost purely on the pass all season long. In case you couldn't tell, that didn't exactly work out all that well.

    The Redskins, who finished 6-10, focused on throwing so much that they failed to get anything going on the ground.

    With Clinton Portis sidelined for much of the season, Washington ranked 28th in rushing at 94.9 yards per game and scored just nine rushing touchdowns (which also ranked 28th).

    And now, Portis has been released, which means the Redskins will be looking for someone to pair with Ryan Torain in the backfield.

    Portis, once a star in his own right, can't easily be replaced. But a guy like Ryan Grant can certainly try.

    Grant rushed for 1,200-plus yards in 2008 and 2009.

3. Arizona Cardinals

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    GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 15:  Running back Ryan Grant #25 of the Green Bay Packers looks on before the game against the Cleveland Browns during the preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 15, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Let's give props to the Arizona Cardinals. Of all the things they were god-awful at in 2010, running the football takes the cake.

    Arizona ranked dead last in rushing yards per game (86.8) and scored just nine rushing touchdowns.

    Some of that can be attributed to the team playing from behind and its offensive line troubles, but it's hard to completely understand why a team with two talented running backs, Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells, could struggle that much in the running game.

    And here's a bit of bad news for Cardinals fans: That rushing attack could be even worse in 2011.

    Hightower is a free agent, and he could draw interest from several teams who are in need of a goal line back.

    But even if Hightower stays in Arizona, the Cardinals have to find a way to upgrade their backfield.

    Trading for Ryan Grant certainly can't hurt. 

2. Detroit Lions

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 17:  Jahvid Best #44 of the Detroit Lions rushes past the tackle of Kenny Phillips #21 of the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 17, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    The Detroit Lions showed numerous signs of improvement last season, ending 2010 on a four-game winning streak.

    They seem to be headed in the right direction, but one thing they definitely need to improve is their running game.

    Detroit rushed for just 100.8 yards per game last season and scored just 11 rushing touchdowns during the regular season.

    Rookie Jahvid Best did show flashes of great potential, but he's only 5'10", 199 pounds and is likely going to be a do-it-all back rather than a traditional between-the-tackles runner.

    Why not try to get Ryan Grant to make the divisional switch to Detroit?

    With Grant in Motor City, I see him serving in a role similar to Fred Jackson in Buffalo.

    Let Grant be more of a bulldozer and complete back while Best serves as the C.J. Spiller type—a guy who's a home run threat every time he touches the ball.

1. Miami Dolphins

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    GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 13: Ryan Grant #25 of the Green Bay Packers signals the game-winning touchdown against the Chicago Bears on September 13, 2009 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bears 21-15. (Photo by Jonathan Dan
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    A couple of years ago, the Miami Dolphins had one of the league's top rushing offenses, which featured not one but two of the league's best backs.

    But Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have really started to show the wear and tear on their bodies (Williams is showing his age, too). The Dolphins surprisingly rushed for just 102.7 yards per game this season.

    Miami also averaged a lousy 3.7 yards per carry and had more fumbles (12) than touchdowns (eight).

    Things could be headed even farther south, too.

    Williams, Brown and Patrick Cobbs are all free agents this offseason, and it wouldn't be a total shocker to see all three backs sign elsewhere.

    I could see Miami possibly taking someone like Mark Ingram in the first round of this year's draft.

    However, if the Dolphins go in a different direction and Brown and Williams are gone as well, Ryan Grant to Miami makes a ton of sense.