2012 Offseason Movement: Running Backs
By Jeff Pasquino
July 18th, 2012

The offseason movement feature makes yet another appearance. It's one of the few staples of football that you know isn't going anywhere since there will always be players changing teams. Some will end up in better situations, some in worse ones. It's up to us to tell you which ones look good or bad from a preliminary look below. And it's up to you to continue to return to our website over the summer to see how some of these guys look to be panning out with their new teams. If nothing else, this will provide you with a refresher course or keep you informed on something you may have missed in April.

We wish we had a crystal ball to tell you exactly what is going to happen, when it is going to happen, and how much turnover there will be statistically. But the truth is, it's very early in the offseason. The key directive we can give you right now is to stay informed. Players change teams almost daily during the summer months, and a seemingly insignificant move in late August can have a huge impact on both the real NFL and your fantasy league.

We all want to know how Player X will fit in with Team Y. We all want to know how a superstar will react to the first major move of his career, or which journeyman on their last legs will resurrect their stat lines with a move elsewhere. And we can help you with that over time. For now, though, educate yourself on what you see below. Get a good base for how the moves should impact each team, and we'll continue to let you know how they are impacting each team. In the meantime, you can be assured that you won't be that guy at the bar saying something like, "I like Sidney Rice but just don't trust Tarvaris Jackson." while your friends give you blank stares and wonder where you were all offseason.

Running Backs by Jeff Pasquino

  1. BenJarvus Green-Ellis - Cincinnati (from New England)
    • What happened: BenJarvus Green-Ellis left New England and signed as a free agent to be the workhorse back for the Bengals, who said goodbye to Cedric Benson. Green-Ellis left a crowded (and younger) backfield for the Patriots and signed a three-year, $9 million contract.

    • What it means: Green-Ellis leaves New England while the getting is still good, coming into Cincinnati to be the top running back for a playoff caliber team. With Benson gone, the Bengals need a top back to eat up carries, yards and punch the ball across the goal line. Bernard Scott will contribute on third downs, but Green-Ellis should push for a Top 24 finish for fantasy purposes, especially in touchdown heavy leagues.

  2. Michael Bush - Chicago (from Oakland)
    • What happened: The Bears signed Bush early in free agency to a four-year, $14 million deal in March.

    • What it means: The Bears have been staring at a holdout from starting running back Matt Forte for quite a while, so Bush afforded them both insurance against a holdout and also a backup plan in case Forte gets injured. Bush is a very capable back who has performed well whenever asked, and had several chances to show his skills when Darren McFadden was hurt last season. Bush may well be the starter in Chicago in September if the Forte contract situation gets ugly.

  3. Peyton Hillis - Kansas City (from Cleveland)
    • What happened: Cleveland gave up on their former starting running back, letting Hillis go to sign as a free agent in Kansas City.

    • What it means: The Chiefs may have gotten a steal in Hillis, who signed a one-year, $2.8 million contract. Hillis had major issues last year both on and off the field as he never lived up to his big 2010 season. He now gets a chance to come to Kansas City and split time with Jamaal Charles. Hillis could easily be the thunder to Charles' lightning, as Hillis can pound the ball between the tackles and keep Charles fresh to run wild around the corner.

  4. Mike Tolbert - Carolina (from San Diego)
    • What happened: Tolbert left San Diego to sign with Carolina as a free agent, accepting a four-year, $8.4 million contract in March.

    • What it means: Tolbert stole the show (and touchdowns) for much of the 2011 season in San Diego, scoring 10 touchdowns on just 175 touches for the Chargers. Expecting more of the same in Carolina would be a mistake, however, as the Panthers see him as more of a fullback than a tailback. Carolina has both Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams signed for this year to be their top two rushers, so Tolbert may not move up the pecking order until next year if and when the Panthers let Stewart leave in free agency.

  5. Brandon Jacobs - San Francisco (from NY Giants)
    • What happened: Jacobs wore out his welcome with the Giants, heading out to California as a free agent. Jacobs inked a one-year, $1.575 million contract with the 49ers.

    • What it means: Jacobs originally looked like he found a new home to push two younger running backs (Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon) and the aging Frank Gore. Jacobs can still be considered as a goal line back and a veteran with limited upside, but the fact that the 49ers added LaMichael James in the draft in April makes the backfield much more crowded. Jacobs could have sleeper value or he may not even make the roster.

  6. Mike Goodson - Oakland (from Carolina)
    • What happened: The Carolina Panthers traded Goodson to Oakland in exchange for offensive lineman Bruce Campbell before the NFL Draft.

    • What it means: Goodson is a young running back (25) with one year left on his original contract at just $615,000. The Raiders needed a backup for Darren McFadden once Michael Bush left for Chicago, and Taiwan Jones does not appear durable enough to be the full time ball carrier should McFadden get injured once again. Goodson has great receiving skills and should make for a solid backup to McFadden, though he has had issues with fumbling in his career.

  7. Joseph Addai - New England (from Indianapolis)
    • What happened: Free agent Joseph Addai latched on with the Patriots after the NFL Draft for a minimal one-year contract ($1.069 million with $300K more in incentives).

    • What it means: Addai was summarily dismissed from Indianapolis after a meager year as the Colts chose to not offer him a contract despite few options behind him. The Patriots have a history of bringing in veteran tailbacks and getting good production, but New England already has Stevan Ridley for early down work along with Shane Vereen. Addai will compete with both backs plus Danny Woodhead for very few touches, assuming Addai even makes the final roster.

Other notable running backs that changed teams (includes fullbacks):

  • Rock Cartwright - San Francisco (from Oakland)

  • Tony Fiammetta - New England (from Dallas)

  • Lex Hilliard - Minnesota (from Miami)

  • Deji Karim - Indianapolis (from Jacksonville)

  • Spencer Larsen - New England (from Denver)

  • Le'Ron McClain - San Diego (from Kansas City)

  • Jalen Parmele - Jacksonville (from Baltimore)

  • Lawrence Vickers - Dallas (from Houston)

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