So many mouths to feed and only one ball to go around.
As free agency continues to wind down and the draft falls further back in the rear view mirror, Week 1 rosters are beginning to take shape and a handful of running backs are noticing less space in their backfields.
Here, we take a peek at which running backs look like they might be pushed out the door before the 2017 season officially gets under way.
Mark Ingram, Saints
The Saints have said they have a plan to keep all three backs in the mix, though Ingram and Peterson have a similar skill set. If Peterson shows up in July looking similar to the 2015 version of himself, New Orleans may listen to offers for Ingram.
At 27, carrying a low salary-cap hit for the next two seasons, coming off his first career 1,000-yard campaign, Ingram would be a welcome member to several offenses around the league.
Ryan Mathews, Eagles
With LeGarrette Blount joining the Philadelphia backfield Wednesday, Mathews’ time in the city of brotherly love looks to be coming to an end. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that Blount’s signing “probably winds up sealing” Mathews’ departure from the Eagles once the back is healthy.
Mathews missed the final game of the 2016 season with a herniated disc in his neck, which could keep him on the Eagles’ roster for a little while longer as the team would need him to pass a physical before outright cutting him.
The 29-year-old has proven to be a solid backup runner in the right scheme and could still be a worthy addition to a team looking for a veteran presence in the backfield.
Giovani Bernard, Bengals
Despite signing a three-year extension before the 2016 season, Bernard may have already played his last down for the Bengals.
The 25-year-old received the fewest touches in his career in 2016 and saw added competition with the second-round selection of Joe Mixon at the draft. Finding enough carries for Mixon, Bernard, and Jeremy Hill, who has been the Bengals starter the last two years, will be tough.
With a $3.675-million cap hit this season and increasing salaries in 2018 and 2019, the Bengals will likely take any mid-round draft pick offered via trade for Bernard, who can still be a valuable third-down option for anyone searching.
Chris Ivory, Jaguars
The only reason Ivory is still on the Jaguars roster right now is the generous contact he signed with the team last spring.
Ivory, 29, would cost the Jaguars $7 million against the cap if cut – about $1.2 million more than if he stays put – and his power-running role has been relegated with Leonard Fournette joining the squad.
Last season, Ivory put out his least productive campaign, averaging 3.8 yards per carry while earning just one start. His contract may preclude him from being released this summer, but if any team offers any compensation via trade, the Jaguars may just be happy to get Ivory off their hands.
Alfred Blue, Texans
Blue holds a dead cap value of under $30,000, so the Texans wouldn’t think twice financially about releasing him, though his $720,000 cap hit is nothing they are sweating.
If the 26-year-old can perform well in training camp and preseason, he may garner the interest of another club who would likely have to give up nothing more than a seventh-round pick to acquire his services if he isn’t cut.
Javorius ‘Buck’ Allen, Ravens
There may just be too many cooks in the kitchen for Allen, who made a name for himself as rookie in 2015, to stick around in Baltimore this year.
Allen doesn’t posses any unique skills that the other Ravens running backs – Danny Woodhead, Lorenzo Taliaferro, and Terrance West – can’t take care of. He will likely be cut and, without a solid preseason performance, it could be a while before he lands another job in the league after a 43-yard output in 2016.
C.J. Spiller, Chiefs
The 2010 first-round pick bounced around three teams last season, accumulating just 12 total touches. Spiller, 29, hasn’t rushed for over 300 yards in a season since 2013, developing a series of injuries since then.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)
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