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Free Agency Preview: RB & FB

Posted Mar 1, 2013

NFL Insider Adam Caplan of Sirius NFL Radio helps us preview free agency by providing the top players available at each position. In addition, we look at each player's career to date and whether that player could end up finding a home with the Eagles. Next up, we take a look at the running backs and fullbacks ...

RUNNING BACKS

1. Steven Jackson, St. Louis - Ht: 6-2, Wt: 240, Age: 29, Exp: 9

Career: The bruising back has been the centerpiece of the Rams’ offense since he was selected in the first round of the 2004 draft. Over that time, Jackson has piled up 10,135 rushing yards and 56 touchdowns on 2,395 carries. Jackson will reportedly void his current deal with St. Louis and venture into free agency.

Fit: Jackson turns 30 this summer and is reaching the end of his career. However, his 1,042 rushing yards last season show that he still has plenty to offer. But with All-Pro LeSean McCoy and the promising Bryce Brown in the backfield for the Eagles, it’s hard to imagine either side showing much interest in the other.

2. Reggie Bush, Miami - Ht: 6-0, Wt: 203, Age: 27, Exp: 7

Career: While Bush never lived up to the promise of being the second overall pick in 2006, he has still been a valuable player for the Saints and Dolphins. Last season in Miami, Bush ran for 986 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught 35 passes for 292 yards and two scores and was used as a punt returner.

Fit: Bush offers a versatile skill set and could be an intriguing fit in head coach Chip Kelly’s offense. But Bush will likely try to find a starting job, or at least the chance to be more than a third option.

3. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants - Ht: 5-10, Wt: 214, Age: 26, Exp: 6

Career: Bradshaw has been a key part of the Giants’ offense for years. He started as the “fire” element of the Giants’ “Earth, Wind and Fire” running back trio in 2008 before winning the starting role two seasons later. Bradshaw was released earlier this offseason, but is still a productive back. He ran for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns last season.

Fit: Bradshaw will likely look to join a team where he can play a prominent role, making it unlikely that Bradshaw makes his new home down the turnpike from his old team.

4. Danny Woodhead, New England - Ht: 5-8, Wt: 200, Age: 28, Exp: 4

Career: Woodhead’s role with the Patriots has been a versatile one. Used in small doses as both a running back and receiver, Woodhead has proven to be a versatile weapon. He had a career season in 2012, running for 301 yards and four touchdowns. He also caught 40 passes for 446 yards and three scores.

Fit: Like Bush, Woodhead presents some intriguing possibilities in Kelly’s offense. He said he would like to remain a Patriot, but it’s unclear how the organization feels about retaining his services. However unlikely, Woodhead could be a nice signing if he doesn’t mind playing a limited role on offense – and signing a deal to match.

5. Cedric Benson, Green Bay - Ht: 5-11, Wt: 227, Age: 30 Exp: 8

Career: Benson’s career started off slowly, but in recent years, he has become one of the league’s more productive runners. After being drafted by the Bears in 2005, Benson eventually joined the Bengals, where he ran for more than 1,000 yards three times in four seasons. He joined the Packers last offseason, but suffered a Lisfranc injury and only started in five games.

Fit: Benson has been a starter for years, and it’s unlikely that he would join the Eagles in a reduced role.

6. Chris Ivory, New Orleans - Ht: 6-0, Wt: 220, Age: 24, Exp: 3

Career: An undrafted rookie free agent signed by the Saints in 2010, Ivory moved into the starting lineup for four games that year on the heels of injuries. He made the most of his chances, rushing for 716 yards and five touchdowns. Injuries have kept Ivory on the sidelines since then; he played in a combined 12 games over the last two seasons.

Fit: When healthy, Ivory presents a nice change-of-pace option who can also start. But the Eagles already have a deep stable of running backs, which would make Ivory an unlikely luxury singing.

7. Shonn Greene, New York Jets - Ht: 5-11, Wt: 226, Age: 27, Exp: 4

Career: After sitting behind Thomas Jones and then LaDainian Tomlinson for two seasons, Greene became the Jets’ full-time starter in 2011. Since then, he has broken 1,000 yards twice in two seasons. Last season he ran for a career-high 1,063 yards and eight touchdowns.

Fit: Greene is reportedly drawing interest from teams with unsettled backfield situations, meaning it’s unlikely that he would sign on as part of the Eagles’ crowded stable of backs.

8. Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh - Ht: 5-10, Wt: 225, Age: 25, Exp: 5

Career: The Steelers’ first-round pick in 2008, Mendenhall has been the featured back in Pittsburgh for several years. Mendenhall ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2009 and 2010, but saw his numbers dip in 2011. Last season, injuries forced him to miss all but six games. He ran for 182 yards in those contests.

Fit: Mendenhall will likely be looking to start, which would take the Eagles out of the running.

9. Felix Jones, Dallas - Ht: 5-10, Wt: 215, Age: 25, Exp: 5

Career: Drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft, Jones was expected to be the Cowboys’ franchise running back. However, injuries and inconsistency prevented Jones from ever meeting those expectations. Jones lost his job to DeMarco Murray last season, but started in seven games after Murray suffered an ankle injury early in the season. Jones ran for 182 yards in 2012.

Fit: While Jones has shown glimpses of his potential, injuries have been the story of his career. The Eagles are deep enough at running back that they can skip taking a chance on the rival player.

10. Andre Brown, New York Giants - Ht: 6-0, Wt: 227, Age: 26, Exp: 4

Career: Brown bounced around the league after being drafted by the Giants in 2009. He rejoined the club in 2011, starting two games last season. He finished the year with 385 yards and eight touchdowns on 73 carries.

Fit: Brown is a restricted free agent and expects the Giants to tender him. The Eagles are deep enough at running back to avoid paying for Brown’s services.

FULLBACKS

1. Peyton Hillis, Kansas City - Ht: 6-2, Wt: 250, Age: 27, Exp: 5

Career: Hillis was originally drafted by the Broncos in 2008 but made a name for himself as a member of the Browns, thanks to his bruising running style. In 2011. he ran for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns. He signed with the Chiefs in 2012, but was largely ineffective, picking up only 309 yards and one touchdown.

Fit: Kelly has not spoken publicly about the fullback position, but Hillis is an interesting option. He would provide a physical lead blocker who could also carry the football. But would Hillis get enough carries to make him happy? With the depth the Eagles have at running back, it’s unlikely.

2. James Casey, Houston - Ht: 6-3, Wt: 240, Age: 28, Exp: 4

Career: Casey has been the Texans’ starting fullback since 2011 and has proven to be a versatile weapon. Last season he lined up as a tight end and slot receiver, catching 34 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns.

Fit: A player with Casey’s versatility will always be in demand. If he is willing to leave Houston, would Kelly consider using Casey over Stanley Havili or Emil Igwenagu? All three appear to have a similar skill set.

3. Jerome Felton, Minnesota - Ht: 6-0, Wt: 248, Age: 26, Exp: 5

Career: Felton was originally drafted by the Lions in 2008 and spent time with the Panthers and Colts before joining the Vikings in 2012. Last season he enjoyed a career year, blocking for a dominant Adrian Peterson en route to Felton’s first Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection.

Fit: The Vikings are reportedly working to sign Felton before the beginning of free agency. It’s not likely Minnesota lets him go.

4. Darrel Young, Washington - Ht: 5-11, Wt: 251, Age: 25, Exp: 4

Career: The Redskins signed Young as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2009. A converted linebacker, Young became the starting fullback in 2011. He finished last season with eight catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Young was named the fifth-best fullback in the league by ProFootballFocus.

Fit: The Redskins are over the cap, so re-signing Young may be a challenge. Young could be brought in to challenge for a starting role.

5. Greg Jones, Jacksonville - Ht: 6-1, Wt: 265, Age: 31, Exp: 8

Career: Jones has spent the entirety of his eight-year career with the Jaguars, helping pave the way for runners like Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. Last season he caught 11 passes for 64 yards.

Fit: At 31, Jones doesn’t fit the youth movement it appears Kelly is focused on. But at the right price, Jones could potentially be a nice complement for the Eagles’ young running backs.

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