With Shonn Greene expected to become an undrafted free agent, how will Ground and Pound try to replace him?
As many of you know, RB Shonn Greene will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. After a promising start to his career, Greene dominated in the postseason in both 2009 and 2010. Since then, when he's been given a starting role, Greene has struggled, only picking up steam in the second half of the 2011, and so far, 2012 season. Many of us have lamented his skill as a starting "bell cow" back, and recognize that his potential is, at best, a 1A/B back. He works best when he can slowly chip away at a defense with a significant number of carries. He will never be "the guy," a feature back, all season long.
Greene's limitations are well-known. He has limited vision, does not have breakaway speed, and struggles in both pass protection and as a receiver. Despite that, he is a competent back towards the end of games when defenses are worn down. The question for the New York Jets is if they should re-sign him, or look elsewhere.
The other backs on the team are Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight (and Kahlil Bell, but I'd be shocked if he's back next year). Powell has shown some, limited, promise this season, but also has shown nothing that he can be a bell cow either. McKnight, for whatever reason, is apparently disliked by this coaching staff, as they refuse to give him any meaningful number of carries, despite his playmaking potential. One significant hindrance to McKnight is his tendency to get injured. So, what should the Jets do this offseason?
The first thing that we can expect is that the team will draft a running back, no matter what. They've done this each of the past four years in the Rex Ryan Era, and there's no reason they'll stop now, especially with the limited guys now and the flux Greene's contract is in. We'll talk about running backs in the draft in later draft profiles, but it's worth mentioning briefly now.
The next thing is to consider bringing Greene back. I wouldn't be opposed to this, but only if Greene signs for barely above the minimum. He's just not good enough to warrant a big contract, and considering how cash-strapped this team is, they can't afford to dish out much to a guy that's as limited as Greene.
Let's say the Jets don't bring Greene back. Who else is on the table? Well, here's a list of all free agent running backs. Looking at the list, I'm most interested in LeGarrette Blount, Rashard Mendenhall, and of course Danny Woodhead for unrestricted free agents. I doubt the Miami Dolphins let Reggie Bush get away. As for restricted free agents, I'd like the Jets to look at Chris Ivory, Rashad Jennings, and Kevin Smith. None of these players should be too expensive, and most have more potential than Greene.
My ideal scenario? Sign Ivory or Blount, draft Mike Gillislee from Florida, and let Powell and McKnight fight for the last spot. What do you think?