What’s the NFL offseason without some speculation? Vasilios here, with another list of free agents that the Ravens could target starting on March 13, and this time, I’m narrowing it down to strictly running backs.
John Harbaugh is confident in incumbent starter Gus Edward’s ability to build off his rookie campaign but expressed his desire to add competition leading up to and in training camp.
Here are some potential targets:
— Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings
After serving as the bridge running back in Minnesota for third year back Dalvin Cook, Murray would want a fresh start somewhere. In terms of age, he’s not exactly a game-breaker anymore, but he offers a speed/power combination that is rare in the NFL. Murray compiled 1,420 yards and 14 touchdowns in the last two years, while starting only 18 games in that span. The Ravens could kick the tires and see if he can be a difference maker for them. As for Murray, we could see him trade in one shade of purple for another.
— Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons
Coleman made an appearance in one of my other lists from last month as one of the top offensive free agents the Ravens could look at, so it’s only natural that he ends up here as well. Here’s an excerpt from that article: “The Ravens haven’t had a true home run hitter in the backfield since Ray Rice, and even he wasn’t that explosive. Coleman would certainly alleviate that issue, not just on the ground, but in the passing game as well. The Ravens saw some success with backs like Buck Allen and Ty Montgomery, and adding a swiss-army knife back with serious speed would be a boon to the offense. He’s coming off his best season in terms of rushing yardage, an even 800 yards and four touchdowns, adding 276 yards and five touchdowns receiving. If the Ravens line can make lanes for Coleman, he could form quite the speedy duo with Lamar Jackson.”
— Ameer Abdullah, Minnesota Vikings
Once thought to be the defibrillator needed to revive the long unresponsive Detroit Lions ground game, Abdullah has been rather disappointing four years in. He became a Viking only a few games into the 2018 season and only caught one ball for 10 yards. I’m sure you’re thinking “then why in God’s name is he on this list?”, but I assure you, he could very well find career resurgence here in Baltimore. The threat of Lamar Jackson running didn’t only improve the play of the offensive line but allowed the contributing running backs to be more productive, and if Abdullah can take advantage of that, there’s no reason he can’t succeed.
— Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs
After the emergence of Damien Williams in 2018, Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West became expendable. More people would probably be slightly more familiar with Ware, who is talented in his own right, but West has a skillset that would be very valuable in the Ravens backfield: speed. On West’s pro day in 2014, he ran a blazing 4.27 40-yard dash, and at only 27 with limited tread on the tires, it’s likely he still has some semblance of that ability. His best season came in 2015 when he totaled 634 yards and nine touchdowns from scrimmage, including one against the Ravens. The Ravens had a workout with West late in the 2018 campaign, but he ended up returning to the Chiefs after Kareem Hunt was released.
— LeVeon Bell, Pittsburgh
Look, we all knew this was going to be number five, it was either this guy or Zach Zenner. I’m not a fan of entertaining the idea, but if the Ravens can get a team-friendly deal with an opt out, I would be more inclined to listen. We all know what Bell can do, this is just here as a courtesy.