Former Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy has moved onto Seattle, leaving the Packers’ backfield situation as a bit of a mystery.
Green Bay also released backup running back James Starks earlier in the offseason, so converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery and fullback Aaron Ripkowski are the two main rushing options left on the roster.
Head coach Mike McCarthy has said Montgomery will continue to receive plenty of carries going forward, but his slender frame and solid pass-catching abilities mean the Packers are likely to go out and bring in another option. Here are several free agent running back options still available.
Peterson was recently released by the Minnesota Vikings as they looked to clear salary cap space. Peterson missed almost all of 2016 with a knee injury, and turns 32 later this month. No one really knows how much he has left in the tank, but if Green Bay can pick up Peterson on a favorable deal, the Packers could have a pretty explosive offensive trio with Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, and Peterson.
Murray isn’t an every down back (he split time last year in Oakland), but that might make him a perfect fit with Montgomery. Murray could handle short-yardage and obvious running situations, while Montgomery would be more of the third-down receiving back. Murray punched in 12 touchdowns last season; the Packers as a team had 11.
Blount rushed for a career-high 1,161 yards last year in New England, but that came on just 3.9 yards per carry, the second-worst mark of his career. Still, Blount is a bowling ball in the backfield, and his fit as a short-yardage back would pair well with Montgomery’s skill set.
Crowell fell just short of 1,000 yards last year, but he did so on nearly five yards per carry. At just 24 years old, and coming off four one hundred yard games, he certainly fits the Packers’ age and talent plan for free agents. Crowell does come with some off-the-field issues (in July, he posted an Instagram photo of a person dressed in black slitting the throat of a police officer) that Green Bay would have to thoroughly vet, but the on-field talent is definitely there.
Charles was one of the most talented backs in the league when healthy, but a second ACL tear in 2015 sapped much of his explosiveness. Charles briefly returned for three games in October last year, but then missed the rest of the season with injuries. If Charles was even 80 percent of what he was at his peak, then he would be a worthwhile signing for the Packers. But at age 30, with his injury history, he might not be able to reach that mark. Charles would have to take a bargain-bin contract for the Packers to have any interest.
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