In yet another busy free agency in 2015, many NFL running backs made moves towards greener pastures. Whether it was for more money, a chance for more success or an attempt to keep their career alive. Here are the four that have a chance to make the biggest splash at their new team.
NFL Running Backs Who Can Make The Biggest Impact on Their New Team in 2015
DeMarco Murray (Philadelphia Eagles)
After leading the NFL in rushing yards last season DeMarco Murray emerged not only as an MVP candidate but also as an elite NFL running back. After failed contract negotiations between Murray and the Cowboys, he decided to move on. His choice of team, though, made huge headlines throughout the NFL. Murray chose the Philadelphia Eagles, the other team that was in the race for the NFC East title. Murray was a key part of the Cowboys offense last season, and the expectations on him will be high as he is replacing the NFL’s previous rushing champ, LeSean McCoy.
Murray may not have the same impact for the Eagles as he had for the Cowboys though. Dallas has the best offensive line in the NFL. The Cowboys invested heavily in that unit, and last season it finally paid off allowing Murray to have his best season yet. The Eagles offensive line is not nearly as strong as that of the Cowboys, and now he will be tested.
Before last season, Murray had struggles with both performance and injuries. If Murray has another big year, then he will prove himself as an elite running back, but if he struggles throughout the year on his new team, then we may find that his previous success was due to the team around him instead of himself.
LeSean McCoy (Buffalo Bills)
The Eagles shocked the NFL when they traded former rushing champ and star running back LeSean McCoy to the Bills for Kiko Alonso earlier this offseason. The trade seemed to come out of nowhere, and is just one of the seemingly questionable moves they made this offseason. McCoy went to Buffalo, and has since expressed displeasure with his time playing for Eagles coach Chip Kelly.
McCoy is now on a new team, and as many predict that his career is in a decline, he is going to have to prove that he can remain an elite running back despite the change in scenery. The Bills are an average team that can find themselves on the fringe of making the playoffs this season. Whether or not they do so may be decided by the success of the team’s new offensive star.
Darren McFadden (Dallas Cowboys)
Darren McFadden’s career so far has not lived up to expectations. After being drafted fourth overall by the Raiders in 2008, McFadden got off to an awful start. In his first two seasons he struggled with injuries, and failed to break the 500 yard mark in either year. In 2010 he finally had a decent season, rushing for over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns, marks which even today he has still not reached. McFadden also had never played a full season until 2014.
In Dallas he will be behind what is probably the best offensive line in the NFL. This will help him limit his injuries, allowing him to play more games, and will also allow him to get his career on track. Playing in one of the NFL’s most successful running schemes from the previous season should allow McFadden to set career highs in every category. But on the contrary, another disappointing season from McFadden could spell doom for his NFL career.
Trent Richardson (Oakland Raiders)
After the Indiannapolis Colts traded a first round pick for the Browns’ Trent Richardson, many felt that Cleveland had made a huge error. Richardson was drafted third overall the previous year, picked only behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. The Browns seemed to have the foresight that the rest of the NFL didn’t though, as Richardson became a huge let down for the Colts.
In his two seasons for the Colts, Richardson rushed for just over 500 yards in each, and only scored three touchdowns per season. Compared to his rookie year where he scored 11 touchdowns and nearly broke 1,000 yards, Richardson was not the player that the Colts thought that they were trading for.
Richardson now has a new chance on an Oakland Radiers team that has not been able to find the winning formula that can lead them back to glory in nearly a decade. They tried with McFadden, who managed to fail them year after year, and now try again with Richardson. The Raiders are not expected to do big things this season, but if Richardson has a big year, he has a chance to redeem himself. The pressure will be on for Richardson, as he has to find success for a franchise that has had trouble doing just that for years.