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Chiefs, Ravens Could Land Former Chargers Free Agent

The Los Angeles Chargers are unlikely to re-sign running back Joshua Kelley and the free agent could join either the Ravens or the Chiefs.
Joshua Kelley Free Agent

Los Angeles Chargers first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh wants to build around the run game, and it appears he’ll do it without free agent Joshua Kelley. A fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the UCLA product spent the majority of the past four seasons as the primary backup to Austin Ekeler. While he had a few chances to start over the years, the running back never managed to establish himself as anything more than a backup-caliber player. Appearing in 54 games, Kelly has accumulated 1,148 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 320 carries (3.6 yards per carry) to go along with 50 receptions for 319 yards.

These numbers are nothing to write home about, but Kelley proved he can be a reliable backup as both a runner and a receiver. Seeing as Harbaugh already brought in Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins as free agents, it’s safe to assume he won’t re-sign Joshua Kelley. While the Chargers might be done with him, the running back could find a home with two of the NFL’s elite organizations in the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens.

Chiefs, Ravens Could Pursue Free Agent Joshua Kelley

Joshua Kelly would not be the best running back on either roster, but the free agent could provide some much-needed depth to two teams with realistic Lombardi chances. Overcoming his seventh-round draft capital, Isiah Pacheco has established himself as a starting-caliber back, leading the rushing attack for two consecutive Super Bowl rosters. While Kansas City should feel fine with him taking command of the backfield for the third straight season, they should not feel comfortable with the rest of the depth chart.

Former first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire is back for another season, but the LSU product has disappointed since entering the league. Edwards-Helaire has proven time and time again that he doesn’t have what it takes to consistently play in the NFL, and the Chiefs would be in serious trouble if injuries forced him to handle starting duties. Seeing as Keaontay Ingram and Deneric Prince are equally underwhelming, Joshua Kelly could be the perfect free agent to bolster this rushing attack. Kansas City will always go as far as Patrick Mahomes can bring them, but their rushing attack cannot be an active liability.

Derrick Henry’s Plan B

After watching running backs drop like flies for the past few seasons, Baltimore decided to invest in the most broken and durable running back in the league. Derrick Henry can handle a ridiculous amount of physical punishment and should thrive in Baltimore, but he can’t handle every single snap. With Dobbins and Edwards both on the Chargers, somebody must step up as a reliable backup, and Joshua Kelly might be the best free agent option for the cash-strapped Ravens.

In a perfect world, Keaton Mitchell could be the perfect lightning to Henry’s thunder. The undrafted free agent had a few weeks of greatness as a rookie but is still recovering from a season-ending knee injury. Justice Hill proved he can handle some work last year, but Joshua Kelly can provide some competition as a free agent. Even if he’s nothing mroe than a short-term fix, he should run better with defenses focusing their attention on Lamar Jackson’s game-breaking ability.

Main Photo: Kiyoshi Mio – USA Today Sports


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