New York Jets: Free Agent and Draft Options at Running Back


Dec 7, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Jets running back

Chris Johnson

(21) catches a pass against the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

With Chris Johnson not getting his option picked up and Bilal Powell becoming an unrestricted free agent, the Jets suddenly have a need at the RB position.  Chris Ivory is undoubtedly the starter, but with the way he runs and the hits he gives and takes, the Jets will certainly have to pair him with a RB capable of handling a nice amount of touches going forward.

More from The Jet Press

The idea is to find the perfect RB that can complement Ivory adequately.  Jets have a lot of  money to spend this offseason so it’s very feasible that they decide to address the position in both free agency and the draft, just to make sure it’s solidified.  Hard to say, as it’s too early to tell either way, which way the Jets are leaning, but I have a few backs that I would like the see the Jets consider for various reasons.

Next: C.J. Spiller

Aug 16, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu (43) tackles Buffalo Bills running back CJ Spiller (28) during the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports


                                                                                                     –  FREE AGENCY –

CJ Spiller – Spiller has the option to become a free agent this offseason and all signs point to the Bills RB doing just that.  Spiller appeared in just nine games last season. A broken collarbone suffered vs the Vikings cost him seven games in the second half of the season leaving him with his lowest rushing total since his rookie season.  That aside, he should be healthy at this point and when healthy, Spiller is as explosive a RB as there is in this league at this point.

He would certainly compliment Chris Ivory’s tough, bruising style well and would be best suited to come in and put opposing defenses to bed after being battered to death by Ivory.  It’s hard to tell what Spiller would command in the open market considering his injury history, but he’s a special talent and his best days are ahead of him.  Jets need to make him a priority in my opinion.

Next: Shane Vereen

Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots running back

Shane Vereen

(34) runs the ball against Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker

Bobby Wagner

(54) during the second quarter in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Shane Vereen – Patriots running back Shane Vereen wasn’t utilized that much this past season with the Pats for various reasons.  Injuries, RB shuffle and other reasons caused Bill Belichick not to utilize the talented RB.  He’s only 25, has fresh legs and is very versatile.  He is a great in-between the tackle runner, and is an excellent pass catching, change of pace RB.  Like Spiller, he holds the necessary attributes to be a perfect complement to Ivory’s bruising running style.

Next: Cameron Artis-Payne

Auburn RB Cameron Artis-Payne is a sleeper RB prospect the Jets should keep an eye on.

                                                                                           – DRAFT OPTIONS – 

Cameron Artis-Payne, Auburn – 

I’ve been big on Auburn RB Cameron Artis-Payne for quite some time now.  He’s been solid thus far through off-season bowls/practices, showing off his versatility, toughness and pass catching ability.  He was given a solid workload last season in Gus Malzhan’s offense and held his own.  It’s too early to tell if he can become a starting RB in the league, but I can tell you right now, he’d fit perfectly in this Jets backfield as a compliment to Chris Ivory.

Next: Michael Dyer

Oct 30, 2014; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals running back

Michael Dyer

(5) stiff arms Florida State Seminoles linebacker

Reggie Northrup

(5) during the second quarter at Papa John

– Michael Dyer, Louisville – 

The former BCS National Championship MVP (Yes, THAT Michael Dyer), ended his college career at Louisville after starting it over four years ago at Auburn where he broke the Auburn freshman rushing record.  It wasn’t the ending to his career that he’d prefer, but it’s over and another one is seemingly about to begin.

Dyer is experienced, tough, fast, strong and hungry and would be looking to prove a lot of people wrong on the pro level and if drafted by the Jets, he certainly would get the touches and chance to do so.  I love his tenacity when he runs and I’ve always loved his versatility.  He’s solid blocker in the backfield and is very aware on the field.

Next: Matt Jones

Nov 22, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators running back

Matt Jones

(24) runs with the ball against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels during the second quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

– Matt Jones, RB, Florida

Last RB on the list, is a sleeper that has been underrated all off-season and mostly during the season, considering the season Florida had.  I really love the toughness with this kid and like the aforementioned RBs, and he has the attributes and ability to be a wonderful compliment to Chris Ivory.  Take a look at some highlights and see what I mean:

Next: Potential Free Agent Torrey Smith