Broncos could look into free agent running backs, per report; here’s what could be in their plans

The Denver Broncos finally have their quarterback situation settled after turning things over to 2019 second-round draft pick Drew Lock, but what about the future at running back? Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman seem like a young, capable duo that could hold down the backfield for years to come, but the Broncos are reportedly looking to upgrade at the position. According to Mike Klis of 9News, the Broncos are doing their due diligence on the potential free-agent crop of running backs. 

Both Lindsay and Freeman took small steps backward after relatively successful rookie campaigns in 2018. Lindsay put up 1,011 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in 2019 compared to his 1,037 rushing yards and nine touchdowns last year, while Freeman rushed for 496 yards and three touchdowns compared to his 521 yards and five touchdowns in 2018. Denver finished ranked No. 20 in the league when it came to rushing yards per game, averaging 103.9. The Broncos reportedly still want to give plenty of touches to Lindsay, but they want to bring in a back who can compliment him. That could leave Freeman on the outside looking in, and as someone who the Broncos could look to trade before the 2020 season.

There are a few star running backs hitting the market this offseason, such as Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans, Kenyan Drake of the Arizona Cardinals and Melvin Gordon of the Los Angeles Chargers. After leading the league in rushing yards and carrying the Titans to the AFC Championship game, it seems unlikely Tennessee would be willing to let Henry hit the open market. He’s expected to sign a new, lucrative deal or receive the franchise tag. Drake rushed for 643 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 5.2 yards per carry in eight games with the Cardinals this past season, and while Arizona wants him back for 2020 and beyond, it’s very possible he will be allowed to capitalize on the open market. The Broncos know plenty about Gordon, who has spent his entire career in the AFC West. He’s another back who is expecting big money this offseason, but as recent history indicates, teams should be hesitant when it comes to investing in the running back position. Other running backs the Broncos could consider are Jordan Howard of the Philadelphia Eagles and Carlos Hyde of the Houston Texans. 

While the Broncos will do their due diligence on the running backs hitting free agency, they will also take a look at some of the backs entering the NFL. According to Klis, the Broncos held official interviews during the NFL combine last week with J.K. Dobbins, Cam Akers, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and A.J. Dillon. It certainly would be cheaper to draft a running back instead of extending a proven one, but it sounds like the Broncos will explore all of their options this offseason. 

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