Best Available RBs & WRs in NFL Free Agency

By Ha Kung Wong

Twitter: @FBGarbageTime

NFL free agency has been in full swing for about a month, and the NFL Draft is about a month away on April 28th.  We covered best available players earlier this month and kept you apprised with updates, discussed it on our podcast and even had our pseudo-Trump rant about it, but isn’t about time we take a look at who we think are the best running backs and wide receivers left and what they’ve been up to?  Sure it is!

Running Backs

The best available RBs left in free agency:

  1. Arian Foster
  2. LeGarrette Blount
  3. Tim Hightower
  4. Ronnie Hillman
  5. Pierre Thomas
  6. Travaris Cadet

UPDATES

  • The last from Arian Foster was he was taking his time until after the draft to figure out where he should go.  At least, according to his brother, Fosters rehab from his Achilles injury is going well, so he could be a steal for a team that misses at RB during the draft, or needs a veteran presence.
  • We did get this minor tidbit though, that Foster doesn’t intend to sign any contracts until he’s completely healthy, so it may be awhile before we see any serious activity.

  • Turns out that Foster visited with the Miami Dolphins on March 29 and left without a contract.  This is not an unexpected result, in light of Foster’s previous comments concerning signing after he’s healthy, and the Dolphins considering whether Jay Ajayi is sufficient at RB, or whether a strong backup is necessary.

  • LaGarrette Blount was looking for a new deal with the Patriots, but at this point it doesn’t seem forthcoming.  At least his hip appears to be 100%, and with the free agent market thinning out, he should begin to pop up on team radars.
  • Tim Hightower had a resurgent year coming essentially off the proverbial couch to really give the Saints ground game a boost, but there’s been very little in terms on interest from teams during free agency, outside of the Saints.  But time keeps ticking, and all we know is that the Saints are still interested… and no one else is.

  • And now, on March 31, we have a report that Hightower is actually meeting with the Saints with the Saints still hoping to re-sign him.

  • Ronnie Hillman has had a very quiet offseason since his underwhelming performance in Super Bowl 50, where C.J. Anderson basically took 90% of the snaps.  But there’s some talk percolating now that the Packers may be interested.  Which would be strange seeing as how they re-signed James Starks and also have been looking forward to a post-P90X Eddie Lacy this upcoming season.

  • And on April 3, we get the update that the Broncos are indeed interested in bringing Hillman back, yet nothing has happened as of yet.

  • Much of Pierre Thomas‘ free agency has also been quiet.  Of course, he didn’t really have a full season in 2015, so there isn’t much for teams to get excited about.  But a veteran presence can be important, and he was very recently productive, so it’s not surprising that the Redskins still have him on their radar, particularly with Alfred Morris gone and Chris Thompson recovering from shoulder surgery.

Wide Receivers

The best available WRs left in free agency:

  1. Anquan Boldin
  2. James Jones
  3. Andre Johnson
  4. Roddy White

UPDATES

  • For being one of the most productive WRs over the last decade and having a strong year in 2015, it’s surprising that Anquan Boldin hasn’t had more suitors.  In fact, it’s a bit surprising that his own team hasn’t been that interested in signing him, seeing as how they have little to look forward to at the QB position this season so far.

  • The only recent development was from the Bills, and that was merely to indicate that Boldin wouldn’t likely be signed by them.

  • Boldin visited with the Redskins on March 29, which would be an interesting landing spot.  Not sure what role he would play with Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson also in play, but a little stability at WR doesn’t hurt.  Although there is the possibility that either Garcon or Jackson could still be released, it would make sense to provide as many weapons as possible for Kirk Cousins to be successful.

  • James Jones is another free agent with a quiet market.  Clearly, he wanted to go back to the Packers, as he obviously does much better with Aaron Rodgers behind center than anyone else, but it now appears that the feeling is not mutual, as the Packers have informed Jones that they have “no interest” in re-signing him.
  • Brandon LaFell has had an interesting ride.  After returning from injury, it was expected he would pick up where he left off as one of the top targets in the dangerous Patriots passing attack.  But several drops and generally unproductive games later, he’s became an afterthought, who was eventually cut from the team.  But around March 16, LaFell was brought in by the Bengals, and now it appears that they may be closing in on a deal.  This, of course, will be a good thing for both parties, as the Bengals have holes to fill after losing both Marvin Jones and Mohammad San in free agency.

  • And now, as of March 30, Brandon LaFell has signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.

  • Roddy White saw his production fall off drastically last year, and it’s still up in the air whether that was due to a declining skill set or his offensive coordinator.  At any rate, after being released by the Falcons, the only note was that the Buccaneers might be interested in him, but that was weeks ago.  Since then, it’s been radio silence.

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