By: Kellen Rasmussen
With the first full week of NFL free agency wrapped up, it is time to start looking at where players have signed and what situation are they in. The focus of this list is players at skill positions other than QB since their value is so dependent on the roles they are plugged into in their new offense. Has their situation improved or are they now in a time share or a position battle with their new team? Below is a list of 7 position players that had good years last year, and could potentially be in line for a better year this year.
Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions WR
Marvin Jones is coming off of a nice season from the Cincinnati Bengals. Jones finished the season with 65rec, 816yds, and 4TD’s, numbers that he hopes to improve on in a Detroit offense that struggled to move the ball at times last year. Jones also comes in and fills a desperate need at wide receiver after the retirement of Calvin Johnson. Jones doesn’t draw the attention that Johnson did but he will come in with the ability to stretch the field and open things up for Detroit’s other offensive weapons (Ebron, Tate, Abdullah, and Riddick).
Chris Ivory, Jacksonville Jaguars RB
Jacksonville is getting a player at running back that they will be able to bring in right away on passing downs and help keep Blake Bortles standing up in the pocket. Ivory will also make an impact in the running game given the chance. With Denard Robinson and T.J. Yeldon being young and unproven, Ivory could find himself on the field more than expected this year helping a Jacksonville team that is trying to make a run at the division in the questionable AFC South. Ivory ended last season with 247 rush attempts, 1070yds and 7TD’s, all of which are career highs for Ivory.
Lamar Miller, Houston Texans RB
Miller makes the move to Houston to fill the hole in the backfield left by the aging and often ailing Arian Foster. Miller should step in and see the bulk of the workload right away. Miller had a bit of a down tick in numbers last year running the ball, ending the season with 194 rush attemps, 872yds, (4.49 per carry) and 8TD’s. He is, however, a serviceable option receiving the ball out of the back field as he had career numbers last year with 47rec, 397yds, and 2TD’s. If Miller can stay healthy he has a great chance to build on those numbers.
Ladarius Green, Pittsburgh Steelers TE
Always being number two to Antonio Gates, Ladarius Green has never had a chance to have sustained playing time in San Diego. With his move to Pittsburgh and the retirement of Heath Miller, Green should be in line for his best season by far. Green has shown signs of being a legitimate starting tight end in the NFL and will get the chance to prove it this year. With Ben Roethlisberger under center, a solid run game in place, and wide receivers that can stretch the field on the outside, Green could be in line for a big year. Last season: 37rec, 429yds, and 4TD’s
Mike Wallace, Baltimore Ravens WR
After a nearly nonexistent year with the Minnesota Vikings, Wallace was released by the Vikings more for the cap hit he would cause than his lack of production on the field, though they tend to go hand in hand for personnel decisions makers. After signing with the Baltimore Ravens he should be set up in an offense that plays more to his game as a whole. Wallace finished the season last year with 39rec, 479yds, and 2TD’s. Look for those numbers to trend up significantly this year with Joe Flacco as his QB and Breshad Perriman coming off of injury to complement him. Wallace could be in line for a sneaky good year in Baltimore and, similar to Marvin Jones, he can be a deep threat that helps other members of the offense – players like Steve Smith, Justin Forsett, even Buck Allen and whichever TE might emerge.
Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints TE
With the move from Indianapolis to New Orleans, Fleener could be in line for a big boost in production. With Drew Brees having a history of tight ends that put up big numbers Fleener, could be in line to return top 10 production at his position. He is coming off a season in which he had a career high in receptions (54) while only racking up 491yds and 3TDs. Fleener joins a Saints team that helped Benjamin Watson to his best year as a pro totaling 74rec, 825yds, and 6TDs. If you don’t get one of the top tight ends in your draft (ie. Gronkowski, Walker, Olsen) look to the later rounds of the draft and pick up a guy like Fleener who could surprise some people this year.
Alfred Morris, Dallas Cowboys RB
Dallas adds a pure runner to the backfield with the addition of Morris. With Darren McFadden, Robert Turbin and even Lance Dunbar on the roster it might be more of a RBBC situation in Dallas. Morris could be a good addition to a team that needs quality the depth at running back. Turbin has been far from a sure thing and McFadden is liable to go down with an injury at any time. Morris could find himself running with ease behind Dallas’s talented offensive line. Morris has the ability to be a 1000 yard rusher again in the right situation. Morris finished the season last year with 202 rushing attempts, 751yds, 1TD.
Do you agree with the list above? Disagree? Is there a name you feel should be on the list? Please post your comments on what players you think will benefit the most from their new home.