Life isn't easy for free-agent running backs these days. Knowshon Moreno's 1,038 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns for the AFC champion Denver Broncos last season didn't appeal to teams for the first two-plus weeks of free agency, as he sat without a job like fellow free agent backs LeGarrette Blount, Maurice Jones-Drew and Andre Brown.
Miami took the plunge on Thursday, agreeing with Moreno on a one-year contract, according to multiple reports. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the deal is for about $3 million, a very low price for a starting back. Moreno will team with Lamar Miller, a young but inconsistent back who the Dolphins have shown no faith in.
On the other side of the country, the Broncos' lack of interest in Moreno shows a lot of faith in Montee Ball, a second-round pick last year who started slow but looked strong as the season went on. Ball struggled early on with the complex Broncos' offense, especially pass protection, which opened the door for the more reliable but less talented Moreno. Now Ball is the clear starter for a Broncos team that scored more than 600 points last season. Fantasy footballers will take note come draft time.
Moreno will get a chance to show that his success wasn't just a product of the Broncos' offense. Moreno will see a lot more stacked boxes in Miami and not have a quarterback who is adept at changing the play at the line of scrimmage into a successful run, so it will be a challenge. But if Moreno, whose 548 receiving yards last year show he can also help Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill as an outlet out of the backfield, has a big season he'll be able to hit the market again next year.
Being a free agent again might not be the best thing for Moreno, or any running back in this era of teams being unwilling to invest in any back outside of an elite few, but it seems like it was his best choice this time around.
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