NFL free agents 2023: Ranking top 10 running backs originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
There is no shortage of serviceable NFL running backs set to become available in free agency.
New York Giants star Saquon Barkley headlines an impressive list that also includes 2022 rushing champion Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders and Dallas Cowboys dual-threat Tony Pollard. New England Patriots running back Damien Harris also is expected to hit the market after an injury-plagued campaign.
2023 NFL free agents: Top 25 overall | QB | WR | TE
There are more big names where that came from. Here's a look at the top 10 running backs set to become free agents in March.
10. Dont'a Foreman
2022 stats (Panthers): 203 carries, 914 yards, 5 TD
Foreman had a career year with Carolina following the departure of Christian McCaffrey. He isn't much of a threat in the passing game, but he still tallied 940 yards from scrimmage to set himself up for a solid payday this spring.
2022 stats (Bills): 177 carries, 819 yards, 5 TD; 38 catches, 280 yards, 1 TD
Singletary topped 1,000 yards from scrimmage for the second consecutive season despite Buffalo drafting James Cook in the second round. He's a solid dual-threat back who can thrive in the right offense.
8. Damien Harris
2022 stats (Patriots): 106 carries, 462 yards, 5 TD (11 games)
Injuries were an issue for Harris throughout the 2022 season. That led to Rhamondre Stevenson taking over as the starter in the Patriots backfield, and that should be the case going forward in Foxboro. While his time in New England might be over, Harris' should find a consistent role somewhere else in 2023.
7 . Kareem Hunt
2022 stats (Browns): 123 carries, 468 yards, 3 TD; 35 catches, 210 yards, 1 TD
Hunt was more of a pass-catching back in Cleveland with Nick Chubb leading the backfield. It'll be interesting to see whether he can regain his Kansas City Chiefs form (1,327 rushing yards in 2017), with a change of scenery.
2022 stats (Lions): 262 carries, 1,066 yards, 17 TD
Jamaal Williams was a big reason the Detroit Lions were able to exceed expectations and flirt with a playoff spot in 2022. He eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards for the first time in his career and broke Barry Sanders' franchise rushing TD record with 17. Seems like a good way to finish a contract year.
2022 stats (Bears): 201 carries, 801 yards, 5 TD; 34 catches, 316 yards, 1 TD
Montgomery hasn't been the most efficient rusher over the last two seasons, but his ability to do damage in both the running and passing game makes him a valuable asset for any offense. He was a 1,000-yard rusher in 2020 and could have a similar season in 2023 in the right situation.
2022 stats (Eagles): 259 carries, 1,269 yards, 11 TD
It was a bounce-back year for Sanders as he shattered the 1,000 rushing yards milestone while adding a career-high 11 TDs and earning his first Pro Bowl nod. Oddly enough, he hasn't been relevant in the passing game since his stellar rookie year, but perhaps he could reprise that dual-threat role in a different offense.
3. Tony Pollard
2022 stats (Cowboys): 193 carries, 1,007 yards, 9 TD; 39 catches, 371 yards, 3 TD
Even with veteran Cowboys back Ezekiel Elliott stealing snaps, Pollard put himself on the map as one of the game's most dynamic RBs in 2022. It was a career year for the 26-year-old as he set personal bests in rushing yards, touchdowns, and receiving yards. Dallas should look to lock him up to a long-term deal ASAP.
2. Josh Jacobs
2022 stats (Raiders): 340 carries, 1,653 yards, 12 TD; 53 catches, 400 yards
Josh Jacobs exploded in his first season in Josh McDaniels' offense with nearly 2,000 total yards from scrimmage. The effort earned him his second Pro Bowl selection, a First-team All-Pro nod, and a chance to make a lot of money this offseason whether it be with the Raiders or another RB-needy club.
1. Saquon Barkley
2022 stats (Giants): 295 carries, 1,312 yards, 10 TD; 57 catches, 338 yards
Barkley entered the season with injury concerns, but he put those in the rearview mirror and played all 17 regular-season games in 2022. He's among the most dynamic, explosive running backs in the league and should be paid accordingly.