Arian Foster was set to make $6.5 million from the Houston Texans before his release on Thursday. He will have a hard time finding a team that will pay him that much money in 2016, but there should still be plenty of interest.
When we last saw Foster play significant snaps in 2014, he was undeniably one of the hardest-running players in the league. He topped 1,500 yards from scrimmage in only 13 games and is a rare complete back in a league short on them. Then again, his next team should realize that he would be better off used as a part-time player. Foster is 30 years old and has missed 23 of his last 40 games. A torn Achilles’ tendon is a very difficult injury for a running back to recover from at any age.
Signing Foster will be a gamble, but one that shouldn’t cost much. The extremely deep free agent market at running back and the upcoming draft could result in Foster sitting on the free agent market for a while. Doug Martin, Lamar Miller, Matt Forte and Chris Ivory figure to be higher priorities on the open market.
So what teams could be interested in Foster? Here are some landing spots that make sense:
Denver Broncos: Foster enjoyed his best seasons under former Texans coach Gary Kubiak, who has installed his zone blocking system in Denver. Foster has previously credited Kubiak for being the key figure in his career. With Ronnie Hillman headed for free agency, Foster could make for a perfect partner for C.J. Anderson with the Broncos. Foster’s pass-blocking skills would be especially useful while the Broncos presumably break in a new starting quarterback in Brock Osweiler. After the Broncos loaded up on defensive veterans a few years ago, signing a experienced name on offense makes sense.
Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has admitted that the team needs to find a running back to pair with Darren McFadden, if not displace him. Foster makes a lot of sense when looking at Dallas’ track record. He’s a perfect fit in Dallas’ zone blocking scheme, a superior version of McFadden. He’s also a big name who attracts headlines and starred for the Cowboys‘ in-state rivals. It would almost be a surprise if the Cowboys don’t make a play for Foster.
Seattle Seahawks: Like the other teams on this list, the Seahawks prefer runners who make one cut and go in a zone blocking scheme. Also like the other teams, they could use a veteran hand to stabilize a young position. Thomas Rawls is expected to take over as the team’s starter, but Foster would fit perfectly as a veteran to spell Rawls when necessary. Plus the Seahawks would be getting younger at the position; Foster is five years younger than last year’s fill-in Fred Jackson.
New England Patriots: Bill Belichick has talked up Foster in the past as an intelligent, versatile competitor. And the Patriots are practically starting over at running back with Dion Lewis coming off surgery as the only “sure thing” on the roster. Foster might not max out his money with New England, but he is the type of player the Patriots could use in an early down role. Then again, he might bristle at the team’s buttoned down organizational approach.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons are seemingly set at running back with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, so there isn’t a huge need there. But Foster played under coordinator Kyle Shanahan and would fit the scheme. This would be a longshot.