Arian Foster’s release from the Texans was expected with a salary of $6.5 million due for next season. Doug Martin, Matt Forte, Lamar Miller, and Chris Ivory being on the market could close doors for Foster. Coming off a season-ending Achilles injury the soon-to-be 30 year-old will have to prove he’s healthy before getting a deal. Running backs in this draft class also could potentially close doors on Foster. NFL teams often take the Hugh Hefner approach to running backs looking for newer, younger models. Potential suitors will be eliminated by drafting Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry. Foster has missed 23 games in 3 seasons and has no leverage in contract negotiations. If Foster wants to continue to play a short-term incentive laden deal is the most realistic option.
The resume is impressive with 4 Pro Bowl selections and 4 seasons over 1,200 yards. The yards per carry stat is one I look at in evaluating running backs. Foster at his peak in 2010 was at 4.9 yards per carry followed by 4.4 in 2011, 4.1 in 2012, 4.5 in 2013, 4.8 in 2014, and 2.6 thru 4 games in 2015. The YPC has gone down as the Texans offense has regressed. Foster came into the offense with Pro Bowl QB Matt Schaub at the helm. The Texans offensive ineptitude made life more difficult for Foster facing more guys in the box. With over 1,4oo NFL carries on his body, Foster is closer to the downside of his career instead of his peak.
The Broncos, Patriots, Seahawks, Cowboys, Dolphins, Bucs, and Titans all are projected to be in the market for running backs. Linking Foster to the Broncos makes sense with his former coach running the system that helped make him a star. The Patriots are often willing to give veteran players another chance. The Seahawks may want to add a veteran to help out their young RB’s. The Cowboys could look to add a compliment to Darren McFadden. The Dolphins and Bucs have free agents and young running backs ready to step up in place. The Titans have a backfield of quantity instead of quality. When will Foster be healthy enough to work out for teams? The timelines may not match up.
Foster depending on the situation could be valuable for fantasy owners. Expectations should be tempered as Foster isn’t the same player he was in 2010. Best case scenario Foster could be a committee back that sees the goal-line work providing some late round value for fantasy owners. Fantasy owners should track Foster’s progress and evaluate the situation he lands in this season. The team that signs Foster should dictate his value for fantasy owners.