The NFL free agent class for 2016 has some notable names at running back with Matt Forte, Lamar Miller, Arian Foster, Chris Ivory, Doug Martin, Alfred Morris, James Starks, LeGarrette Blount, Ronnie Hillman and Chris Johnson all set to hit the market.
There are a number of teams that could go after running backs this offseason, including the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins. The Lions, Chargers, Patriots, Colts and Raiders ranked in the bottom five in total rushing yards this past season and that could spark some moves this winter for those teams.
The Raiders have a ton of cap space to spend, while the 49ers, Buccaneers and Giants also have cap room and could look at running backs. Foster reportedly could be released by the Texans this offseason, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Lamar Miller could end up back in Miami with the Dolphins, but there is a chance that the team will let him go after drafting Jay Ajayi last year. Miller is coming off of a solid season and is just 24, but his price tag could be a bit much for the Dolphins, who have a lot of money committed for next season already. Miller is expected to be pursued by a number of teams, including the Cowboys and the Patriots. Miller had 872 yards in 16 games last season while averaging 4.5 yards per carry and the previous year he set a career high with 1099 yards for Miami.
The Bears are not expected to keep Matt Forte this offseason after not engaging in contract talks with the running back last year. Forte has been one of the most productive running backs in the NFL during his time in Chicago, but he is now 30 and is coming off of a season where he dealt with injuries and that could lead him elsewhere next season. Forte may not cash in with a huge deal, but he should be a top target on the market, as he has been extremely productive and has rarely been injured in his career. Forte went over 1000 total yards again this past season and in three of the past four seasons he has had at least 1000 yards rushing for the Bears.
The Buccaneers are reportedly already discussing a new contract with Doug Martin, but there is a chance that the running back could hit the market this offseason. Martin was second in the league in rushing this past season and according to the Tampa Bay Times, Martin could be in line for a contract around four years and $25 million. Martin is 27 and is coming off of his second best career performance after his rookie season back in 2012.
Martin dealt with injuries in between those two seasons, so it will be up to teams to decide if that was an aberration or if Martin is injury prone. Martin had over 1400 yards rushing last season and as a rookie.Chris Ivory, Alfred Morris, James Starks, LeGarrette Blount, Ronnie Hillman and Chris Johnson are also hitting the market and could be potential targets for teams.