The 2016 NFL free agent class has a deep roster of running backs hitting the market, including players like Lamar Miller, Doug Martin, Chris Ivory, Matt Forte, Alfred Morris, James Starks, Stevan Ridley, Tim Hightower, LeGarrette Blount, Ronnie Hillman and Chris Johnson. Marshawn Lynch and Arian Foster also could join that group if they are released by the Seahawks and Texans this offseason.
The running back position is expected to be one of the top targets for teams this offseason with some solid players hitting the market. Miller, Forte and Martin could be the main players to get attention and they could get the ball rolling with contracts once they sign. All three players have the chance to be retained by their current teams, but there also is a very good chance at least two end up in different uniforms.
Forte is not expected to sign with the Bears, while Miller could potentially leave if he is offered more money from another team over the Dolphins. Miami has over $100 million committed to players for next season and if Miller has high demands, he could be out of range for Miami. Martin is reportedly already discussing a deal with the Buccaneer's and new head coach Dirk Koetter has said that he wants to keep Martin. The Jets likely will try to keep Chris Ivory after he had a productive season with the team, but he also could end up in a new uniform for next season.
Blount is coming off of a season ending injury and the Patriots could consider moving on to a different veteran running back. Players like Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch, Ivory and Foster could be appealing for Bill Belichick heading into next season. Miller should be one of the top targets on the market, as he is just 24 and does not have a ton of wear and tear on his body. Miller has only had over 200 carries once in his career and that could help him get a decent contract this offseason.
According to James Walker at ESPN, "scheme and fit" will be important factors for Miller with where he opts to sign for next season. Miller reportedly was unhappy at times this season with his use in Miami and that could be a factor in if he decides to re-sign. Miami has hired Adam Gase to take over as head coach and Miller could see himself as a better fit in that offense. Miami has Jay Ajayi as an option to start if Miller leaves and they also could target players like Hillman, Blount or Foster to replace him if he goes.
Martin is coming off of a strong season with over 1400 rushing yards and that was a big bounce back after he dealt with injuries and inconsistency over the previous two years. Martin could be a top target for teams on the market, but the Buccaneers are likely to push hard to retain him.