The Chiefs all-time leading rusher will find himself in a uniform in 2017 if he decides to return to the league after a second straight injury-shortened season.
In a move that many expected, but Chiefs fans probably didn’t want to happen, Jamaal Charles was released by the team on Tuesday morning. The writing had been on the wall since Kansas City signed fellow backs Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware to extensions last offseason.
Having just turned 30, the league’s all-time leader in average yards per carry will have a harder time than one might think finding a home with his injury history.
With a talent like Charles, however, plenty of teams are bound to kick the tires and see if he’s worth signing. An incentive-laden, low guarantee money deal is what he’ll probably wind up having to settle for unless a team falls in love with him.
Here are a few potential landing spots for the veteran back:
Doesn’t it seem like Cleveland always tops these kind of lists when it comes to offensive skill players? Nonetheless, a presence like Charles at running back would be an upgrade to the likes of Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson, even if he only plays two downs. Having a running and receiving threat may also help take pressure off the Browns’ quarterback, whoever that poor soul may be.
New Orleans Saints-
Talk about a one-two punch the Saints could have with a healthy Mark Ingram and a healthy Jamaal Charles at the same time. The pair would make for a great compliment with Ingram trying to bowl people over and Charles finessing his way around them. And while Ingram has improved his receiving game, I’m sure Drew Brees would love having a pass-catching back like Charles beside him in the backfield.
This choice may be too obvious, but it’s a likely match and one that makes perfect sense. Doug Pederson was Charles’ offensive coordinator in Kansas City for three seasons prior to taking over in Philly. The pair know each other, and Charles would be an upgrade over Ryan Mathews in the backfield with complimentary backs Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood.
Bonus longshot pick:
New England Patriots-
No team scrounges around looking for players who are recovering from injury or other circumstances who need a cheap “prove-it” deal better than New England. They won’t necessarily need a back if they re-sign Legarrette Blount, and Charles is a totally different back than he is, but don’t put it past Belichick. They could sign Charles at a discount and be able to sign a cheap workhorse back option to fill the void if Blount doesn’t return.