Despite having what one might consider a breakout season, the Denver Broncos aren’t very likely to re-sign running back Knowshon Moreno not because of his ability, but because of his injury and history and the financial mathematics.
According to some estimates, Moreno will command a market value of around $4 million a season. Entering his sixth NFL season (he’ll be 27 when the next one begins) and playing the full-16 game schedule only twice in his career, it’s easy to understand why the Broncos, or other teams, might be slightly apprehensive when it comes to giving him a big contract with plenty of years on it in a position that players in it fade away faster than anyone else in the NFL.
We’ll see how things flesh out. We have some young backs; it’s a position we have a lot of good competition.
John Elway didn’t just say that. The Broncos need their cap space, and will rather take their chances on Montee Ball (559 yards on 120 attempts), Ronnie Hillman (218 yards, 55 attempts) and C.J. Anderson; all younger players, with Ball looking like someone who might not have too much of a problem taking over a #1 back’s duties, with Hillman quite capable of assisting him.
And it’s not like Moreno had a year that it’s impossible to ignore. He did finish the season with 1,586 combined yards, 13 touchdowns and 60 receptions, but the Peyton Manning effect might have something to do with it, and that’s something the Broncos (and other teams on the market for a free agent) will take a look at.
It comes down to the maths. Moreno averaged 4.3 yards per carry last season, rushing 241 times for 1038 yards and 10 touchdowns. For the money they’ll potentially be paying him if he gets the deal he wants, the Broncos can do better in other places on the field, while get the same kind of production from their younger and cheaper running backs.