The New York Jets have already lost one running back to free agency, so they’re going to be a bit more aggressive when trying to keep Bilal Powell, who is probably going to get offers from the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots.
Powell has done quite well in the last four seasons, used as a backup most of the time, getting 389 carries in 56 games with 16 starts. He rushed for 1588 yards and 7 touchdowns over that timespan, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. Like Chris Ivory, who ended up leaving and signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars after two good seasons in New York, Powell, who is 27 but without too much wear & tear on his body, the right team and the right number of opportunities could be his chance to show he can be a #1 back.
Powell was used quite often in the passing game last season as well, with 47 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns. He played in just 11 games to finish with 701 yards from scrimmage, but was on pace to have his best season since turning pro in 2011 when he came out of Louisville and was taken in the fourth round by the Jets. He signed a one-year, $2 million deal before last season, and is probably looking for a bit more money, but mostly promises to get touches and more than one year on his deal.
As usual with the Patriots, it’s wide open competition for the running back slot, although they’re not a run-heavy team in recent years. But Powell is good in the passing game which works out nicely. The same can be said of the Dallas Cowboys in terms of using the running back in their passing game, but if everyone is healthy, Powell should get enough touches running the ball as well. While Darren McFadden showed last season he can be a 1000-yard rusher, it’s hard to tell when he’ll breakdown again physically.
And the Baltimore Ravens? They have a previously 1000-yard rusher coming back from a serious injury, which could make it a clean slate for Powell to try and take over the #1 slot, or make it a running back by committee opportunity. Joe Flacco hasn’t been great since winning the Super Bowl, but had a nice connection with Ray Rice in the passing game, and that could work well with Powell as well if he’s signed.