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What are the Jaguars going to do at running back?

Let’s take a look at available free agents

Washington Redskins v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars were thoroughly embarrassed by the upstart Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, losing 30-14. But in addition to the loss on the field, the Jaguars took another hit as running back Corey Grant is likely to miss the remainder of the season with a Lisfranc (foot) injury.

Grant, while not an every down player, is an important player in an already thin running back group. With starter Leonard Fournette dealing with a hamstring injury that has kept him out for the majority of the season, things look bleak there.

Jacksonville was extremely lucky on the injury front in 2017, but that has not been the case in 2018. Grant is the third key player the Jaguars have lost for the season (joining wide receiver Marqise Lee and left tackle Cam Robinson). In addition to the players out for the season, several other players such as the aforementioned Fournette, D.J. Hayden, A.J. Cann, Brandon Linder, Calais Campbell and Austin Seferian-Jenkins have been dealing with with injuries in varying degrees throughout the season.

T.J. Yeldon, who has been dealing with an ankle injury of his own, has actually played quite well as the lead back, but it is down to him and Brandon Wilds on the active roster. With Fournette expected to miss at least one more week (and probably more), it would be wise for the Jaguars to take a look at a few free agents.

Last week, the Jaguars worked out former New York Giants running back Orleans Darkwa and former Cleveland Browns running back Matt Dayes. No deals came out of those two workouts, but if the Jaguars liked what they saw, they may feel compelled to sign one of the tailbacks.

Here are a few more running backs available, according to Spotrac:

Mike Gillislee:

Arguably the best option on the free agent market right now, Gillislee has totaled 1,291 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, while averaging 4.7 yards per carry in his career. He has also caught 17 balls for 103 yards and an additional score. Gillislee has spent time with the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and, most recently, the New Orleans Saints who cut him this weekend to activate Mark Ingram. Gillislee could be a good addition in the backfield, but the Patriots are reportedly interested in re-signing him.

Shane Vereen

More of a pass-catching threat, Vereen may be a guy who can play a similar role to Grant, but with less speed. In 79 career games, Vereen has nearly 1,500 rushing yards. He has never surpassed 400 yards in a season, but he has scored eight career touchdowns on the ground and averages 4.2 yards per attempt. He does damage in the passing game, however, nabbing 221 career catches for 1,865 yards and 11 touchdowns. Vereen has four different seasons where he has at least 44 receptions, including a career high 59 catches in 2015.

Jamaal Charles

The Chiefs’ all-time leading rusher is easily the most productive free agent available. Charles has totaled 7,556 rushing yards (5.3 YPC) and 44 touchdowns, while also catching more than 300 passes for 2586 and 20 more scores. But he turns 32-years-old in December and isn’t the player he once was. Charles played for the Denver Broncos in 2017, amassing 419 total yards and one score in 14 games. Charles thinks he can still play, and was frustrated with his usage in Denver. In reality, he is likely a washed-up running back who wouldn’t offer the Jaguars a whole lot (but the Jaguars are going to give him a chance)

Terrance West

At 27-yards-old, West may still have some good football left. West averages just 3.9 yards per carry in his career, though, and isn’t a huge threat in the passing game. He did have 34 receptions in 2016, but hasn’t caught more than 11 balls in any other season. Running the ball, West had a career high 774 yards in 2015 with the Baltimore Ravens and has totaled 1,816 career yards and found the end zone 11 times. He isn’t going to be a bell cow back by any means, but may be worth a look for depth purposes.

Eddie Lacy

Lacy is a free agent for a reason. Lacy has garnered 3,614 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground. He also has 107 career catches for 947 yards and six additional scores. But his numbers are top heavy. After starting his career with back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons, he hasn’t rushed for more than 758 yards since then, and has not eclipsed more than 360 yards in a season since 2015. Now at 28-years-old, and as a guy who’s physical shape has been in question at times, I doubt he’s the answer for Jacksonville’s backfield.

Other options include Danny Woodhead, Lance Dunbar, Andre Ellington, Branden Oliver, and C.J. Spiller, amongst others.

It’s not a very inspiring group, and the Jaguars need to figure out which players fit best into the offensive scheme, but the Jaguars need help in the backfield. Jacksonville can also look to practice squad players on other teams. A trade is another possibility, but doesn’t seem likely. We’ll keep our eyes peeled to see how this situation shakes out. Follow along for updates.

Would you like to see any of these players in a Jaguars uniform, or is there a player I missed? Discuss in the comments section.

Updates, 10/9:

Updates, 10/11: