After suffering a season-ending knee injury last year, running back Willis McGahee has now been released by the Denver Broncos.
McGahee is entering his 11th season in the league and will be returning from his his second serious knee injury over his career.
He was first injured in the Miami Hurricanes' 31-24 overtime loss in the 2003 National Championship game to the Ohio State Buckeyes, but has shown little effect to that devastating knee injury. This injury was to the opposite knee, and not nearly as serious.
After missing his first season in the league recovering; McGahee has played in 130 regular season games where he has carried the ball 1,957 times for 8,097 yards, and 63 touchdowns. He also has 202 catches for 1,319 yards, and 5 touchdowns receiving out of the backfield.
This move does not come as a surprise to some since the Broncos drafted Montee Ball in the second round of this year's Draft. To go along with Ball the Broncos also have second-year back Ronnie Hillman, and veteran Lance Ball in camp fighting for carriers in a pass-heavy offense.
Over his career McGahee has played for the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, and the Broncos, so it will be interesting if he stays in the AFC or tries his luck for a Super Bowl with an NFC team. Either way, as long as he can come back from this latest setback, McGahee is still a dominant runner and proven leader.
Now that McGahee is a free agent, here are a few teams that could use the services that he brings to a team.
Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins seems like the best place for McGahee since he would be back in front of his friends and family in South Beach where he played his college ball with the Hurricanes. The Dolphins are also a team that needs a veteran back in their backfield now that Reggie Bush is with the Detroit Lions. He would also be the perfect back for rookie Mike Gillislee to learn the game from.
San Diego Chargers – The Chargers ranked 24th in the league last running the ball, and basically have been looking for stability in their backfield since LaDainian Tomlinson.
Other than the addition of Danny Woodhead, the Chargers have the same underachieving backs they had from a season ago. With the addition of McGahee and Woodhead, the Chargers might actually have a chance of making a playoff appearance this season.
New England Patriots – Why not? After all Bill Belichick did give Corey Dillon an opportunity on the back-side of his career, and it panned out pretty well. Besides, it's not like the Patriots have a dominant back in camp, and McGahee is an upgrade from LeGarrette Blount.
St. Louis Rams – The Rams are a team in need of a veteran back with leadership skills after losing Steven Jackson to the Atlanta Falcons during free agency. If Jeff Fisher had a back like McGahee in camp he would have the final piece to returning “The Greatest Show On Turf” to Rams fans after the rookie class he just put together.
Jacksonville Jaguars – With the availability of Maurice Jones-Drew in the air over his legal issues, the Jaguars should be rolling out a red carpet for McGahee welcoming him to camp. The Jaguars will also be without their top draft pick, receiver Justin Blackmon, for the first four games of the season due to his own legal issues.
This offense is in desperate need of a player with leadership abilities considering they do not even know who their starting quarterback will be September 8th when they kick the season off against the Kansas City Chiefs. At least with McGahee in camp they would not have to decide on a weekly basis who to start at running back.
New Orleans Saints – The Saints are coming off a season where they had the top ranked passing offense, and the 25th ranked rushing attack.
If the Saints ever plan on getting back to the Super Bowl again they need a running back with the same game intensity as Reggie Bush. So far over his career all Mark Ingram has produced are a bunch of wasted tweets with false promises on twitter.
Indianapolis Colts – The Colts are a team like the Saints that had an explosive passing attack, but lacked the ability to sustain drives due to not having a rushing attack. With Vick Ballard as the featured back it is hard to imagine the Colts running any better than they did last season.
With McGahee and Ballard in the backfield, the Colts could possibly have one of the top rushing attacks in the league. It's better to have two backs that will get you 1,600 yards versus multiple backs that will get you 1,200 yards like head coach Chuck Pagano has in camp now.
Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers are a team in desperate need of a running game after finishing the season with an 8-8 record a year ago.
Head coach Mike Tomlin did the right thing when he drafted Le'Veon Bell to replace Rashard Mendenhall, but is starting a rookie the right route to take?
With McGahee in camp, Bell would have a teacher to show him the ropes of being a successful featured back instead of being fed to the wolves right off the bat.
Either way it goes the team that ends up with McGahee will be getting not only a top rusher, but a leader on the field and in the locker room. In the right system it's even possible that McGahee could rush for over a 1,000 yards this season.
When McGahee does land on a team look for him to carry the ball 217 times for 892 yards, and ten touchdowns this season.