This season proves folly of investing heavily in RBs
Posted: Tuesday November 13, 2007 3:27PM; Updated: Tuesday November 13, 2007 7:49PM
Did you notice the rushing leaderboard for Week 10? And did you notice the inactives last night for the Seahawks? There's a correlation. And the moral of the story is that running back is the last position I'd ever spend big free-agent money on if I ran an NFL franchise.
Check out the weekend's top five rushers, and how they entered the NFL:
1. Clinton Portis, Washington, second round.
Check out the Seattle inactives: Shaun Alexander, with knee and ankle injuries, and the weight of an eight-year, $62-million contract on his burdened shoulders.
Running backs are the curse of the NFL. Look at Chicago, which in the last 13 drafts has taken Rashaan Salaam, Curtis Enis and Cedric Benson in the first round and been disappointed by all three. Look at Arizona, which paid $7 million a year for Edgerrin James, 29, who's averaging 73 yards a Sunday as a Cardinal.
Parker, Chatman, Grant and Young are hungry. Downright starving, probably, after being stuck behind good backs like Jerome Bettis, Ronnie Brown and Tiki Barber. With the injuries that ravage teams every year, it's smart to have a good second and third back, but it's just as smart not to pay a first-teamer the big dough.
You can find guys on the NFL street to gain 1,200 yards for you. Happens every year. The lesson should ring out in every front office in the league over the next few years: Don't pay big money for a back who's been a star in the league. Instead, develop your own later-round finds. They come in all shapes and sizes.
MCNABB'S FUTURE. From Peter Hale of Woburn, Mass.: "Two quarterback-related questions: Any chance Donovan McNabb goes to Baltimore, and would it be a waste if the growing consensus proves true and Brian Billick isn't back next year?
My gut feeling is that if Andy Reid is back in Philadelphia -- and I believe strongly he will be -- McNabb likely will be elsewhere. My two favorite landing spots are Minnesota and Chicago because both are built to contend if they add an experienced starting quarterback. But Baltimore does make sense should Billick return because that coaching staff wouldn't be able to withstand the growing pains of a young quarterback. I think it's unlikely Billick will get fired, unless the Ravens have a complete meltdown in the last seven weeks of the season.