Where should free agent running back Phillip Lindsay consider going this offseason?
By: Jeremy Trottier
With NFL Free Agency only two or so weeks away, a large portion of most fanbases are looking forward to where many of the huge name players go. This offseason we have players like Dak Prescott, Von Miller, Allen Robinson, and so many more on the move.
However, how about the role players of the league? How about players that bring something to a team that changes the whole dynamic of an offense without changing a scheme? That is what teams would be getting by signing Phillip Lindsay. In this article, I will be going over the five teams I believe would hugely benefit from bringing in this extremely fast running back.
The easiest way to establish a versatile offense is to first off start with a multi-faceted running back room. We saw it with both Super Bowl teams this year, with Tampa Bay having Ronald Jones, LeSean McCoy, and Leonard Fournette. On the other side, we saw Kansas City with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell.
The Jacksonville Jaguars already have an up and coming back in James Robinson, who has shown he can perform as a lead back at a high level. Adding a relatively cheap second speed option in Lindsay would make this a “Flash and Bash” type running back core, similar to many that are forming around the league.
Adding in the raw speed and agility of Lindsay would definitely take pressure off of Trevor Lawrence, who the Jags will likely draft with the #1 pick this year. It would give the rookie phenom an outlet out of the backfield that can get him positive yards almost any time he needs them, as well as a reliable player to hand the ball off to outside Robinson.
This dynamic under a new coach in Urban Meyer would be something to behold, as it is very similar to that of a college offense. Extremely explosive, and dynamic are the words of the day around the NFL landscape. Bringing in Lindsay would automatically give you both of those without a doubt.
With the Atlanta Falcons, we would likely more be looking at a need with this position rather than a want. After the signing of Todd Gurley this offseason, they should most definitely be looking to find a different option here. Ito Smith is not too bad, but could use company alongside him in a dual-back room.
The speed of Lindsay in this case would be put to fantastic use, as the Falcons passing game would open up the defense big time for him to run. The explosive back, who relies heavily on runs of 7+ yards or so, would absolutely thrive in this system no doubt. It would also be a relatively low risk high reward option for a team looking to find low price deals for high production players.
This one is probably the most interesting of the bunch, as they had a pretty solid performance this year from Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed. However they will also possibly be losing two depth backs in DeAndre Washington and Matt Breida to free agency.
Bringing in Phillip as a secondary or even possibly starting running back alongside Gaskin would actually be a solid one-two punch. Gaskin likely would end up being the number one back on the team provided the Dolphins do not draft someone else, so giving Tua Tagovailoa an outlet out of the backfield would benefit the team. Tua struggled a bit in his rookie year at times, so allowing him a playmaker out on screen plays may relieve some of his stress and prevent a horrible sophomore slump.
New York Giants
This will likely come as a surprise to many of you, as the Giants already have Saquon Barkley and will likely retain Wayne Gallman. On the other hand, the duo of Barkley and Lindsay may be one that Giants fans would salivate over for years to come.
First off and most importantly, they are pretty close to the same age, both of which being near their mid-twenties. So this would not only be a short term option, but if they both show up and perform well as a dual back system, this could be a long term playmaking backfield. With Daniel Jones constantly under duress due to the offense heavily relying upon passing offense when Barkley is out, Lindsay could fill in at times for Saquon if he needs time to recover and heal.
Another thing to note is that the Giants have very few receiving options that can really create separation. Having a backfield option that can get out to the side and give Jones a safety blanket of a throw would be fantastic for his development. It would teach him more about progressions and put a damper on having to run for his life constantly.
Green Bay Packers
Another pick out of left field for this list in a sense. However it makes sense once you delve into the logistics of why this would be a good signing.
Exhibit A, the Packers have three of their four rostered running backs hitting free agency this year. The big one being Aaron Jones, and who really knows if the Packers have the money to pay him. As well as Jamaal Williams and Tyler Ervin who are wishy washy on whether or not the Packers will retain them.
Here’s the fun part, A.J. Dillon, the rookie beast of a runner, will still be contracted through next season. If the Packers decide to let him develop and put him into the primary rusher spot, having Phillip as a speed demon out of the backfield would help him even more. Since Dillon is much more of a power and gap type rusher from what we have seen to date, Lindsay would be a stark contrast to that.
This signing for the Packers would do wonders if they really want to save some cap space for other positions. As weird as it sounds now, Aaron Jones could leave in free agency for more money or promise of more attempts. The Packers need to have a breakdown plan incase this scenario happens at one point or another in the offseason.