Knowshon Moreno will try to help the Denver Broncos claim their third ever title in Super Bowl 48 this coming Sunday, but that could very well be the last time he dons the blue and orange. According to Ian Rapoport via Twitter, the soon to be free agent running back is expected to price himself out of Denver, and will likely sign a long-term deal with a new team.
With Moreno almost surely on his way out, it’s time to ponder what teams might be the front-runners for his services. Let’s take a look at his top five potential landing spots and predict where he’ll finally go when it’s all said and done:
Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings are both free agents, so Oakland will undoubtedly be looking to add more talent at running back – whether via free agency or the draft. Early signs point to them letting McFadden walk and possibly bringing back Jennings, but with all the bad luck they’ve had at the position, they may want to protect themselves by adding a proven guy like Moreno. Then again, Moreno hasn’t had the best injury history, himself. On the flip-side, Moreno probably wouldn’t mind sticking in the AFC West, while the Raiders could benefit from having a former Bronco.
The whispers have been more about Cleveland having their eyes on Ben Tate in free agency, but perhaps Moreno will come at a cheaper price. Moreno is still fairly young and would certainly be an upgrade over the crop of backs the Browns currently have. After trading away Trent Richardson in the middle of last season, Cleveland will be in the market for a new running back. It doesn’t hurt than Moreno has top notch versatility, either.
New England Patriots
LeGarrette Blount is a free agent and Stevan Ridley has had constant fumbling issues, but the biggest pull in New England might be offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels is the guy who originally drafted Moreno out of Georgia in the first round back in his first season as head coach of the Broncos. The need and familiarity could combine for the perfect fit.
New York Giants
David Wilson (neck) can’t be counted on and Andre Brown and Peyton Hillis are both hitting the open market. The G-Men were drowning on offense thanks to a shaky backfield last year, so they’ll need to do some work to make sure they’re set at the position. While Brown looks like a good bet to stay in the Big Apple, landing a more versatile weapon like Moreno might be a good move.
Rashard Mendenhall hits free agency, potentially opening the door to AZ adding some talent at running back. I tend to believe they’ll do this through the draft, especially considering Mendy was a free agent bust last year. With that said, Andre Ellington isn’t really built to carry the full load and Moreno has the experience and versatility to be a gem in Bruce Arians’ offense. It could be the ideal fit for a franchise trying to win now.
Ultimately, I think Moreno is going to one of three places – Oakland, New England or returning to Denver. I won’t rule out the possibility of some darkhorse teams like Atlanta, Cincinnati or even Tennessee, however.
Early whispers suggest the Raiders are in the early lead, but my guess is the tie to McDaniels will end up meaning more than we think. Look for Moreno to latch on with the Patriots. That gets Moreno paid, gets New England an upgrade at running back, and even allows Moreno to keep playing on a winning team.
Think Moreno is headed somewhere else? Let me hear it in the comments below!