Within the last week, two big-name running backs were traded with Christian McCaffrey going across the country to San Francisco and James Robinson heading up the East Coast to the New York Jets.
The McCaffrey trade came after the firing of head coach Matt Rhule, with the Carolina Panthers getting a host of picks in return for the dual-threat running back. The question now is how his impact will be felt in Kyle Shanahan's talented offense.
The Jets traded for Robinson this week after losing breakout rookie Breece Hall to a season-ending knee injury in Sunday's win over Denver. Robinson, who was playing second fiddle to Travis Etienne in Jacksonville, will pair with Michael Carter in the Jets' backfield.
With the Nov. 1 trade deadline just around the corner, I'm looking at four other NFL teams that should make a deal for a running back before the deadline, pairing each team with a trade candidate.
The Ravens put JK Dobbins back on IR after just four games, leaving the Ravens backfield with Gus Edwards, Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill. Edwards scored 2 TDs on Sunday, his first game of the season, and Drake has been good at times but is too inconsistent. Making a trade for David Montgomery, who's splitting carries with Khalil Herbert in Chicago, would give Baltimore a big boost. Montgomery is a downhill, tackle-breaking running back, much like Dobbins, and would add another wrinkle to the Ravens' run-first offense. Though Montgomery isn't used heavily as a receiving option in Chicago, he could pair well with Lamar Jackson as an every-down workhorse or provide the Ravens with a solid option in short-yardage situations.
UPDATE: Edwards, who was dealing with a knee issue going into the Ravens' Thursday night win over the Bucs, exited the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury after rushing for 65 yards on 11 carries.
Josh Allen leads the Bills in rushing yards and rush TDs despite having 10 fewer attempts than Devin Singletary. The Bills have searched far and wide in the draft for a running back who'll provide balance to their offense but to no avail. Akers, who's been limited with the Rams after having philosophical and football-related differences with coach Sean McVay, could be that guy with a fresh start. He has a similar running style to rookie James Cook but will bring a veteran presence and Super Bowl-winning pedigree to the offense.
The Rams are shopping Cam Akers and were out-bid by division-rival San Francisco for Christian McCaffrey. The next-best option is Cleveland's Kareem Hunt, who requested a trade back in August. Hunt is averaging fewer than 10 carries per game with the Browns this season, with 66 totes for 263 yards and 3 rush TDs in 7 contests. He's also logged 15 catches for 87 yards and one TD. Hunt would provide the Rams an immediate and much-needed boost out of the backfield as a playmaking rusher between the tackles and elusive pass-catcher. He'd slide seamlessly into Sean McVay's offense.
Yes, that's right -- I see Hunt as a fit here, too. After losing Rashaad Penny for the season, the Seahawks could use more depth behind rookie sensation Kenneth Walker III. Seattle has been punching above its weight this season and needs a one-two punch in the backfield to help the NFL's fifth-ranked scoring offense continue playing at a high level. Cam Akers would be a perfect fit in offensive coordinator Shane Waldron's system, especially considering Waldron coached under Sean McVay for four seasons before going to Seattle, but I don't see L.A. trading within the division. So Hunt is the next option. He would fit well in this offensive scheme -- just like he would in Los Angeles.
Top 15 running backs
Former NFL rushing leader and NFL Network analyst Maurice Jones-Drew will survey all running backs and rank his top 15 each week of the 2022 season. His rankings are based on this season's efforts alone. Here is MJD's list heading into Week 8.
2022 stats: 7 games | 126 att | 740 rush yds | 5.9 ypc | 8 rush TD | 9 rec | 67 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
Chubb is the most consistent runner in the NFL and he leads the league in rush yards and rush TDs. The No. 1 spot in these rankings is still his to lose as we near the midway point of the season.
2022 stats: 7 games | 143 att | 726 rush yds | 5.1 ypc | 4 rush TD | 25 rec | 180 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
A 110-yard rushing performance in Jacksonville puts Barkley just 15(!) yards shy of the league lead. He's really putting the pressure on Chubb to maintain a high level of play.
2022 stats: 6 games | 111 att | 633 rush yds | 5.7 ypc | 6 rush TD | 20 rec | 141 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
"Houston, we have a problem, and it's Josh Jacobs." -- the Texans, probably
Jacobs has been on fire over his last three games, racking up 441 rush yards in that span, including 143 rush yards and 3 rush touchdowns against the Texans.
2022 stats: 6 games | 134 att | 536 rush yds | 4.0 ypc | 5 rush TD | 13 rec | 131 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
Henry came up big against the Colts with 30 carries for 128 yards. Next on the schedule is another division rival in the Texans, who rank dead last against the run. Henry's got to be licking his chops for this one.
2022 stats: 6 games | 106 att | 504 rush yds | 4.8 ypc | 3 rush TD | 17 rec | 82 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
Pierce impressively amassed 117 total yards in Sunday's loss to the Raiders, even with the Texans abandoning the run game down the stretch. The rookie might have a tough outing up next, though, against the Titans' fourth-best run defense. That said, I won't be surprised if he does well given he's been a weekly bright spot for Houston.
2022 stats: 7 games | 84 att | 380 rush yds | 4.5 ypc | 5 rush TD | 53 rec | 357 rec yds | 3 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
Am I getting a sense of déjà vu? Ekeler once again led the team in receptions Sunday after catching every ball thrown his way with 12 catches on as many targets, while scoring twice (one rush, one rec.). His production through the air has benefited largely from the injury bug hitting the Bolts' receiving corps.
2022 stats: 7 games | 93 att | 431 rush yds | 4.6 ypc | 2 rush TD | 35 rec | 301 rec yds | 1 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
For being on the 49ers for less than 48 hours, McCaffrey was pretty effective in his limited action in Sunday's loss to Kansas City, with 62 yards on 10 touches. I'm a little concerned with McCaffrey, the guy in Carolina, joining an offense with so many weapons. His production will most likely decline.
2022 stats: 6 games | 67 att | 411 rush yds | 6.1 ypc | 4 rush TD | 8 rec | 27 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
There's something special about this guy. His explosiveness -- on full display in his fourth-quarter, 74-yard touchdown run in Sunday's win -- has helped him surge in the rankings. Walker is a big reason the Seahawks sit atop the NFC West. What a wild time.
2022 stats: 7 games | 80 att | 463 rush yds | 5.8 ypc | 4 rush TD | 19 rec | 218 rec yds | 1 rec TD | 1 fumble lost
Hall was just what the Jets were looking for offensively and was most likely the front-runner for OROY. Before exiting Sunday's game with a season-ending knee injury, Hall had an explosive 62-yard touchdown run. Due to that injury, this will be Hall's final week in the rankings. It's so unfortunate, especially since the rookie sits 10th in the league in rush yards through Week 7.
2022 stats: 6 games | 105 att | 485 rush yds | 4.6 ypc | 4 rush TD | 11 rec | 42 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
Fresh off the bye week, Sanders and the Eagles face a middle-of-the-pack Steelers run defense that has lost star players to injury, including T.J. Watt. The NFL's eighth-leading rusher will need to show up against this feisty Steelers team to help the Eagles stay undefeated.
2022 stats: 6 games | 94 att | 450 rush yds | 4.8 ypc | 4 rush TD | 12 rec | 80 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 1 fumble lost
Like Sanders, Cook falls two spots during his bye week only because of brilliant performances from the pair of rookies, Walker and Hall. Cook now faces a Cardinals team that sports a top-10 run defense.
2022 stats: 7 games | 98 att | 487 rush yds | 5.0 ypc | 4 rush TD | 25 rec | 145 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
In a shocking Monday night outcome, the Patriots' offense could not get much going on the ground. However, Stevenson's effectiveness in the pass game allowed him to rake in 8 receptions (5 more than the next Patriots pass-catcher) to put him just 2 yards shy of 100 scrimmage yards.
2022 stats: 7 games | 78 att | 432 rush yds | 5.5 ypc | 1 rush TD | 26 rec | 176 rec yds | 3 rec TD | 1 fumble lost
If you took a look at the box score from this past week, you would think Aaron Jones was a receiver. He seems to be the only receiver Aaron Rodgers trusts nowadays. With no running game whatsoever in the loss to Washington, Jones reeled in two touchdowns through the air, including this leaping sideline grab.
2022 stats: 7 games | 68 att | 415 rush yds | 6.1 ypc | 1 rush TD | 14 rec | 151 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 1 fumble lost
The Jaguars have chosen to ride with Etienne in the backfield after trading James Robinson to the Jets. Etienne has been among the cream of the crop in terms of rushing effectiveness, averaging 6.1 yards per carry this season.
2022 stats: 7 games | 109 att | 443 rush yds | 4.1 ypc | 4 rush TD | 6 rec | 32 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
A household name has finally entered the rankings in Week 8. Dallas continues to feed Zeke no matter who's playing quarterback. Ranked sixth in carries, it won't be a surprise if the Cowboys' offense relies on Zeke even more as we near the second half of the season.
UPDATE: Elliott, who is dealing with a knee sprain, is not expected to play Sunday against the Chicago Bears, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday.
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