The courting of Arian Foster begins with the Miami Dolphins

Arian Foster is on the open market for the first time in his career. His first known visit occurred this past week when he headed to Miami. According to most reports, he left without even an offer.

The Miami Dolphins have had quite the interesting offseason. They continued to make mistakes in managing Lamar Miller‘s career, except this time instead of limiting his carries, they let him run his way to the Houston Texans for a relatively small contract compared to other starting running backs in today’s NFL.

They showed last season that they believed Jay Ajayi is their future at running back, which is absolutely fine, but anyone who has watched a game in the NFL over the past several seasons knows that it is no longer a one running back league.

Foster’s price is probably still very high, which is why the Dolphins likely allowed him to walk away and test the market. The soon-to-be 30-year old fading star will likely have to eventually humble himself and sign for a one-year “prove you can stay healthy” deal, so in one sense it is wise that the Dolphins let him walk away without even an offer. On the other hand, this team needs a running game and seems to be failing in getting one landed.

Sure they re-signed Daniel Thomas to back up Ajayi. Thomas, you may remember, was the guy who stole carries from a more deserving Miller and then fumbled them. They also signed Isaiah Pead. Pead, you may remember, is the colossal second-round bust of the Rams 2012 draft. He has spent more times suspended than in the end zone,  which isn’t that hard considering he has never scored an NFL touchdown. Combined, Thomas and Pead had two carries last season.

Foster is quite possibly the highest risk, highest reward signing this offseason. I understand that Foster said — or most likely his agent said — he wants to be fully recovered from the injuries that derailed his 2015 campaign, but there’s a reality that he also has to face.

Foster is so injury-prone he could hurt himself tomorrow working out.

Foster was heading for Hall of Fame glory, coming out of nowhere as a non-drafted free agent for the Houston Texans. Twice he led the league in touchdowns and one he led the league in total yards and rushing. Once — ONE TIME — he started a whole 16 games in his seven-year career.

Why would Foster want to wait until he is healthy, when he has never really ever been healthy. He has played 25 games over the past three seasons. That’s 52% of the games he was supposed to play. That’s not a lot for one of the league’s premier running backs.

We all know what happens when running backs hit the dreaded 30-year mark. Most don’t see a career rebirth. Sure, you’ll have guys like a Thomas Jones or DeAngelo Williams or even Marcus Allen (who was just amazing anyway) but those three have something in common. They didn’t amass multiple 300-plus carry seasons prior turning 30. They were parts of the ol’ RBBC, and their carries were limited by other running backs sharing the rock, not so much injury as Foster’s carries has been. Foster was the premier piece of the Texans offense. When he wasn’t running, he was catching it. When he wasn’t catching it, he was blocking or running off play action.

Miami presents one of the few landing spots for Foster that he could walk in the door and have a chance to start, but at the very least, see a large role as the seasoned secondary guy to Ajayi. The move had upside for both parties involved as no team is more starved for a running back than the Miami Dolphins right now.

While Foster may want to see what other offers are out there as he gets healthier and Miami likely wants to see his price come down, I think this was a swing and a miss by both parties. There is a long way to go, however, so we shall see where Foster lands.

 

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