With the trade deadline passed and the season nearing its end, if the Chiefs need to sign a running back to cover for injuries, the pickings are slim.
During their 24-17 over the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football, the Kansas City Chiefs sustained critical losses in the form of injuries to load-sharing running backs Damien Williams (ribs) and LeSean McCoy (head).
Earlier this week, we discussed the potential need for the Chiefs to look for veteran running backs in the wake of injuries. While it is too early to know for sure if this will be necessary, given the Chiefs being on their bye in Week 12, it is not too early to begin thinking ahead to who Brett Veach and Andy Reid may consider bringing in next Tuesday, ahead of their critical AFC West showdown against the surging Oakland Raiders.
While Kansas City’s running game has been less than stellar this season (94.4 yards per game, 22nd in the league; and 240 total attempts, 24th in the league), there are still important reasons why the Chiefs’ offense must have adequate backs to line up next to Patrick Mahomes.
As such, when considering potential options for Kansas City to consider, we must look for backs who can catch the ball out of the backfield, run good routes, pass block with efficiency and effectiveness, and hold on the to the ball.
The truth is that the Chiefs are too late to sign the two best options it had to improve its running back depth. Either Kenyon Drake before the trade deadline (who was subsequently traded to the Arizona Cardinals) or signing veteran Jay Ajayi (who last week re-signed with the depleted Philadelphia Eagles) would have been excellent fits for Andy Reid’s offense.
Since those ships have sailed, Kansas City has only two places they may look for help at this stage in the game: an incredibly thin free agency market or the practice squads of other teams.
While Kansas City is likely to feature Darrell Williams if they find their top two backs unable to go, and rookie Darwin Thompson has yet to be given an opportunity to build on his impressive preseason, if both Williams and McCoy are unable to play against Oakland, they’ll need to sign at least one additional back for the rotation.
Who should Veach go after if the need arises?