J.K. Dobbins could be a nice Jerick McKinnon replacement

Could this make sense for the Chiefs?

Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens
Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens / Rob Carr/GettyImages

As things currently stand, the only running back that the Kansas City Chiefs currently have under contract for next season is Isiah Pacheco. While that could change at literally any second, it would still make a ton of sense if Kansas City brought in a veteran free agent at running back to help take on some of the load and bring some juice to the position group.

Obviously, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon were in the rotation last year and both of them are still available to sign in free agency. That said, Edwards-Helaire seems like a player most would be okay with the Chiefs moving on from and Mckinnon is slated to turn 32 years old before next season, plus he only appeared in 12 games last season due to injury.

Sure, CEH surprised a little bit in very limited action but was otherwise underwhelming and McKinnon really started to show signs of slowing down with injuries catching up to him. It would be ideal for Kansas City to bring in some new blood to replace those two in the rotation to provide more explosiveness and upside.

It's also pretty likely that Kansas City adds a running back in the draft but they need to add multiple backs with one being a veteran who knows their role and has experience.

J.K. Dobbins could be nice Jerick McKinnon replacement for KC Chiefs

For the most part, the running back market has seen a lot of names fly off the board and running backs have surprisingly gotten paid this offseason. While Kansas City was never in the market for a big-time running back, those players have inflated the market which means Kansas City is in no rush to sign any running backs to a big multi-year deal that they aren't uncomfortable with.

What Kansas City is most likely looking for is a veteran running back to bring in on a one-year deal with a very low base salary kind of like Jerick McKinnon a few years ago. A player who is really similar to what he was a few years ago that makes a lot of sense is J.K. Dobbins.

Understandably, people are going to be hesitant given the injury history with Dobbins. He's only played in 10 games over the last two seasons and has been hit with season-ending injuries in consecutive years.

That said, there's still upside with Dobbins as he's only 25 years old and coming off his rookie deal. When healthy, Dobbins has averaged an impressive 5.8 yards per carry for his career and has found the end zone 13 times in 24 games. Dobbins has also shown to contribute in the passing game. When you think about it, he's not too much different from Jerick McKinnon who was coming off an absolutely brutal stretch of injuries with the San Francisco 49ers before signing a one-year deal with Kansas City where he eventually became a mainstay in the Chiefs running back rotation.

In order for Dobbins to come to Kansas City, it would have to be for a low base salary on a one-year prove-it deal where he can at least come to training camp, prove that he's healthy and make the team. If he can do that, there's potential for Dobbins to revive his career in Kansas City where he will be asked to back up Pacheco and provide a serviceable option in the rotation.

The touchdown numbers also stand out given how much Kansas City's red zone offense struggled in 2023. There's plenty to like about Dobbins' game and there is a reason he was drafted 55th overall in his draft class by the Ravens. When healthy, he's fast, explosive, and could certainly add juice to a running back room that badly needs it.