The Los Angeles Rams second-year rookie running back, Cam Akers, was on tap for a breakout 2021 season, but after tearing his achilles ankle last week, he will miss the entire season. Without Akers, the Rams’ backups will be forced to step up. Darrell Henderson will likely get the first opportunity as the number one back, but there’s not much security behind him.
Both Xavier Jones and Raymond Calais have never played an NFL regular season down and neither has Otis Anderson as an undrafted free agent rookie. The Rams could use some help behind Henderson and here are three options that they could possibly turn to in free agency:
Adrian Peterson, 36, has proven he still has some juice left in him after rushing for 604 yards with seven touchdowns in 16 for Detroit last season. At his age, Peterson isn’t looking for a starting role, but a team he can help get to the Super Bowl and that could be with the Rams after they added Matthew Stafford.
Peterson has 14,820 rushing yards in his career thus far and is just 450 yards short of passing Barry Sanders for fourth on the all-time list. He is only six away from passing Marcus Allen for third on the rushing TD all-time list with 118. He’s currently at the top of the league for the most 50-yard touchdown runs with 16 and 60-yard touchdown runs with 15 in history. He just needs one more 70-yard touchdown to beat Chris Johnson out, whom he’s tied with for the most (seven).
Peterson hasn’t had many problems with injuries so he’s a durable backup.
If the Rams wanted to go with a younger approach, they could turn to Ryquell Armstead.
Armstead was a fifth-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019 out of Temple after rushing for 1,098 yards as a senior in 2018 with the Owls. He finished his rookie season with 35 carries for 108 rushing yards and 14 receptions for 144 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns
He has only played one NFL season after he missed the entire 2020 season due to some major respiratory issues after catching the COVID-19 virus. The 24-year-old back has 4.45 speed and is very explosive, however his overall health could be a concern. The Jags released him this past May and he was claimed by the New York Giants, but waived in June.
According to top sportsbooks, Le’Veon Bell, 29, was once looked at as one of the best running backs in the league. He’s not too far off his second All-Pro title (2017), where he totaled 1,946 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns along with a career-high 85 receptions with the Pittsburgh Steelers. But then he sat out the following season over a contract dispute.
After he and the Steelers failed to come to an agreement, the New York Jets signed him in 2019. He played one full season and then liked a tweet in 2020 that suggested he be traded, which ultimately led to his release from the Green Gang.
Following his release, Bell signed with the KC Chiefs but as a backup for then-rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Frustrated over little playing time, Bell said, “I’ll never play for Andy Reid again” in an Instagram comment. Bell could come with some drama, but he would make for a solid secondary if he’s willing to settle.
We’ll see what head coach Sean McVay will do, but heck, he might end up just gambling with his young crew after the comment he made last week:
“We’ve got some young backs on our roster that I’m intrigued about seeing how they handle this opportunity,” McVay said on ESPN 710. “I don’t know that the veteran route is something that we’d rule out, but it’s not something we’re immediately looking to address right now.” Take it into consideration for your NFL odds.