— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 29, 2014
NFL Networks Ian Rapport has reported today that the Broncos plan to let impending Free Agent Running Back Knowshon Moreno to test the Free Agent market this upcoming offseason, and do not expect him to return in 2014. Moreno did have a team option for 2014, but it appears that option has been voided.
Moreno was asked about this earlier this week, and he didn't seem interested in discussing his future with the Broncos
“My future is right now. I don’t live in the future; I live in the present,” Moreno said at Monday’s media availability. “Right now, this is what I’m thinking about. I’m thinking about today getting better, throughout the week getting better and on Sunday doing what we can to get the win.”
If the Broncos do let Moreno walk and sign with another team next season, look for 2013 second round pick Montee Ball to take over the reigns as the Broncos lead tail back. Ball has had a solid rookie campaign this season. He started off slow but finished the season strong. Ball has carried the ball 142 times this season(Postseason included) for 654 yards and 4 touchdowns. That averages out to a very respectable 4.6 yards per carry. Ball has also added 23 receptions for 158 yards.
Behind Moreno and Ball the Broncos backfield lacks experience. Ronnie Hillman has struggled with fumbles, and really hasn't shown much as a tailback the last two seasons. He has 140 career carries for 548 yards and 2 touchdowns. That averages out to be 3.9 yards per carry. Hillman has also added 22 receptions for 181 yards. Undrafted rookie C.J Anderson has only 7 career carries for 38 yards. So the Broncos backfield will be lacking experience if they do lose Moreno.
The NFL seems to be heading towards a two or three tailback rotation. Ideally the Broncos would move Montee Ball to Knowshon Moreno's spot as the lead tailback spot. That leaves a spot open at the #2 back spot. Could Ronnie Hillman or C.J Anderson step into that role? Maybe. I would expect the Broncos to add competition at the spot. Some Free Agent names that could interest the Broncos is Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, Ben Tate, Donald Brown, Chris Johnson, and Rashad Jennings. If the Broncos aren't willing to commit money towards Moreno, I don't expect them to sign one of the big name Running Backs in Free Agency.
That leaves the NFL Draft. It's the cheapest way to add some young fresh legs to the Broncos backfield. I know some fans won't be too thrilled about adding a running back via the draft for a third year in a row, but it seems like the cheapest, and most viable option right now though.
But hey, we have all offseason to talk about this. Lets root on our man Knowshon Moreno in the Super Bowl