8 NFL Teams That Should Give Ray Rice a Chance
A day after admitting his days as a running back in the NFL were probably over, former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice offered any potential suitors an interesting proposal.
He’ll play for free.
Ray Rice tells me if he gets a chance to play in 2016, he’ll donate his entire salary to domestic violence programs. https://t.co/biFBj6f1Rj
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 21, 2016
Long Road Back
The former star rusher hasn’t been able to find his way back into the league’s good graces ever since he was suspended for domestic abuse, but all accounts suggest he’s taken the necessary steps to try to make up for his wrongdoing ever since.
While Ray Rice’s act of violence shouldn’t be forgotten, it’s certainly worth wondering if an NFL franchise would risk the potential negative PR to give him another chance.
Of course, there is also the argument that Rice, now 29, was already fading even before his ban from the league.
A free running back with star talent isn’t easy to bypass, however, so if Rice was ever going to get one last crack at the pros, this would be a pretty good way to do it.
That certainly begs the question; if Rice is willing to play for free and there is a need, which teams could consider pulling the trigger? We have eight
that could make some sense going into the 2016 NFL season:
New England Patriots
New England could be in the market for some help at running back, seeing as Dion Lewis is coming off of a shredded knee and LeGarrett Blount isn’t a lock to make the roster.
Ray Rice isn’t an automatic upgrade at this point, but he has lead back potential and also has a history of being a very dangerous receiver out of the backfield. He is a schematic fit and the Pats are also notorious for giving players a shot to redeem themselves late in their careers.
Rice would probably go anywhere at this point, but signing on with a playoff contender would be most attractive. The Colts and Pats fit the bill, and Indy also could use the added talent in their offensive backfield.
Frank Gore is aging and should see his role lightened in 2016, which could mean bigger roles for one or two other guys in Indy’s offense. Without much reliable talent on the depth chart, the Colts could look for some veteran assistance.
San Diego Chargers
Melvin Gordon disappointed as a rookie and San Diego’s next best running back is a tiny and aging Danny Woodhead.
Bringing in Rice would give the Bolts a backup option should Gordon fail again in his second season, while also keeping Woodhead in his niche role he suits best.
Recent reports suggest the Eagles don’t exactly love Ryan Mathews as the lead back in their system. It’s just him and Darren Sproles, though, so the Eagles will either have to do their best with what they have or make a difficult decision.
Using Mathews as more of a change of pace back and bringing in a versatile guy like Ray Rice could be one direction to go in.
The Redskins let bruising tailback Alfred Morris walk in free agency this year, leaving them with fumble-prone second-year rusher, Matt Jones.
The obvious hope is for Jones to ditch his ball control issues and be the team’s lead back, but if he can’t meet expectations, the Redskins suddenly have to turn to a weak depth chart.
Instead of putting all of their eggs in one basket, they could lean on a versatile veteran like Rice.
The Bears are another team who just lost a veteran rusher and coud quickly become worried that their young rushers aren’t ready to take over.
Jeremy Langford, Jordan Howard and Ka’Deem Carey give Chicago a nice stable of young, talented backs, but Rice could offer some versatility and stability they just can’t.
Ditto for the Lions, who are so concerned about their running game that they took a stab on a washed up Stevan Ridley. Zach Zenner, Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah are all pegged for clear roles in their offense, but it still feels like the Lions could use another able body.
That’s where Rice could come in, as he’s much more versatile than Ridley and would give the Lions another option if Zenner struggles to stay healthy for the second year in a row.
Would there be a better situation for Rice than a title contender that just lost their best running back? Probably not.
Seattle just watched Marshawn Lynch retire, and while they do have Thomas Rawls and some rookie talent to take a look at, they don’t yet have a single running back they can totally trust.
Rice brings experience and versatility to the table and even as a change of pace option could have Russell Wilson and co. breathing a little easier in 2016.
Ray Rice Return Odds
It’s still unlikely Ray Rice makes it back to the NFL. He did an ugly thing and was already falling away from the player he was before he got suspended and released.
That being said, he’s still technically in his prime, he has to be very fresh after sitting out the past two years and everyone deserves forgiveness and the chance to redeem themselves.
Rice’s offer to give up all of his money just to be able to try to play again is a noble one, and it’s arguably he deserves to play again if he actually still has the ability to. While that may be the case, we doubt it ever happens.
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