Dec 8, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Toby Gerhart (32) fends off Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith (22) during his fourth quarter touchdown run at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Toby Gerhart Expected to Carry Load at Running Back


Nov 24, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Toby Gerhart (32) is tackled by Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk (50) and defensive end Mike Daniels (76) in the 1st quarter at Lambeau Field. The Packers and Vikings finished in a tie 26-26. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 24, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Toby Gerhart (32) is tackled by Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk (50) and defensive end Mike Daniels (76) in the 1st quarter at Lambeau Field. The Packers and Vikings finished in a tie 26-26. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

After several years of terrific running back play from the likes of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jacksonville Jaguars were poised to go into their first season in a long time with uncertainty in the offensive backfield. While most expected the Jaguars to address the position in the draft, David Caldwell went ahead and found his starting tailback in free agency by signing Toby Gerhart to a 3-year contract.

After being drafted in the second round out of Stanford, Gerhart sat on the bench in Adrian Peterson’s shadow for a few years with some occasional flashes of effectiveness. General manager David Caldwell saw enough to warrant a contract for the young back, and Gus Bradley recently came out and told NFL Network that Gerhart is expected to be the primary guy toting the rock.

We took him for a reason, to come in and compete, and we like what we saw on tape. We’ve got a couple young guys, and we hope that he can help with their progress and capture that opportunity.

- Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley

The nice part is Gerhart’s contract certainly isn’t cap-prohibitive and shouldn’t be a problem going forward if he doesn’t work out. Only $4.5 million of his $10.5 million contract is guaranteed, and a bulk of it is from the $3 million roster bonus he received this year. Gerhart is a perfect signing for the position the franchise is in right now – a young player with very little wear on his body who could potentially contribute significantly over the next few years.

 

-Daniel Lago

Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89

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Tags: 2014 Nfl Free Agency Jacksonville Jaguars Toby Gerhart