NFL teams are gearing up ahead of free agency, restructuring contracts and releasing players that no longer fit their vision or their budget. The Jacksonville Jaguars are no different and have cut ties with veteran running back Carlos Hyde. This comes after an uneventful season in Duval in which he toted the rock 72 times for 253 yards and one touchdown. Releasing him freed up $1.9 million in cap space with just $450,00 in cap space.
The Jags gave Hyde a two-year deal mainly because of the presence of Urban Meyer, who was his head coach back at Ohio State. With a new regime in place, there was no longer room for Hyde. However, the team’s brass must add a running back to take his place. After all, James Robinson tore his Achilles late in the 2021 season and Travis Etienne missed his rookie campaign after sustaining a Lisfranc injury last preseason, so the team could use some depth at the position.
Although Etienne should be back on the field this offseason, the Jaguars must err on the side of caution and acquire a running back this offseason. If they want to sign one in free agency, they could target any of these four players.
No. 1 RB the Jaguars can target in free agency – Jalen Richard.
Running back Jalen Richard may lack name recognition but was pretty effective whenever he’s got the ball in his hands. An undrafted free agent out of Southern Miss, Richard signed with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2016 and made an impact right out of the gate, scoring a 75-yard touchdown on his very first NFL carry. Although the former Golden Eagle has toted the rock more than 80 times in a season just once, he’s gotten made the most out of his opportunities, averaging 5.0 yards per carry.
At 5-8 and 207 pounds, Richard is a good blocker in passing situations and an adequate receiver out of the backfield. Other running backs could garner more attention in free agency but he would be a low-key, solid addition.