On Tuesday, my NFL Network colleague David Carr spotlighted four organizations that do not currently have their 2023 starting quarterbacks on their roster. Now it's my turn to look at the running back position to identify teams that do not currently have their RB1 of 2023 in-house.
Below are three franchises that, in my opinion, will be seeking new starting running backs for next season:
1) If the Panthers stick with interim head coach Steve Wilks for next season, there's a chance he brings back Foreman, who is headed for free agency. The 26-year-old veteran has started the past five games, posting three 100-yard rushing performances. McCaffrey's departure came just before Week 7, and in that span, the Panthers rank a surprising 12th in rushing yards while relying on Foreman and Hubbard, which has helped them stay competitive in the NFC South. Hubbard, who has two more years remaining on his rookie contract after this season, has been dealing with an ankle injury. He's averaging a career-best 4.3 yards per carry, but his inconsistency could prevent him from emerging as the team's RB1.
2) If the organization hires a new coach, they will likely clean house, meaning the Panthers would have a new quarterback, a new running back -- the whole thing. Carolina could sign a free agent or look to the draft. As much as I like Foreman, this seems like a likely scenario to me.
I expected Miami's rushing attack to take off after the Dolphins acquired Wilson at the trade deadline, but that hasn't been the case. Since Week 9, the Dolphins have rushed for more than 100 yards just once (Week 10 vs. Cleveland). With Wilson and Mostert having past experience in Mike McDaniel's system, I thought this unit would provide some balance to the Dolphins' offense.
All four of these backs are slated to hit free agency in March. There's a chance Miami general manager Chris Grier re-signs Wilson, the most dynamic rusher of the group with 5.3 yards per carry this season, but the most likely scenario involves drafting a player at the position.
The Eagles have a top-five rushing attack this season, but a lot of the credit for that goes to quarterback Jalen Hurts, who's an enormous threat to beat defenses with his big-play ability as a runner. Sanders is the team leader in carries (187) and rush yards (924), and he's tied for first in rush TDs (nine) with Hurts. The former second-round pick is in the final season of his rookie contract. The Eagles might re-sign Sanders, who's sixth in the NFL in rush yards, this offseason, but with Hurts posing the biggest threat in the run game, I have a feeling they'll move on. Scott is also going to be a free agent, while Gainwell is viewed more as a short-yardage and goal-line back.
Top 15 running backs
Former NFL rushing leader and NFL Network analyst Maurice Jones-Drew will survey all running backs and rank his top 15 each week of the 2022 season. His rankings are based on this season's efforts alone. Here is MJD's list heading into Week 14.
2022 stats: 12 games | 242 att | 1,303 rush yds | 5.4 ypc | 10 rush TD | 42 rec | 331 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 1 fumbles lost
Jacobs ran for one score and 144 yards on 26 carries in the Raiders' win over the Chargers in Week 13, notching his third straight rushing game of 100 or more yards. The consistent big performances by Jacobs have catapulted him to the top of the league's rushing-yards leaderboard and No. 1 in my rankings. This season is shaping up to be something special for Jacobs, who is on pace to be the first Raiders player to lead the NFL in rushing or scrimmage yards since Marcus Allen did it in 1985, the same year Allen won MVP.
2022 stats: 12 games | 217 att | 1,119 rush yds | 5.2 ypc | 12 rush TD | 17 rec | 152 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 1 fumble lost
Chubb racked up 80 rushing yards on 17 carries (4.7 yards per tote) in Week 13 against the Texans. The Browns' entire offense looked out of sorts -- see: Chubb getting tackled in his own end zone for a safety -- with Cleveland running just one red-zone play in the entire game. Chubb and the Browns need to be better when they travel to play the surging Bengals in Week 14.
2022 stats: 11 games | 148 att | 852 rush yds | 5.8 ypc | 8 rush TD | 25 rec | 259 rec yds | 2 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
Pollard dazzled in the Cowboys' 54-19 rout of the Colts, rushing 12 times for 91 yards and two scores to emphatically bounce back from a lackluster outing on Thanksgiving. He averaged 7.6 yards per carry in the prime-time win and is proving to be a huge factor in the Cowboys' flashy offense.
2022 stats: 12 games | 160 att | 700 rush yds | 4.4 ypc | 4 rush TD | 66 rec | 559 rec yds | 3 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
McCaffrey was heavily involved against the Dolphins -- with 146 scrimmage yards and a receiving TD -- and this could be the story moving forward. With rookie QB Brock Purdy in for Jimmy Garoppolo for the foreseeable future, McCaffrey will be a key player in the offense, and why wouldn't he be? The 49ers are 5-1 since trading for the back.
2022 stats: 12 games | 258 att | 1,078 rush yds | 4.2 ypc | 10 rush TD | 23 rec | 286 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
The King has fallen ... three spots in these rankings, to No. 5. Henry has logged four straight dismal performances, a span in which he's averaging 52 rush yards per game and 2.8 yards per carry. In a loss where the Titans played from behind for a majority of the game and failed to find a rhythm on offense, quarterback Ryan Tannehill -- who is averaging 14.1 rushing yards per game in his career -- led the Titans in rushing, with 34 yards. Yikes. I expect Henry to return to form against the reeling Jags.
2022 stats: 12 games | 138 att | 589 rush yds | 4.3 ypc | 7 rush TD | 80 rec | 485 rec yds | 5 rec TD | 2 fumbles lost
Ekeler had a solid game against the Raiders with 35 rush yards and 67 receiving yards; however, his late fumble really hurt the Chargers' chances of winning. What does continue to stand out is Ekeler’s pass-catching ability. His 85 receptions in 12 games rank fourth-most in the NFL.
2022 stats: 12 games | 198 att | 927 rush yds | 4.7 ypc | 7 rush TD | 28 rec | 157 rec yds | 1 rec TD | 1 fumble lost
After a quiet Thanksgiving effort, Cook proved to be the focal point of the Vikings' offense against the Jets, which earned him a game ball from coach Kevin O'Connell. He amassed 86 yards, including a 4-yard TD run, on 20 carries. It marked his 23rd game with 75-plus rush yards and at least one rush TD in the last four seasons (only Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb have more in that span). He will have a favorable matchup Sunday against the Lions.
2022 stats: 12 games | 242 att | 1,055 rush yds | 4.4 ypc | 8 rush TD | 40 rec | 241 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
Barkley has fallen in my rankings due to a quiet last few weeks. In the Week 13 tie with Washington, he was held to 81 scrimmage yards and one score on 23 touches. Still, his rushing total (63 yards) put him over 1,000 rushing yards for the season, the first time he's reached that mark since 2019. Barkley went up against a very strong Commanders' run defense that held him to 3.5 yards per carry. He faces another tough matchup in Week 14, when the Giants take on the 11-1 Eagles.
2022 stats: 12 games | 161 att | 734 rush yds | 4.6 ypc | 4 rush TD | 56 rec | 383 rec yds | 1 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
Don't let New England's two-game losing streak distract you from this astonishing stat: On Thursday, Stevenson became the first Patriots player in over a decade to compile 1,100-plus scrimmage yards in the first 12 games of a given season. The last New England player to accomplish the feat? Wes Welker, in 2011.
2022 stats: 12 games | 187 att | 924 rush yds | 4.9 ypc | 9 rush TD | 17 rec | 74 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost
Sanders was bottled up most of the afternoon against Tennessee, but he did have a fourth-quarter touchdown that put the contest out of reach. He only totaled 24 yards on the ground as the Eagles targeted the Titans' lackluster pass defense. He gets a weaker run defense in Week 14 as the Eagles travel to MetLife Stadium for a pivotal NFC East matchup against the Giants.
2022 stats: 10 games | 192 att | 861 rush yds | 4.5 ypc | 4 rush TD | 27 rec | 130 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 3 fumbles lost
Welcome back, Mr. Taylor. We all know he is one of the NFL's best running backs, but this year, health and poor offensive-line play have been issues. In the Week 13 loss to Dallas, Taylor had 103 scrimmage yards, but his streak of three straight games with a TD was snapped. Regardless, his hot play of late has him ranked eighth among the league's rushing leaders with five weeks remaining in the season.
2022 stats: 12 games | 188 att | 769 rush yds | 4.1 ypc | 14 rush TD | 9 rec | 57 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 2 fumbles lost
Williams is a touchdown magnet. He finds the end zone every week, and Week 13 was no different. He scored his 14th rushing touchdown of the season and is just two rush TDs away from tying Barry Sanders' franchise record of 16 in 1991.
2022 stats: 13 games | 164 att | 847 rush yds | 5.2 ypc | 2 rush TD | 48 rec | 328 rec yds | 4 rec TD | 1 fumble lost
Jones' shin injury seemed to limit him in Week 13, as he had just nine carries for 26 yards. But that was still good enough to make him the fourth running back in Packers franchise history to surpass 5,000 career rushing yards. More good news for Jones: The Packers have a much-needed bye in Week 14, which should help both Aarons (Jones and Rodgers) get healthier for the stretch run.
2022 stats: 12 games | 198 att | 861 rush yds | 4.4 ypc | 3 rush TD | 30 rec | 165 rec yds | 1 rec TD | 1 fumble lost
Last week, I mentioned how Pierce is being limited due to the Texans inability to run block or get out to a lead. In Week 13, he took matters into his own hands, as he rattled off multiple (cue Kyle Brandt) angry runs and looked like a true power back. With 73 yards on 18 totes Sunday, Pierce is doing all he can, but he hasn't had a run of 20 yards or more in the last three weeks.
2022 stats: 12 games | 146 att | 782 rush yds | 5.4 ypc | 4 rush TD | 25 rec | 214 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 2 fumbles lost
Etienne seemed to recover just fine from his foot injury in Week 12. Unfortunately, he had a costly fumble early against the Lions that helped turned the tide against the Jaguars. Etienne rushed for 54 yards on 13 carries, but the entire offense struggled, held to just 14 points in a blowout loss.