Ajayi went from 49 carries as a rookie to 260 rushes, 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He never missed a game due to injury, but endured a shoulder problem and other issues. That put him ninth in the NFL in total attempts, which is heavy considering he totaled 31 rushes in Miami’s first five games.
With his rugged running style, the Dolphins might want to be careful about his workload. The only backups on the roster are Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake, who combined for 68 carries, unless Miami wants to explore transitioning Jakeem Grant to running back.
Most of the top free agent running backs have signed by now, but here are five options worth considering for the Dolphins:
Rashad Jennings, Giants, 31
Jennings was solid for New York last year with 593 yards and three touchdowns. He had three games of 75 yards or more.
LeGarrette Blount, Patriots, 30
The question with Blount is whether he’ll keep performing once he’s out of New England’s regimented culture. He was tremendous last year with 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns. Plus, it’d be fun having him in the same locker room as Ndamukong Suh. He could be well out of Miami’s price range if he commands the three-year, $13.2 million contract that Spotrac projects as his market value.
DeAngelo Williams, Steelers, 33
Williams was really good for Pittsburgh two years ago and did OK last season with 343 yards on 98 carries. He started the first four games of the year when Le’Veon Bell was suspended and averaged 17.5 carries and 66.3 yards while scoring three touchdowns.
Jamaal Charles, Chiefs, 30
Charles’ nine-year run with Kansas City ended with two dismal seasons, and the team moved on from him this offseason. He has played eight games the last two years because of a torn ACL, but had a 1,000-yard season the last time he was healthy.
Chris Johnson, Cardinals, 31
Johnson was once the fastest man in the league, and he was still a productive running back in 2015 with 814 yards and three touchdowns on 196 carries. Last year, however, he appeared in just four games for Arizona before going on Injured Reserve with a groin injury.
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