Free agent running back Arian Foster is returning from a torn Achilles injury and is starting to line up workouts with the Dolphins and Lions, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Should the Patriots be interested?
Former Texans RB Arian Foster is scheduled to work out for Dolphins on Monday and Lions later this week, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 18, 2016
Since bursting on the scene in 2010 with 2,220 total yards, 18 touchdowns, and First Team All Pro distinction, Foster has been one of the most dynamic rushers in the entire league, but he has suffered from a long list of injuries over the course of his career. He has averaged a league-leading 119.9 yards per game since 2010 and his 8,390 yards from scrimmage trails only Matt Forte, LeSean McCoy, and Calvin Johnson over that time frame.
Foster didn’t lose a step in 2015 and racked up 390 yards before rupturing his Achilles in week 4 against the Dolphins. He will turn 30 years old in August, which is generally the time where running backs start their decline, and his league-leading 23.4 touches per game (TPG) with the Texans signifies a lot of wear on his already-broken body.
Foster would likely be better off in a tandem or a committee at this stage in his career and would likely be better off with 15 or so TPG. For reference, former Patriots and current Lions running back Stevan Ridley has the highest TPG rate with the Patriots since 2011 at 13.1 TPG. Current rushers LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis average 12.3 TPG and 12.1 TPG, respectively.
The Dolphins have a wide open spot at running back and are the expected leaders in the Foster sweepstakes. The veteran rusher will call for much greater than the minimum salary and the Patriots likely don’t feel the need to outspend their division rival. Lewis and Blount should be a fine tandem for New England and adding Foster just complicates the camp battle.
Instead, the Patriots should turn their focus to another Foster: undrafted free agent signing D.J. Foster.
Like Arian, D.J. had a tremendous junior season in college, but a coaching decision led to some serious changes. Arian was put in a rotation at Tennessee, while D.J. was moved to wide receiver for Arizona State.
Arian is three inches and 30 pounds larger than D.J., but the rookie is far more athletic and his skill set might better suit the versatile Patriots offense.
Would you want the Patriots to pursue Arian Foster?