Nobody is interested in disgraced, over-the-hill running back Ray Rice.
“Multiple sources” tell TMZ that teams — that’s right, plural — have expressed “legitimate interest” in Rice, but I simply don’t believe it. Rice isn’t just the poster boy for the NFL’s domestic violence problem, but he’s a 28-year-old running back with little tread on his tires. He hasn’t played since the end of 2013, a year in which his yards-per-attempt average plummeted from 4.4 to 3.1.
In fact, the numbers suggest he began to decline as early as 2012, which isn’t entirely surprising considering that he plays the position with the shortest shelf life in the game and that he’s undersized to begin with. Between 2009 and 2012, Rice touched the ball more than anyone in the league except Chris Johnson, who has experienced a similar decline ever since.
That’s what people have to understand here. Rice would have no value right now even if he were a regular dude who never knocked his girlfriend out on camera. This year’s draft is loaded with quality backs, the turnover rate is high at that position, and there isn’t a spot on the football field that has lost more value in recent seasons.
This is why Maurice Jones-Drew retired at the age of 29 earlier this offseason.
Teams desperate for backs would be better off turning to the draft. Teams desperate for veteran backs would be well-served considering free agents with similar on-field track records and cleaner off-the-field records. Pierre Thomas, Ahmad Bradshaw, Ronnie Brown, Knowhson Moreno and Chris Johnson come to mind.