Denver Broncos: Free agent running back options in 2020

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Denver Broncos 2020 free agency, Derrick Henry

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – JANUARY 04: Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans looks on during the second half against the New England Patriots in the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 04, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos will scan over every 2020 free agent option, but will the running back position be a priority? Here are some players to watch.

The Denver Broncos ranked 20th in the NFL in rushing in 2019, and there are plenty of factors that played into their success — or sometimes lack thereof — in that phase of the offense.

First-year offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello seems to have done a masterful job of designing plays, but his play-calling at times didn’t lead to the best sequencing, and the Broncos were inconsistent running the football for most of the season.

There were plenty of other factors at play here, including the inconsistent play of the offensive line, teams stacking the box and basically daring the Broncos to throw it every play, limiting what the running game could do, and a combination of those things together.

It’s actually a wonder the Broncos were able to rank 20th in the league in rushing, all things considered.

With that said, how much does talent at the running back position play into things? Is this a position the Broncos are going to be looking at upgrading in the offseason?

It’s possible.

While Phillip Lindsay further solidified his spot in the offense as a 1,000-yard rusher for the second straight season, Royce Freeman seemed to take a step back in his sophomore season in the running game (and a step forward in the passing game, somewhat), leaving the Broncos with questions at the position in 2020 about whether they have the best possible combination of backs.

While I believe Phillip Lindsay is part of the equation and solution moving forward, the Broncos have to look into any option to make the team better while factoring in cost, fit, NFL Draft alternatives, etc.

I think there’s a perception out there that going the free agent route for running backs is just not a wise thing to do considering the shelf life of backs in the NFL as well as the quality of the backs coming out of the college ranks these days, but teams like the Ravens (Mark Ingram), Saints (Latavius Murray), and 49ers (Tevin Coleman) have shown the value of spending smart at the running back position.

The New York Jets threw a bunch of money at Le’Veon Bell, who was out of football for a year, and that move hasn’t paid dividends yet, but there may be deeper issues there than just football.

The Broncos should keep an open mind with free agent running backs given their current roster as well as the players they could potentially pursue.

I want to take a look at a few guys who will be available, whether their price point matches where the Broncos are at, and if their skill set is a fit for what the Broncos really need at the position.

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