Redskins Should Look at Spiller, Rice for backfield depth


With Roy Helu, Jr. set to hit the free agent market on Tuesday, the Washington Redskins are in need for someone to backup Alfred Morris.

There are a number of free agent running backs on the market who can provide a change of pace from Morris’ bruising style of play, but two names stick out in particular: C.J. Spiller and Ray Rice.

More from All Over The Hill

I’ll start with the former, who the Redskins have reported interest in already.

The Buffalo Bills made it loud and clear that they were moving on from Spiller when they traded for LeSean McCoy. Spiller is also coming off an injury-riddled season – he only played in nine games – and ran the ball just 78 times for 300 yards and zero touchdowns.

His numbers have gone down the past two seasons since his breakout year in 2012, when he rushed for 1,244 yards (averaged six yards per carry), caught 43 passes for 459 yards and scored a total of 10 touchdowns. But that’s not to say that Spiller still isn’t one of the top backs in free agency.

Spiller would be a perfect compliment to Morris, as he’d be a huge threat on third down in the passing game, but can also provide a serviceable option in the running game to lessen the load for Morris. Washington fans know all too well what can happen to a running back who is called upon far too often with little rest (Clinton Portis).

Spiller can also break free for a long run at any time and would also give Washington another option in the return game.

More from Washington Redskins

Then you have Ray Rice, which would be nothing less than a controversial move.

There’s no need to go into detail about everything Rice went through last season. That’s been documented enough. What is important to look at is how he can still be a valuable asset to an NFL franchise.

Rice hasn’t played in an NFL game in over a year, which brings both positive and negative aspects with it. Sure, he’ll have to work the rust off and get re-acclimated with the bruising nature of the NFL. But that also means Rice has fresh legs, which is even more important considering he played with an injured hip during 2013.

Rice was also one of the top running backs in all of football just a few seasons ago.

Like Spiller, Rice provides a quickness out of the backfield that can be used out of the backfield as another option for Robert Griffin III. For his career, Rice has caught 369 passes for over 3,000 yards and six touchdowns. He also has a 63-yard completion under his belt, just more proof of his ability to stretch the field.

Rice would also likely have no choice but to sign for the veteran minimum if given another opportunity from any NFL team, so the risk factor would be low for Washington.

But the Redskins have dealt with enough controversy over the last year, and bringing in Rice would only add to the negative attention surrounding the professional football team in Washington.

There are other names like Shane Vereen, Reggie Bush and Knowshon Moreno who the Redskins should take a serious look at.

Whichever route the Redskins decide to go, finding a backup for Alfred Morris is certainly a priority in Washington.

Next: Terps Finish Season Ranked No. 8