The Baltimore Ravens stand to lose two of their three main running backs when the NFL Labor Dispute is finally settled, hopefully within the next week. The team figures to release the highly paid Willis McGahee and will probably not get into a bidding war for the services of fullback LeRon McClain, who wants and deserves to get a hefty raise.
That would leave Ray Rice, who was the main part of what used to be considered the Ravens "three-headed monster," referring to their successful rushing attack. However, the other two's carries dropped off significantly in 2010, ironically along with the team's rushing success and if McGahee and McClain are gone in 2011, it just leaves RB Jalen Parmele, FB Jason McKie and rookie Anthony Allen (Georgia Tech) as the only viable options.
That means there is a better than average chance that Baltimore will venture into the free agency pool when the feeding frenzy begins once the Collective Bargaining Agreement is finally signed. The Ravens ought to be careful when they look for the next great backup running back, as a story on CBSSports.com suggests. They researched and reviewed the past free agent running back signings and ironically focused on former Ravens RB Chester Taylor, who signed for big bucks with the Minnesota Vikings after leaving Baltimore, only to not have the type of success either the Vikings or Taylor had hoped for.
The article noes that other than the Atlanta Falcons signing of RB Michael Turner, most of the other running backs signed through free agency have not been the answer that most teams were hoping for. New York Jets fans might argue that LaDainian Tomlinson was a great pickup for them, but for the most part, the better running backs have succeed for the teams that originally drafted them.
Therefore, the message to the Ravens as well as other teams who may dip into free agency looking for a running back to get them to the next level is be careful, be very careful.