The Los Angeles Rams woke up to devastating news on Tuesday. Running back Cam Akers has torn his Achilles tendon and will be out for the rest of the season. While there should be some confidence that Darrell Henderson can take over, the team could look to sign a veteran before training camp. When the Rams lost Todd Gurley at the end of 2018, the Rams opted to sign CJ Anderson. Here are five players that the team could look at.
It wasn’t that long ago that DeVonta Freeman was a 1,000 yard running back. Freeman dealt with injuries in 2018 and has struggled to find his footing ever since. He had 656 yards in 2019, averaging 3.6 yards per carry. Both numbers were the lowest of his career.
Freeman looked for a big contract last season and didn’t get it. The New York Giants signed him in September after an injury to Saquon Barkley. Freeman had 172 yards in four games, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry.
The former Falcons running back might be damaged goods at this point. However, he’s a veteran presence that has had success in the past. His best season also came in 2015 under Kyle Shanahan as the offensive coordinator with the Falcons. Sean McVay runs a very similar system to Shanahan and therefore it could be an easy transition and replacement for Cam Akers.
Alfred Morris is another running back that took snaps with the Giants last season, but he might make the most sense for the Rams. Morris has made a career out of replacing running backs who have gotten injured before or during a season.
Morris played two seasons with Sean McVay in Washington which included a 1,000 yard season in 2014. Since then, Morris has been a number two everywhere he’s gone since. Last season he was on and off the practice squad for the Giants, but had 238 yards and averaged 4.3 yards per carry.
The Rams aren’t necessarily looking for a starter replacement for Cam Akers, but someone who can come in and be a number two behind Henderson. Morris could do just that, however, at 32 years of age, he might be on the older side of what the Rams are looking for.
This one might not be popular among fans. However, the Rams have shown that they can handle “toxic locker room players” in the past. The Rams handled Ndamukong Suh. Jalen Ramsey has also seen some of the best years of his career with the Rams.
Bell spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs last season and had 254 yards, averaging 4.0 yards per carry. The former Steelers running back didnt’ have success with the Jets, but at 29 years old, there is still some hope that he could flash some of his potential from when he was with the Steelers.
Bell would be a good 1-2 punch with Henderson and could even carve out a starting role similar to Cam Akers. That’s something that Bell has been looking for and might be why he was salty about his time with the Chiefs.
Royce Freeman is seen as a bust among the Denver Broncos fanbase. It’s hard to disagree considering he was beat out by undrafted free agent Phillip Linday during his rookie season.
Wouldn't be surprised to see Rams inquire about Broncos RB Royce Freeman.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) July 20, 2021
According to Benjamin Allbright, he wouldn’t be surprised to see the Rams inquire about Freeman. However, in three years with the Broncos, Freeman had just 297 yards and never seemed to find his groove in the NFL. This is despite being a third round pick out of Oregon. He would fit the ‘short yardage’ type player that the Rams would be looking to pair with Henderson.
However, the Rams could bring him in and let him compete for a spot during training camp. However, I’m not totally convinced that Xavier Jones isn’t better than him.
This one seems VERY far-fetched. The Rams would likely sign someone like Adrian Peterson before they went for Todd Gurley. This is a relationship that ended very sourly. If the Rams called Gurley, it’s likely he would just laugh and hand up despite being a free agent.
However, it is intriguing. Gurley has spent time with Sean McVay and had some of his best years with the Rams. He may not be the player he once was, but he still had 678 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
It’s hard to tell just how effective Gurley would be given his knee situation. However, if the Rams are looking for a veteran running back, maybe they could kiss and make up?
Adrian Peterson has experience with Matthew Stafford and had a 600 yard season last year. He is 36 years old however which isn’t ideal for a running back. Like last year with Swift, the Rams wouldn’t’ be asking Peterson to carry the load.
Peterson could join the Rams and look to work his way up the all-time rushing list. He’s 449 yards behind Barry Sanders for fourth all-time in the NFL in rushing yards. He’s also five touchdowns behind Marcus Allen in career touchdowns on the all-time rushing touchdowns list.