Oddly, it seems an older, slowing football player isn’t willing to admit that he’s creeping close to his expiry date. I know, it’s strange that Willis McGahee won’t just fade into his football tomb, at least for our benefit. What a selfish man.
Here’s how it’s supposed to go down. McGahee will be cut by the Broncos at the end of August, with the front office feeling little motivation to keep a 31-year-old running back who’s only now completing his recovery from a torn MCL on the roster, especially after they’ve invested second- and third-round picks in youth at the position over the past two years. The former and higher pick was Montee Ball this past April, while the latter was Ronnie Hillman, a smaller back and a skilled pass catcher who’s the ideal complement to a larger presence.
Ball will then be set to erupt in his rookie season and be the highest producing rookie fantasy running back after he did the same over his final two years at Wisconsin with 4,131 all-purpose yards at an average of 12.5 yards per touch. It all makes perfect business sense, even if it’s a little cold.
Now all McGahee has to do is go away. So, how ’bout that, Willis?
McGahee said he is expecting to be the Broncos starting RB come Sept. 5. He took only a couple snaps at minicamp today.
— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) June 11, 2013
I’d sigh, but this is an anticipated problem, even if McGahee is just saying what any sane-minded player would say in this situation (we’re guessing that “no, I’d rather get fewer carries and rot” isn’t good for future employment opportunities).
McGahee becoming a cap casualty in late August remains the most likely scenario due to the aforementioned problems related to age and breaking. However, if he can still show some of the burst which led to sporadic booming last year (three +100 yard games, and he averaged over five yards per carry in all of them) throughout the preseason, then he’ll cling, and reduce Ball’s opportunities. Remember, although a year in the NFL is about five years in real life, McGahee logged seven +100 yard games in 2011.
Even if he’s moving towards the twilight, a healthy McGahee could have enough left to bite into Ball’s carries, and that will be painful for all Bronco running back owners involved.