Former Patriots running back Stevan Ridley seems to be a forgotten man in free agency this offseason. There was a report that the Dallas Cowboys were interested in his services after they allowed their starting running back DeMarco Murray to leave for the Philadelphia Eagles, but nothing has come to fruition there.
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The question starts to become, why is Ridley not getting much attention at all in free agency? Is it due to his knee injury that cost him his season? I wouldn’t think so because the Philadelphia Eagles have picked up two players who are recovering from torn ACL’s, quarterback Sam Bradford and linebacker Kiko Alonso.
Is it ball control? For most detractors of Ridley, they claim he has an issue with fumbling, but looking at his totals, it isn’t as bad as it has been made out. In fact, Ridley has the same amount of career fumbles (eight) as Murray, both who came into the league in 2011. The Eagles gave a five-year $42 million dollar deal to Murray, but so far no reports of Stevan getting an offer. Ridley also has lost one less fumble than Murray (five for Stevan, six for DeMarco).
Perhaps it is time that the Houston Texans look into the former LSU running back as a strong back up to long-time Texans running back Arian Foster. Foster has been a beast for the Texans, but he will be 29 in August and has missed 11 games the past two seasons.
“Ridley could be a bargain signing as a between-the-tackles grinder coming off a torn ACL.” – Wesseling
Ridley missed only two games before his knee injury knocked him out the final ten games last year. He also is younger at only 26 and has a lot less wear on his tires. New England doesn’t like to give the ball to one guy 20 times a game like Houston does, so Ridley has 649 career rushes to Foster’s 1,391.
The upside on Ridley is the explosive and punishing way he plays the game, which would fit perfectly with how Houston likes to run the ball. After the combine his scouting report on NFL.com highlighted his bruising style of play.
"“Ridley is a big back with a deceptive burst. Possesses good vision and hits the hole hard. Downhill runner that has the strength to run over defenders. Secures the ball quickly and flashes an effective stiff arm. Plays mean and is a very capable blocker in pass protection.”"
Ridley is a powerful back and according to Chris Wesseling from Around The NFL, could be a real bargain. Wesseling calls Ridley, and another guy linked to the Texans, nose tackle Vince Wilfork, the best remaining free agents.
Finding such a bargain player could be a huge help to an offense that found itself stalled at times. Plus, if the team happens to lose Foster for any amount of time, Ridley has shown he can carry the load himself if called upon.