With Arian Foster signing with Miami, the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans unintentionally swap running backs. Just as they did last season at wide receiver, Miami needed veteran leadership to round out their backfield. Early reports out of Miami indicated they were just kicking tires on the veteran. However, something must have impressed them on his second visit for Miami to give him a try.
Per Alex Marvez on Twitter, the deal is a 1 year/$1.5 million contract with $2 million in incentives. While Miami needed a veteran putting his feet in the dirt, a recovering Foster cost them a lot less than the other running backs they were linked to this offseason. So what is Miami getting with this deal?
The Dolphins seem to have the luck of the Irish on their side this season. First, arguably one of the best players in the draft falls to them in the first round. Now Foster comes to them at a bargain. Miami doesn’t need to run the wheels off the newly acquired back as he will presumably split carries with second year back Jay Ajayi. While there hasn’t been missteps out of Ajayi at camp so far, rumor has it he struggled catching passes during camp. Foster could be insurance for that as well as create competition.
Adam Gase has never shied away from running multiple running backs so neither will the Dolphins. Fans have every right to be hopeful as Cameron Wake is also recovering for an Achilles injury and the team expect him back at his old explosive self. In seasons where Foster played 10 games or more, he’s never once failed to gain over 1,200 yards. The real question is who is taking carries from who?
Fans might be upset the Dolphins drafted Kenyan Drake so early and still signed Foster. In the grand scheme of things, this allows Miami to push Drake’s development back and allow the rookie to pick up the speed of the game.
At 29, Arian Foster is just before the age of being too old for running backs. He could have a few more good seasons left in him. However, since 2009 Foster has only 2 seasons where he played all 16 games. The injury bug seems to stick it to him. If he becomes a large part of Miami’s offense, fans better have their lucky rabbits foot come game day.
Some fans were excited to see what Jay Ajayi can do. He was a work horse at Boise State, he was no stranger to being an every down back. While getting little opportunity last year he showed bursts of promise but much of his game is still a little raw. Will the new addition keep him from expanding his game or will competition again push him to the top? Foster could easily provide the type of skill Ajayi can learn from, or he could continue to struggle and derail his game.
Unless the veteran can keep the younger guys on their toes the Dolphins will be in the same position next season. A one year deal is patch work to fixing the backfield. Miami made it known they were after a long term running back this offseason. Unfortunately they made it too known and teams swooped right in. If the combo of Ajayi/Drake doesn’t run the laces of their fleets, expect Miami to spend another early round pick on a running back next NFL draft.
Miami took a gamble on aging receiver last offseason in Greg Jennings. It was another low risk/high reward type signing that never really panned out. The fuel tank might be running a little low for Foster but fans need not worry. As long as there’s a little gas left in the tank, Arian Foster has been the type of player to give it his all. The Dolphins may have thrown a Hail Mary with this signing, but ask a Packers fan, Hail Mary’s occasionally pay off.