Yeah, I know the joke has run its course, but I’m moving forward with the theory that “Watchu Talkin’ ‘Bout Willis” is now so lame that it is super cool. So now that we have that out of the way, lets actually talk ’bout Willis and what is going to happen to him. McGahee is due 3.6 million dollars next season, which is a bit steep for a back up back. To continue playing with the Ravens he would most likely need to take a pay cut, which, after the season he just had, I doubt he’ll do.
Let’s look at his numbers from 2009 (yes, that’s last year, stop writing 09 on stuff). The most promising numbers for his pocket book are his 14 touchdowns and his lofty 5.0 yards per carry. He only had 544 yards rushing, but that could be in his favor, not getting the wear and tear on his surgically repaired body. He was on his way to a possible career year when he was Ray Riced by Ray Rice. I think this should be made into a nationally recognized term because it’s not often that a player is supplanted by anyone after scoring 5 TD’s in the first 3 games! But it was clear that Rice was the younger, more skilled back, but it was also clear that McGahee still has something left in the tank. So where is he going to take that full tank next season?
Let’s take a look at the leading candidates as far as needs go:
1. Washington: The new coach in town has omnipotent power in D.C. so if he wants McGahee it shall be done. But do they need him? Much depends on if Clinton Portis can prove to his old coach that he also still has something left in the tank even though it looks as if his tank is rusted and he leaves oil stains wherever he sits for more than a few minutes. With Portis’ work ethic, this seasons’ concussion, and his many injuries the Skins could have him towed away this off season. The rest of the possibilities aren’t really possibilities. Ladell Betts is most likely done due to his age and multiple knee injuries and Quinton Ganther and Rock Cartwright barely are good enough to play on special teams. Dan Snyder loves throwing money at players and if Shanahan says boo, McGahee has a good shot at being a Redskin next season.
2. San Diego: This game is tough on running backs and even though L.T. is one of the greatest of all time, his days in San diego are numbered. With a base salary of 5 million and a 2 million dollar option bonus if he stays with the team in 2010, the 3.3 yards per carry Tomlinson is gone. Nobody in San Diego believes that Darren Sproles can be an every down back so they will be looking in free agency and in the draft. McGahee makes sense because the Bolts still have a team that is primed for a run at the Super Bowl next season and there is a chance that McGahee only has one good year left.
3. Detroit: The Lions have lost faith in Kevin Smith (I agree, that dudes’ movies have gone downhill!) and depending on how severe his injuries are he may not even be ready for the beginning of next season. Maurice Morris made a good effort at the end of the season, but he is not a starting running back in this league. The Lions are a young team and McGahee probably doesn’t have much time left in the NFL. Do they pay him just to help them win one or two extra games at most or do they go younger? The draft isn’t stacked at running back, but there are 4-5 backs that could turn out to be starters. They should probably worry about grabbing one of them instead of McGahee.
4. New England: Bill Belichick loves his old running backs. Kevin Faulk and Fred Taylor could be gone and that would leave Sammy Morris and Laurence Maroney. I believe Belichick will be interested in him, but McGahee might want a more stable starting job and more money than the Patriots will be willing to pay him. I just believe San Diego and Washington are more desperate than the Pats.
5. Houston: The Texans may have found their man in Arian Foster, but he is no sure thing. Steve Slaton has probably lost his job to Foster and if he’s lucky he’ll be the third down back. Texans beat writer John McClain (who was either in Die Hard or ran for President, I’m not sure) believes they will grab a RB in the draft. They are stacked in the passing game and if they can find that running back to grab those tough yards they could do something next year. It’s a long shot, but the Texans will take a look at McGahee.
6. Tampa Bay: Derrick Ward, Cadillac Williams and Earnest Graham aren’t starting running backs in the NFL. Yes, Caddy had a great comeback year, but in reality he still averaged under 4 yards a carry and eeked out just over 800 yards. Even though he played in every game he still lived on the injury report with his pals Ward and Graham. The Bucs aren’t built to win next season so I doubt they will go after McGahee, but they are going to need a running back if they want to contend in the next hundred years or so.
In conclusion, draft Ray Rice!! Yes, McGahee leaving would be huge for Rice. I don’t want to see Rice top 300 rushing attempts, but I do want to see him get into the end zone more next season. With McGahee gone, McClain could see some of those goal line looks, but Rice will no doubt be more productive.
McGahee’s value will depend on his situation next season. With San Diego he would be in a great situation to score and in Washington he would see a lot of touches as long as Portis is gone. If I were Willis those would be my choices and I think in fantasy he could be very usable. His injury history would make him risky, but if he’s a starter, you have to grab him at some point.