The 2023 free agent class at running back is about as stacked as I can remember. While that may change once franchise tags are assigned, as of late January Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, David Montgomery, Tony Pollard, Kareem Hunt, Miles Sanders, Devin Singletary, Damien Harris, and more are set to hit the open market this offseason.
One thing is certain, there are not enough chairs for all the backs available. Several will get left out in the cold or moved into secondary roles. While that's probably not the car for Barkley and Jacobs, there is at least some risk they move into committees after being just about the closest thing the NFL has to feature backs. For both backs, the best-case scenario is likely that they stay with their current teams in their current roles.
Even with that risk of a reduced workload, Barkley and Jacobs aren't falling more than a tier in the next six months barring a major injury. Guys like Montgomery and Pollard could be at more risk. Pollard is coming off an injury that could slow down his process and Montgomery is at a weird place where he could rightly believe he's a feature guy even as NFL teams remain unsure. Miles Sanders and the guys below them could fall even further.
If I was picking. perfect landing spot for all five it would look like this:
- Barkley stays on the Giants and they improve the offense around him without adding a 1B.
- Jacobs signs with the Falcons and Arthur Smith treats him like Derrick Henry.
- Montgomery signs with the Chiefs and reunites with Matt Nagy.
- Pollard signs with the Raiders to replace Josh Jacobs.
- Sanders lands in Carolina and they choose not to bring back D'Onta Foreman.
The more important thing to remember may be to not make too much out of initial signings. Last year we saw Chase Edmonds earn the first contract for a running back and by the end of the year, he wasn't even on the Dolphins. It's quite possible someone like Sanders of Hunt signs early in what looks to be a feature role and then sees their new team draft a rookie in the first three rounds.
Here are my updated Dynasty Tiers and running back: