McGahee to have limited impact in Denver

July, 29, 2011
7/29/11
12:50
PM ET
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting the Denver Broncos have agreed to terms with former Baltimore running back Willis McGahee.

My professional opinion? Meh.

McGahee
McGahee
Sorry, I just don’t get fired up about older running backs getting the type of money that indicates they'll be expected to make major contributions. That’s what McGahee, who was just cut by the Ravens, received. He reportedly received a three-year, $7.5 million deal with $3 million in guaranteed money. That’s decent cake for a running back who will turn 30 early in the season.

Running backs fall off the proverbial NFL cliff faster and harder than players at any other position. So, expecting McGahee to be the answer to Denver’s running game woes is a bit of a stretch. He had 100 carries for 380 yards in 2010. That’s not exactly bell-cow back material. He did have a nice season in 2009 when he averaged 5.0 yards a carry and he scored 12 touchdowns on 109 carries.

I don’t think you can expect a whole lot from a player who has carried the ball a total of 209 times in the past two seasons. Shortly before the lockout ended, new Denver coach John Fox said finding a running back would be the team’s top priority and snagging McGahee is Denver’s first real move.

But is it enough, especially for a coach like Fox who relies on the run? The Broncos lost out on DeAngelo Williams, who played for Fox in Carolina.

So, McGahee is a backup plan. And I get the feeling he will end up being a backup in Denver.

This puts more pressure on third-year running back Knowshon Moreno. He has struggled to show he can be a top back since being the No. 12 overall pick in 2009.

With McGahee looking more like a complementary back, it is vital that Moreno takes his game to the next level in 2011 or Denver will likely be addressing the position again next offseason.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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