Beanie Wells needs 766 yards rushing in Week 17 for his second consecutive season with at least 1,000.
The odds are higher that Wells will return to the Arizona Cardinals for a fifth season with the team. How much higher? That one is open to interpretation.
2009 Draft Rushing Leaders
The subject hadn't even occurred to me before Wells brought it up this week. The team's quarterback situation has been that consuming.
If the Cardinals were to convene a summit to discuss their most pressing issues entering the offseason, where would Wells' future rank? General manager, head coach and quarterback would comprise the top three. Upgrading the offensive line would rank right up there.
The situation at running back would rank among the top five, probably.
Ryan Williams will presumably be back despite having suffered two season-ending injuries since Arizona made him a second-round pick in 2011. Wells, a first-round choice in 2009, has missed 12 games over the past three seasons. Together, the two highly drafted backs have missed more than 40 percent of regular-season games.
The past four years have proved that Arizona cannot count on Wells for consistently excellent performance. He has started 23 of 47 possible games over the past three seasons. Even when Wells rushed for 1,047 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, he was limping toward the finish line on a bad knee. He underwent surgery in the offseason. The team took a cautious approach to his return.
Wells suffered a turf toe injury that sidelined him from Week 4 through Week 11. He has yet to average more than 3.9 yards per carry in a game this season despite scoring three rushing touchdowns against Detroit in Week 15.
The unforced fumble Wells lost in defeat to Chicago last week played a leading role in coach Ken Whisenhunt benching Wells despite limited options at the position. A running back with greater equity built up would have gotten additional chances. Wells hasn't built up that equity.