Free-agent running back Lamar Miller has a simple goal in free agency. He want to find a team that will give him 20 touches a game.
"I want to be a featured back," Miller said. "... I want the recognition I deserve."
Could, or should, the New York Giants be the team that offers that to Miller? The Giants used their running back by committee approach much of last season before finally leaning on veteran Rashad Jennings over the final few games. Miller, who turns 25 in April, has averaged 4.6 yards per carry during four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, three as their nominal featured back.
Miller averaged slightly more than 15 touches per game in 2015, gaining 872 yards on 194 carries and catching 47 passes. He gained 1,099 yards in 2014, carrying a career-high 216 times (13.5 per game) and catching 38 passes. He wants more. Should the Giants be the team that gives it to him?
We recently profiled Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin as a potential target for the Giants. Pro Football Focus considers Martin the top running back on the market and Miller No. 2. PFF points out that using their grading system MIller's performance has improved every season of his career. Per PFF:
As well as forcing 28 missed tackles as a runner this year, Miller improved his chances of being a three-down back somewhere in the NFL by catching 47 passes and dropping just two, after dropping six in 2014. The new regime in Miami might realize the errors of those that have come before them and make locking Miller up long-term a priority, but if not, he's unlikely to be short of suitors when free agency rolls around.
In a league where running back age is considered a major factor, the idea that the 5-foot-10, 225-pound Miller will be only 25 next season and that the Dolphins has not exactly worn him out will appeal to many teams. Spotrac's Calculated Market Value for Miller is four years, $20.3 million, just above $5 million annually. Martin, by comparison, is said to be aiming for $8 million annually.
Is Miller worth that kind of money, and worth giving 20 touches per game? SB Nations Dolphins website, The Phinsider, figured out that only eight running backs got that many touches per game in 2015.
Would you like to see the Giants abandon their committee, sign Miller, and see if he can handle the job of being a true workhorse back?