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NFL trade deadline, free agency: Top running back targets for the Browns

Jerome Ford is expected to miss a few weeks of action, so here are some of the likely candidates to replace him.

Kansas City Chiefs v New York Jets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Jerome Ford is dealing with a sprained ankle that he suffered against the Indianapolis Colts in week 7, and he’ll seemingly be out at least 1-2 weeks. In the meantime, the Cleveland Browns are likely to add another running back to help carry some of the load alongside Kareem Hunt.

Here are some of the most likely targets in both free agency as well as the trade market based on a few different factors.

Free Agents

  • Leonard Fournette

2022 Stats: 189 attempts-668 rushing yds-3TD/73 receptions-523 rec. yds-3TD

PFF Grade: 68.0

Projected FA Contract: 1 year, $1.5M-$2.5M

  • Ronald Jones II

2022 Stats: 17 attempts-70 rushing yds-1 TD/ 1 receptions-22 rec. yds

PFF Grade: 70.1

Projected FA Contract: 1 year, $1M-$1.5M

  • Darrel Williams

2022 Stats: 21 attempts-102 rushing yds-1 TD/4 receptions-9 rec. yds

PFF Grade: 64.9

Projected FA Contract: 1 year. $900K-$1.25M

  • Kenyan Drake

2022 Stats: 109 attempts-482 rushing yds-4 TD/17 receptions-89 rec. yds-1 TD

PFF Grade: 53.1

Projected FA Contract: 1 year, $1M-$1.5M

  • Dontrell Hilliard

2022 Stats: 22 attempts-145 rushing yards-0 TD/ 21 receptions-177 rec. yds-4 TD

PFF Grade: 67.1

Projected FA Contract: 1 year, $800K-$1.1M

WIth the NFL trade deadline just around the corner, the current trade market for the running back position is hard to gauge right now. That is especially due to how crucial they are to special teams performance in today’s age.

For example, a potential trade target could be former Cleveland Brown and current Jacksonville Jaguars RB D’Ernest Johnson. Schematically and financially he would be a great fit, but he’s one of Jacksonville’s top special teams players so they might not want to move him.

These are the attributes that Cleveland might be looking for in terms of a trade candidate:

  1. Contract crossover of $3M-$4M or less depending on years left on their current deal.
  2. Could be open to playing a role on special teams.
  3. Could step in and contribute immediately, while being satisfied with a split/depth role when Jerome Ford returns in 2023.
  4. Will be able to acquire them without giving up a substantial asset package.

Trade Candidates

Cordarrelle Patterson - Atlanta Falcons

Dalvin Cook - New York Jets

DeeJay Dallas - Seattle Seahawks

JaMycal Hasty - Jacksonville Jaguars

Mike Boone - Houston Texans

Each player listed here has displayed the ability to produce when given the opportunity, and most likely meets at least three out of the four attributes above.

Who do you think the Browns should add at running back?