Two-time Pro-Bowler and former Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was cut by the franchise on March 1st, and two months later, Charles is now playing with the rival Denver Broncos. The veteran signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the team on Tuesday.
This is a weird situation, as Denver already has a diverse backfield in C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker. The nine-year veteran used to be a top running back in the league, as he was proven to be one of the most elusive at his position. After a series of injuries, including a torn ACL on both knees, Charles has since fallen off his pedestal and spent most of his time on the injury reserve list.
So, what kind of impact can we expect out of Charles this year in Denver? On a one-year deal, I don’t see him making much of an impact at all. I believe his signing was more for depth and/or a veteran presence in a very young Denver offense and running back core. Charles is by no means a poor running back, and he’s actually still very serviceable. His only issue is his reliability and health.
The last three years, Charles has had his season ended on injury reserve. His days in Kansas City were numbered, and it was not very surprising to see him go. Signing with Denver was a very surprising move, and Charles had this to say on the matter:
“I always wanted to play in Denver, growing up John Elway was my favorite player. I just like the environment, the team, and the organization.”
I do not think Charles will be the #1 back by any means with Anderson improving year by year, but I do not doubt he will get a significant amount of touches throughout the 2017-18 season. He still has the ability to play football and be successful (not on the same level he used to be), as long as he stays healthy.
With training camps coming up, and preseason around the corner, we will be able to see just what Charles is going to bring to this extremely young Denver offense, and maybe what kind of role he will have with this new team.