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Instant Debate

2016 NFL Free Agency: Which talented running back tickles your fancy?

With free agency less than a month away (March 9), it's time to take a look at who could be available on the open market. And one position that stands out is running back, with eight guys who eclipsed 700 rushing yards in 2015:

» Doug Martin (27 years old): 1,402 yards in 2015.
» Chris Ivory (27): 1,070 yards.
» Matt Forte (30): 898 yards.
» Lamar Miller (24): 872 yards.
» Ronnie Hillman (24): 863 yards.
» Chris Johnson (30): 814 yards.
» Alfred Morris (27): 751 yards.
» LeGarrette Blount (29): 703 yards.

Taking potential price tag, mileage and age into account, which running back intrigues you the most?

The guy who intrigues me the most is Lamar Miller. He has tons of talent, but we haven't see it all come to fruition yet. He's right in the prime of his career, and I really think that, if he is united with the right offense, he could have a breakthrough year. Matt Forte is only going to go somewhere that provides him with a chance to win. He's a realist and isn't going to demand a huge salary. While New England seems like an ideal place for his multi-purpose skill set, Forte paired with Thomas Rawls in Seattle seems pretty formidable. If I am the Bills, I'm looking into Forte (who shares the same agent as QB Tyrod Taylor), especially with LeSean McCoy's uncertain situation. Dallas and Washington also seem like solid fits.

Wherever he goes, Forte could have the same impact as DeAngelo Williams did in Pittsburgh last season: as a reliable vet who can complement or start. He's young. He's healthy. And Joe Philbin didn't run him too much (because he was too busy running the Dolphins into the ground). Lamar Miller had a career year in 2014, he's averaged 4.8 YPC over his last two seasons -- and despite playing in a pass-heavy scheme in 2015, he tied a career high in touchdowns (eight, three fewer than the league leaders).

If he stays in Miami, he'll play under his third head coach in his fifth year with the 
Dolphins and possibly split carries with 
Jay Ajayi. If he goes, don't be surprised if he lands with the 
the team he 
grew up cheering. 

My choice is Lamar Miller. First off, I like his age; he will turn 25 in April. Secondly, I like the fact that Miller hasn't carried the ball a lot, relatively speaking. Sometimes you see players who have carried the ball 300 or more times in a season; Miller's career high is 216 attempts in 2014. Miller won't be worn out, because he hasn't logged so many carries, both in college at Miami (Fla.) and in the NFL.

On the field, Miller brings really good quickness, strength and durability; over the last three years, there's only been one game that he didn't start. Also, Miller can catch the ball out of the backfield and will block. In 2014, Miller had a touchdown run of 97 yards -- the third-longest run in NFL history -- and that tells you something about his long speed. Matt Forte is my No. 1 -- by far. People have concerns because Forte is 30, but that means nothing to me. The guy is in flawless shape. I think he has a lot of wear and tear on him and is the most complete back. He's been one of the best backs in our league for five years, but he just hasn't been used consistently in the right way. If he ends up in New England and stays healthy, he'll probably have 2,000 all-purpose yards. He'll be a nightmare.

If you're looking for the second-most complete back on this list, it would be Doug Martin. But my second pick would go to Chris Ivory. He's a hard-hitting back who intimidates defenses. Of all the available running backs, Miller stands out to me. He's younger and still dynamic as a runner and receiver. I believe he hasn't been utilized to maximize his talents in his first four NFL seasons. If I'm willing to gamble on a player, I want someone who is under 25 years old and still has a lot of upside. Even at 30 years old, Matt Forte can probably be the biggest asset out of all these guys on this list. As far as total scrimmage yards, he's the best as a receiver/running back. He can bring a lot to a veteran team.

I like Doug Martin, as well. I see him in a Dallas Cowboy uniform next season, behind a great offensive line. Given the success the Cowboys had in the Scott Linehan system with DeMarco Murray, I think Martin would be a perfect fit in Big D.

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