Arian Foster has been one of the most dynamic running backs in the NFL during his career. With that being said, the Houston Texans franchise should look to improve the team by cutting the aging running back Arian Foster and moving on to younger prospects.
Last season, it was Andre Johnson. Some fans didn’t like the decision, but it was the right thing to do. It was time to let Andre fly free, to go to a new team, and find a fresh start for himself.
Some fans were worried, as Andre had been the teams leading WR since almost the beginning. How would the Texans replace him? How do you replace a guy that has set every franchise receiving record, is 9th all-time in receptions, and carried the group on his back for 12 seasons?
Well even though some of us knew prior to this season, we all now know how: a little guy named DeAndre Hopkins. You might have heard of him. First round pick in 2013, Pro Bowler in 2015, sideline acrobat extraordinaire.
So why do I bring this up? Because in 2015 the Texans made a decision to let go of an aging veteran, who cost the team millions, and let a much younger player get time in the spotlight.
I believe that now is the time to take the same approach with running back Arian Foster.
“But wait!”, you say. “How can we possibly release such a dynamic player? A player who goes above and beyond any other at his position, a player who has been an icon for years?!?”
Well it’s quite simple, actually. It’s basic math.
Here’s a little stat for you: The Texans’ 6th round pick from 2014, Alfred Blue, has averaged 39.4 yards per game this year, which ranks 37th among all qualified running backs this season (per ESPN). He’s also averaged 3.7 yards per carry, which is a bit below average. I’d say these stats aren’t terribly good for a team’s leading rusher, even if the Texans are running a time share in the backfield.
Blue’s stats compare quite similarly to Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell. That’s right, our leading rusher is a good as the Cleveland Browns’. Yuck.
So what about Foster? He must have performed better in the 4 games he was in?
Nope. Foster’s line? 40.8 yards per game, 2.6 yards per carry. You know who on the Texans averaged more YPC than Foster? If you said “Everyone but T.J. Yates,” you’re correct! Even Ryan Mallett had more YPC than Foster. Double yuck.
Obviously, Foster has lost his magic touch. But this season’s stats aren’t the only argument to release him. Arian Foster will be 30 next year, which is the age in which most RB’s start to decline. Foster also has a huge history of injury, which won’t be going away as he only played in 4 games this year.
Another factor? His contract. According to Sportrac.com, Foster is projected to be paid $9.3 million next season alone. The cost of the other four running backs in the rotation this year? $2.05 million. The Texans can save a huge amount of money by cutting Foster next season.
And although the team has been missing #23 most of the season, getting rid of Foster will give one of the other running backs to become the new leader of the group, giving each young guy more confidence and playing time.
It may be tough to swallow, but moving on from team icons is a part of every franchise, and the reign of Arian Foster should not be the exception to this rule.