It seems the professional football world hates 30-something-year-old running backs more and more every year. Only 18 months removed from a season in which he averaged 4.8 yards per carry and fell just a single yard short of the 1,200-yard mark, Willis McGahee was released by the Denver Broncos today. Now, McGahee joins a list of recently prominent but soon-to-be forgotten running backs wasting away on the open market.
The Discarded Running Backs Club
Willis McGahee, 31(4.4 yards per carry and 731 yards in 10 games in 2012)
Michael Turner, 31 (4.5 yards per carry and 1,340 yards in 2011)
Peyton Hillis, 27 (4.4 yards per carry and 1,177 yards in 2010)
Cedric Benson, 30 (1,027 yards in 2011)
Beanie Wells, 24 (first-round pick in 2009)
Ryan Grant, 30 (4.4 yards per carry and 1,253 yards in 2009)
And Ahmad Bradshaw only freed himself from that list a few days ago when he signed with the Indianapolis Colts.
What's crazy is that injuries aren't a major factor with most of these guys. Hell, two are well under the age of 30, but they sure feel a lot older. Running backs age terribly and teams no longer care for them in this pass-happy era.
"I knew it was going to happen. It is what it is," McGahee told ESPN's Josina Anderson. "They are going younger."
Younger, but not with large investments. Not a single back was taken in the first round this past, and only Trent Richardson and C.J. Spiller have gone in the top 10 the last five years. Expect that trend to continue, because backs have become too replaceable and interchangeable nowadays.