03 May 2012
With the Detroit Lions badly in need of running back depth and veteran Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant currently a free agent, both parties are mulling if there is a match. The Lions believe so, as they have reportedly made Grant a contract offer.
The Green Bay Packers did not pick a running back during the 2012 NFL Draft, and if they want to keep veteran Ryan Grant in their backfield rotation, they’re probably going to have to make a decision soon on the unrestricted free agent.
Grant, who visited the New England Patriots on April 20 and is thought to have received an offer from them, is now considering an offer from the Packers’ NFC North division rival Detroit Lions, agent Alan Herman said Thursday.
A couple things to keep in mind before anyone even thinks of getting excited. There's a few caveats in regard to Grant.
1. NFL running backs rarely age well. Grant is 29 years old, turning 30 in the final month of the 2012 season.
2. After heavy use in 2008 and 2009, with 312 and 282 carries respectively, Grant broke down. He suffered a season ending ankle injury in the Packers' opener in 2010, and bruised a kidney (and other assorted knicks) in 2011. If Grant returned to the Packers in 2012, he would be behind James Starks and quite likely Alex Green on the Packers' depth chart.
3. Grant's 4.2 YPC in 2011 was the second lowest of his career. He looks to be on the decline, due to a combination of age, wear and tear. At 29 years of age, that's not exactly a surprise.
Would I take a flier on Grant? Sure. He's not going to command an expensive, long-term contract and the Lions might catch lightning in a bottle if Grant can hold off Father Time for a season. It's not likely, but it could happen.
Grant has a solid track record, and if healthy, could take over the role Maurice Morris had with the Lions the past couple of seasons. That of a veteran back who knows how to play the game and can step into in the lineup without missing a beat. That kind of depth is always nice to have around.
But if Grant does come to an agreement with the Lions, I suggest keeping expectations in check. He is not the same back who had 16 touchdowns and 2769 yards from scrimmage in 2008-2009, and won't ever be again. But Grant could have enough left in the tank to be a serviceable veteran backup for the Lions.
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