Darren McFadden has never been able to live up to his billing as the 4th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and was never able to live up to his huge 2010 season, in which he rushed for 1157 yards and 7 touchdowns on 223 carries (5.2 yards per carry) and added 47 catches for another 501 yards and 3 scores. In 3 seasons since, he’s played a total of 29 games out of 48 and rushed for just 1700 yards and 11 touchdowns on 446 carries (3.8 yards per carry).
This season, he was Pro Football Focus’ 2nd worst ranked running back. Even with the big 2010 season, he’s never played more than 13 games in a season or had more than 223 carries or 270 touches. In his 2nd straight season of sub-3.5 yards per carry in 2013, he was benched for backup Rashad Jennings following an injury. McFadden supporters always seem to make excuses for him, blaming the blocking scheme, and the lack of supporting talent, or injuries, but at a certain point when he needs to be written off as a bust.
This 1-year, 4 million dollar deal won’t hurt the Raiders long-term, but they’re giving him another chance to be the starter when I don’t think he deserves it. Even if it is a one-year deal, this contract has an annual value higher than every other running back signed this off-season, including Ben Tate (2 years, 7 million) Joique Bell (3 years, 9.3 million), Donald Brown (3 years, 10.5 million), and Rashad Jennings (4 years, 14 million). Guys like Andre Brown, Knowshon Moreno, and Maurice Jones-Drew, all still available, probably will get less than 4 million yearly as well when they end up getting signed.
Most of, if not all of those running backs are better than McFadden. The Raiders would have been better off re-signing Jennings to a contract similar to the one the Giants gave him. Jennings, with the Raiders last year, rushed for 733 yards and 6 touchdowns on 163 carries, an average of 4.5 yards per carry, and added 36 catches for 292 yards through the air, taking over as the starter for Darren McFadden mid-season. Even if they didn’t want to go that direction, there were a number of better things they could have done at the running back position this off-season.