NFL free-agency is less than a month away, and we have been looking at potential targets for the Buccaneers. Our third running back in the search up to this point is Isaiah Crowell.
The soon to be former Browns player turned possible Buccaneers addition has been all but overshadowed by Duke Johnson on the only NFL franchise he’s ever played for.
As impressive as he was, he’s still just two years removed from being an undrafted free-agent out of Auburn.
Let’s look at Crowell as a potential running mate and see if it makes sense for Jason Licht to make him a target once free-agency begins.
Isaiah Crowell’s Career
Crowell was a talented runner who entered the college scene with Georgia and was subsequently named the 2012 Freshman of the Year.
Then, legal trouble reared it’s ugly head and the running back finished his collegiate career with Alabama State University before going undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Signed by Cleveland, it’s an accomplishment and sign of growth that he has not only stayed out of trouble in the NFL but become a starter.
He’s never broken 1,000-yards rushing and has never had more than eight rushing touchdowns. It’s completely possible though, this is a result of playing in Cleveland more than anything.
Now, he’s got his chance to find a new home and a new start. At 25-years old, he’s still plenty young to draw a three-year deal which he could turn into even more money on his next deal if he can turn into a Top-15 or Top-10 NFL running back.
Why the Buccaneers Need Him
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This answer is easy. They need a running back.
His value to the Bucs franchise is going to depend wholly on the offensive strategy the team looks to run in 2018.
If Dirk Koetter wants complimentary backs, then Crowell simply isn’t the guy. He’s not a carbon copy of Barber, but they’re too much alike to justify increasing Barber’s normal workload and sign Crowell to a free-agent contract. More on this later.
However, if the Bucs want a similar style of runner, then Crowell is a guy with real promise and a decent price tag.
What Will Crowell Cost?
Statistically speaking, Crowell compares well to the Saints’ Mark Ingram. He also compares well in playing style, just like Barber does.
On his current contract, which Ingram signed at 25-years old – which is how old Crowell is – he makes $4 Million annually on average.
So, given how NFL salaries work, we can assume Crowell will be looking to draw around $5 Million annually.
Not a bad number for a guy who has four straight years rushing for 600-yards or more…
How sad is it that, that is a good stat for Bucs fans?
Will It Happen?
I have to say no. He’s an interesting guy to look at, and I can see why some fans are enamored with him. But I have to believe this coaching staff is looking for players who can help them do what other teams have proven is successful.
All three NFC South teams had a two-headed rushing attack, and all three finished in the Top-13 with two finishing Top-5 in NFL rushing. Of course, the Panthers have an added rushing weapon, but the trend still fits.
Given the similarities between Barber and Crowell, the Bucs need to target a change-up player, not a guy who is going to bring more of the same.
For those reasons alone, I don’t believe Licht brings Crowell onto the roster.
What are your thoughts on Isaiah Crowell joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Let me know in the comments or on social media to discuss.
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