Many of the older veteran players out there are being forced to wait to get their opportunity to sign; likely due to teams trying to get the rest of their roster straight first via the draft. Jamaal Charles is one of these players; he was released by the Chiefs last month after spending most of 2016 on the sideline due to taking longer than expected to recover from his torn ACL from 2015. With the Chiefs having come up with players like Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West and even Tyreek Hill as a reverse runner, they have little need for a veteran who at this point may or may not have much left in the tank, so releasing Charles was a decision that made sense for them.
But, when you’ve had a strong career in general, you’re probably going to get signed at some point. Charles will likely get picked up eventually by some team with a struggling running game that is willing to give him a shot. A couple teams that come to mind that could plausibly be interested include the Giants and Ravens (who still haven’t re-signed Terrance West and have virtually no one else). But what if he decided he wanted to stay in the AFC West and get at least one revenge game against Kansas City?
Of course, not all players are prone to do this type of thing. But some are. Tony Romo had actually suggested at one time before he retired instead that he wanted to play against the Cowboys next year (not necessarily strictly in the NFC East, though). It’s almost always a possibility, even if it doesn’t always happen.
Regarding the other AFC West teams and their needs for running backs, the Chargers wouldn’t really need him with Melvin Gordon leading the way for them and Branden Oliver being a good backup when healthy. The Broncos and Raiders, on the other hand…
The Broncos’ running game last season was part of the reason they fell apart down the stretch (though the offensive line was likely the biggest issue). CJ Anderson got hurt, and Devontae Booker was a bit iffy at times during his rookie year. Anderson will likely be back this year, and he’s a good back, but not a top tier one. Adding Charles to go alongside or perhaps even above him wouldn’t hurt their rushing attack—it could even make it better.
Now the deal with the Raiders is, they are currently pursuing Marshawn Lynch to be their new main back in the wake of Latavius Murray’s unexpected exit. But, the Seahawks still own his rights so they either have to cut him or trade his rights. There’s always the possibility that none of those things end up happening (perhaps to keep the Raiders from getting him) and Lynch ends up staying retired, since it’s apparently Raiders or bust for him. If that ends up happening, they’ll be left without hardly any running game. Enter Jamaal Charles,? They could still get a veteran back that way, and have a bit more depth on the chart that currently begins with Jalen Richard, a still relatively unknown guy. If Lynch doesn’t end up going to Oakland, this could be the best place for Charles to go if he’s looking for more touches, other than Baltimore.
Of course, what could end up happening instead is Jamaal Charles signs with somebody, and turns out to be washed up and either gets a season-ending injury again or retires midway through the season a la Arian Foster and Andre Johnson.
Or what could also happen is that he could have a respectable season in helping some other team to a playoff berth, while also perhaps mowing down his former Chiefs teammates for over 100 yards if he gets the chance. That would be something to watch. He may not get signed for a while longer, but it’s a situation that might be worth keeping an eye on.