Broncos Sign Jamaal Charles
Michael Nazarek - 5/2/2017
After languishing in free-agency this off-season, free-agent RB Jamaal Charles finally got a team to bite on his services for one year, and today that team was the Denver Broncos. The one-year contract is worth up to $3.75 million, with a base value of $900,000. Charles also has an additional $100,000 workout bonus and can make up to $3.75 million if he hits game-day, 46-roster bonus thresholds and incentives. Coming off a torn ACL a few years ago with complications that kept him mostly sidelined for 2016, Charles has a lot to prove.
"They say it’s a business, but it’s personal as well," Charles said about his release from the Kansas City Chiefs. "It is what is." He'll get to face them twice in 2017, but his health is the biggest concern here. "I still feel like I can play ball and still keep up with the young people," he said. Obviously, he will get his chance, but can Charles regain enough pop in his game to push RB C.J. Anderson out of a starting job? That is the question fantasy footballers really want answered. And any hint of an answer is unlikely to come until training camp is well underway.
At this point, everything points to a younger Anderson carrying most of the load as the starter, provided he remains healthy. Remember, a torn meniscus in his knee kept him off the field for the vast majority of 2016, but he's said to be healthy now. Charles is an excellent pass-catcher out of the backfield, so look for the Broncos to use him as a change-of-pace to the bruising running of Anderson. Second-year RB DeVontae Booker is likely to start as the team's #2 RB, at least until Charles proves that he's 100%. Right now, Charles is said to be about 90% healthy, but the real tests won't come until he's let loose to fully practice later this summer.
The addition of Charles to the Broncos backfield obviously reduces the fantasy value of Anderson, but it's not like he was a solid #1 RB to begin with, especially coming off his own injury issues. Fantasy owners with early drafts this summer (before training camp begins) should probably treat Anderson as the 1A back, while Charles is the 1B back. If both get to 100% health and stay that way, we could be looking at an ugly RBBC, one where Booker could see 20% of the touches even while Anderson and Charles play. If that scenario plays out, then Anderson is a risky #3 fantasy RB at best. As for Charles, he could produce some big plays here and there, but don't expect anywhere near the volume of touches he used to see as a Chief before this knee injury. Remember, Charles turned the big 3-0 in December. To most RBs, that age represents a big cliff, one where unless your name is Curtis Martin, there's nothing but a steep decline in your future!
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