The running back situation in Tampa heading into the 2018 offseason was a dire one. After parting ways with Doug Martin and finishing 27th in rushing, the Buccaneers only had two running backs under contract in Peyton Barber (re-signed) and Jacquizz Rodgers. The Bucs brought back Charles Sims on a one-year deal and drafted Ronald Jones II with the 38th overall pick in the NFL draft. With the upgrades made to the offensive line and Jones and Sims in the fold, problem solved, right? Not so fast.
I think the Bucs would do well to add another solid running back before training camp begins. With that said, Tampa Bay should bring in Orleans Darkwa.
The New York Giants opted not to re-sign their leading rusher in 2017 after selecting Saquon Barkley with the #2 overall pick. Despite the fact that the Giants offensive line struggled last season, Darkwa was still productive. He ran for 751 yards on only 171 attempts for a respectable 4.4 ypc average, ripped off 6 runs of 20+ yards, 2 of 40+ and scored 5 touchdowns. By comparison, Doug Martin and Peyton Barber combined for only 78 more yards on 75 more carries last season and 1 more touchdown. Darkwa has good size (5’11 215lb) good speed and is only 26 years old. The Giants didn’t use him much in the passing game, but he caught 19 of his 28 targets for 119 yards and the Bucs wouldn’t necessarily need him to be productive in the passing game anyway with Sims back in the fold.
I don’t know what his contract demands are, but he counted $1-million against the Giants cap last season. The Bucs don’t have a ton of cap money to throw around, but adding a player like Darkwa shouldn’t be too expensive and would add proven depth in the rotation in case of injury. At this point in the offseason adding little pieces here and there might not look like much, but they can be just as important as the big money free agency signings fans crave. Darkwa could be that important piece.