Grading the Redskins 2020 free-agent signings: Running backs

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TAMPA, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 29: Peyton Barber #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs with the ball against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Raymond James Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

With numerous holes to fill on this 3-13 Redskins squad, Ron Rivera and the new Redskins regime took action to provide much-needed depth and consistency at the running back position. After signing two proven backs that fill different roles, what’s the grade for the Redskins running back signings in 2020?

Due to injury and age, the Washington Redskins have been thin at running back for quite some time. After the signings of Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic in free agency, the ‘Skins have bolstered the position to now be one of strength.

The Washington Redskins took running back as a serious need in the 2020 offseason. With Adrian Peterson now coming towards the end of his career and running backs Derrius Guice and Bryce Love both struggling to stay healthy and/or coming off of injury, the Redskins signed two running backs who can fill the void of durability (in Barber’s case), versatility, and pass-catching ability.

While the signings weren’t home runs, they filled a need that’s been haunting the Redskins for several seasons. The importance of having a consistent pass-catching running back grows by the season in the modern NFL. While the Redskins had one of the best third-down backs in the game in Chris Thompson, his injury woes and concerns ultimately put the Redskins at a deficit for that role.

With the void Thompson’s injuries left at a dynamic role that the Redskins needed to be filled, Washington took full advantage and struck on two versatile backs. McKissic and Barber are both coming off seasons where they played in every game and both also started in a few contests.

The signings of both Barber and McKissic aren’t a huge risk either. Barber is signed to a one-year deal. McKissic is on a two-year deal. But both involve low guaranteed money totals. So in reality, if it works out for the Skins, they’ll wind up with a productive back at a low cost. If not, they can move on from the veterans at a minimal financial impact.

So, the grades for both of these low-cost veterans should be an A+, right? Not necessarily.

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