6 free-agent running backs the Commanders could sign in 2024

The Commanders have room for more than one new running back, but who will they choose in free agency?
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Commanders pass-catcher: Jerick McKinnon

Acquiring a running back with wide receiver-style traits would give the Washington Commanders the chance to utilize a versatile back in more effective ways than they ever managed with Antonio Gibson. A veteran like Jerick McKinnon would find targets and receptions easy to come by within Kliff Kingsbury's schemes.

McKinnon has two 50-plus catch seasons to his credit and has proved a clutch performer in the postseason. The latter quality helped him win a pair of Super Bowls with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Andy Reid knew how to unleash McKinnon from various alignments to get behind coverage. The mix of concepts and talent helped him snag 13 touchdown receptions in two seasons, including four in 2023.

McKinnon beats coverage with shifty moves, a low center of gravity, and impressive play speed once he gets the ball in his hands. All of those qualities were on display when he reeled in this catch against the Miami Dolphins in Week 9.

Catching passes out of the backfield is a useful skill, especially since it's also a valuable safety valve for a rookie quarterback. The Commanders will likely draft one with either the second or even first-overall pick, and any first-year signal-caller would find McKinnon a reliable check-down option.

Kingsbury would also find plenty of ways to move the 31-year-old across formations. Like the Chiefs did when McKinnon scored from the slot against the Denver Broncos.

Putting McKinnon in the offense would be a low-cost way of adding a roving playmaker for third-down and passing situations. It's what J.D. McKissic was once and Gibson never became.

McKinnon is better than both, but he's not the only Super Bowl-winning bargain available in this market.