Is Running Back Chris Thompson a Viable Option for the Buccaneers?

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It’s no secret the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need more help in the backfield. Chris Thompson may fill a void for the team. The former Redskin is a pass-catching running back that could compliment Ronald Jones II.

Washington Redskins

A draftee out of Florida State, Thompson has been with the Redskins since 2013. Selected in the fifth-round 154th overall, Thompson was to be the complement to Alfred Morris. The two provided a one-two punch in Washington and provided an exciting duo. Thompson has remained with the Redskins throughout his entire career until this offseason.

Statistics and Skillset

The veteran is a pass-catching specialist with a serviceable rush attack. Averaging 4.8 yards-per-carry over his career, Thompson saw his lowest average last season at 3.7 yards-per-carry. In the only 16 game season Thompson has mustered, he rushed 69 times to the tune of 356 yards on the season. In five seasons, Thompson averaged 41.2 passes a year. He racked up his highest total yardage in 2015 with 510 yards and four touchdowns. That year he averaged 13.1 yards per catch. Subsequently, in 2015, statistically, that was his best year.

Thompson has 1,772 yards receiving to his 1,194 yards rushing. Over his career, he has averaged 8.4 yards a catch and hauled in ten touchdowns. This has come while splitting time and playing in 37% of the offensive snaps over his time in Washington in the last five years.

It should be noted that the Redskins, during Thompson’s time there, saw influxes of running backs of varying skill levels and traits. This made for a continuous period when he could have been used more. Additionally, the Redskins always seemed to drown in controversy and mismanagement.

Red Flag

With every signing, there is an amount of risk the team takes on. With Thompson, it comes with a long list of injuries. Since entering the league, Thompson has only had one sixteen game season under his belt. His 2013 rookie season ended with a torn labrum. In November 2017, his season was again cut short by injury. This time, Thompson fractured his fibula. The following season Thompson suffered a rib injury. This kept him out of a few games.

His injury history is concerning. If signed he will need a thorough medical examination.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Much has been made of the Buccaneers needing to add a pass-catching and blocking running back. Thompson could provide just what the team needs. With his pass-catching talents, Thompson could be one of the missing pieces in the backfield. He could spell Ronald Jones II and give the offense the ability to disguise the play. Additionally, and maybe even more beneficial is his growth at pass protection. He takes pride in this trait and has continued to work to ensure longevity in the league.

Liz Clarke of the Washington Post reported Kirk Cousins saying the following during the 2016 season;

“He has done everything we’ve asked of him in the pass game with protections and with running routes, catching the football, making people miss,” Cousins said. “And many times, the size difference between him and the guy he’s blocking is significant, and yet he’s still holding up in protection. It takes a special person to have the courage and the toughness to stick his face on people consistently and then to do it well. He’s got great technique. He works hard at it — before practice, after practice.”

This sounds like an addition to the team that would be helpful.

The Price is Right

Given the current state of the NFL, a veteran of Thompson’s age, presumably declining capabilities, and injury history, he will be very affordable. Dion Lewis signed a one-year deal worth a mere $1.55 million. Furthermore, Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic only received two-year deals worth 1.5 and 1.625 million dollars a year, respectively.

Given these market marks, Thompson should come in at a little over one million dollars per year for a one or two-year deal, well within what is left of the Buccaneers cap situation.

This could be a good signing for Tampa. Jones gets a mentor, Tom Brady gets a passing target and pass-blocking running back. The offense receives a little more versatility and improves for pennies on the dollar.

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