Football Outsiders on ESPN: Don't Pay Arian Foster

Aaron Schatz wrote an article for ESPN looking at three young running backs in Matt Forte, Arian Foster and Ray Rice to see who might be worth paying a big deal to in the offseason.

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His conclusion was that Forte warranted a deal while Foster and Rice really didn't. That's in part because Foster's comparables were guys like Shaun Alexander, Deuce McAllister, Willie Parker and Frank Gore or guys who didn't play full-time until their second and third years.

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That, plus the presence of Ben Tate makes Schatz think Foster is expendable. What's interesting, though, is the argument he makes about running backs who catch at least 50 balls a season see their yards per carry go up follow that three year stretch. The Texans only have two seasons worth of data with Foster, but he's on pace right now to finish with a second straight 50-catch season.

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Of course, you have to factor injuries into the equation with Foster, but I don't Tate's presence should matter as much. You can see that with both of them on the field, Foster is better. Tate struggled earlier in the season when he was forced into the starters role. Well, I say struggled, but he really just wasn't as good as Foster has been in the past year and a half.

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The Texans are a franchise already used to one-year wonder running backs and haven't been in a hurry to lock Foster up. However, he's showing again and again that he can be a special back. A four-year contract would pay him until he was 30. That's a dangerous range, but may be worth exploring for Houston.

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