The Miami Dolphins have been active this offseason trying to add a veteran running back to pair with second-year runner Jay Ajayi. After failing to keep Lamar Miller, who signed with the Houston Texans in free agency, and seeing the Denver Broncos match Miami's offer sheet to restricted free agent C.J. Anderson, the team has met with or talked to several other free agents, but has yet to sign anyone. According to a report from the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero, the team is still looking, and has "had conversations with multiple teams about trading for a back."
Salguero adds that his sources did not indicate any specific teams or players involved in the discussions, and that there is no trade imminent for Miami, but it does stress that the team is continuing to look for a running back.
"I know that we've kind of gone after a few guys in free agency with C.J. (Anderson) and then C.J. (Chris Johnson) - both C.J.s," head coach Adam Gase told the media during the NFL coaches breakfast this week. "The reason we were trying to do that is we're looking to having more than one guy. Jay (Ajayi) is going to be a big part of what we're doing. I'd like to have multiple backs. Right now, we don't have a lot of guys on the roster. I think we only have three guys on the roster right now. We're going to need to really develop that stable of backs."
"We just need to stay patient, whether it's through the draft or somebody gets cut free or there's somebody else out there that we need to take a look out. We'll just keep investigating that," Gase added.
Ajayi was drafted in the fifth round last year, coming out of Boise State. Concerns about a past knee injury and reports that the knee could be a chronic issue limiting Ajayi's effectiveness, led to him dropping in the draft before Miami finally selected him with the 149th overall pick. After starting the season on the Injured Reserve - Designated to Return list with broken ribs, Ajayi recorded 49 carries for 187 yards with one touchdown in nine games played.
"I remember watching him when he was coming out (of college) and what I see now is I see a guy ... He looks lighter to me on tape, and he's a shiftier guy than I ever thought he was," Gase said of his thoughts on Ajayi after evaluating 2015 film. "His elusiveness - when defenders are coming at him - I think that kind of surprised me. I didn't see it back then. So, I'm really excited to kind of see what we can do with him. He is a bigger guy though. I thought he was ... It's hard to explain. I just remember him being more of a power guy. I didn't see him being as elusive as he has been (as) I've seen on film."
"I think Jay is going to step up," Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill said this week during the league's "Play 60" event at the owners meetings. "I told him as soon as we lost Lamar and C.J. Anderson got retained by Denver, ‘Hey, you ready? You have to step up.' He looked at me square in the eye and said ‘I'm ready, let's go.' So I think he's excited about the opportunity to have a bigger role."
"We got Jay Ajayi, a guy we really believe in," Dolphins center Mike Pouncey added about Ajayi at the same event. "Obviously, we would've signed Lamar (Miller) back if we didn't have so much trust in Jay. I think Jay is going to do a great job. He showed flashes of that last season of the player he can be."
The Dolphins could consider selecting a running back in the Draft, though it seems the team would prefer a veteran be added to the position group. Along with Ajayi, the team currently has Damien Williams and Jahwan Edwards on the roster. Williams is entering his third year in the NFL after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Oklahome in 2014. Edwards signed as a undrafted free agent with the San Diego Chargers last year coming out of Ball State; he spent time on the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars practice squads during the season before signing a Futures Contract with the Dolphins after the 2015 season ended.