The 2023 NFL free agency period is firing off at a breakneck pace. While some players will return to their current teams, most players, especially the larger names, will look for a new landing spot, as is the case with running back Devin Singletary.
As one of the biggest names at his position, Singletary just snuck into our NFL Top 100 Free Agents list. After spending his rookie contract with the Buffalo Bills, what are some possible landing spots for Singletary for the 2023 season?
Devin Singletary Free Agency Best Fits
Despite James Cook’s presence in 2022, Singletary remained underpaid and one of the better values on the roster. He was the RB1 for the Bills, rushing 177 times for 819 yards with five touchdowns, accounting for 61% of the running back attempts.
He also saw 47% of the RB targets, despite Cook being the best pass-catching back of the 2022 NFL Draft class. Singletary set a new career high with 52 targets (9.4%), catching 38 passes for 280 yards with another score.
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Now a free agent, Singletary carries an estimated value of $5.5 million per year on a three-year deal, according to Spotrac. The RB position has recently decreased in value and taken up less space on teams’ salary caps, outside of the few elite options, as the NFL moves further away from the “bell cow” role to a committee.
Now, Singletary can find the best fit for himself while bringing a proven skill set to his new landing spot during free agency.
Are the New York Giants a Potential Destination for Devin Singletary?
One intriguing free agency scenario which could be considered the best fit is Singletary staying in-state with the New York Giants. While New York placed the franchise tag on Saquon Barkley, a reunion with HC Brian Daboll could be possible.
Thanks to the health of Barkley, the combination of Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell rushed just 85 times for 361 yards with two touchdowns while receiving 33 targets in the passing game last season. If anything, Barkley’s immense workload helped to mask the lack of reliable talent behind him on the depth cart.
Securing Singletary would not only give the Giants one of the best backfield duos in the NFL — if not the best — but it would also provide New York flexibility in how they use Barkley. Additionally, it would help create leverage in case the two sides can’t come to a long-term deal following the 2023 season when Barkley’s franchise tag expires.
Is a Return to the Buffalo Bills Out of the Question?
The longer free agency goes, the better the possibility Singletary could return to Buffalo on a small, team-friendly contract that is incentive-laden for the 2023 season.
The money is just not out there in today’s market. Miles Sanders secured the highest AAV so far at $6.5 million over four years. Still, only two other contracts (David Montgomery and Jamaal Williams) have been in the eight-figure range over more than two seasons. It’s just not a good time, financially, to be a running back.
Although Singletary is not a premier RB, he averaged an efficient 4.7 yards per attempt in Buffalo, 3.02 yards after contact per attempt, a 21.6% missed tackle rate, and a 13% rate of carries of 10 yards or more. That’s nothing to scoff at for an NFL RB.
There are reports Buffalo is in the RB market in the draft, with some saying the Bills took Texas RBs Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson to dinner before the Texas Pro Day. While he’s special, are the Bills willing to use their first-round pick on Robinson? A better question to ask is if he would even be there still at No. 27. I’d say no.
A return might be the best option for both sides, as Singletary is a known commodity and could be signed for a very team-friendly contract.
Would the Jacksonville Jaguars Consider Signing Singletary?
There are always signings you never see coming. The Jacksonville Jaguars provided one of the best stories last year. After a tumultuous season under Urban Meyer, the team brought Doug Pederson in, who helped turn the tides and direction of the franchise while capitalizing on the skill sets of Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne Jr., Christian Kirk, and Evan Engram.
With James Robinson now a New England Patriot, the Jaguars are expected to bring in more depth to the backfield to complement Etienne while also protecting his body from wear and tear.
When asked at the NFL Combine if the team was considering adding to the backfield, Pederson had a straightforward answer.
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“Yes. I think in today’s game, you’ve got to have two to three guys,” Pederson explained. “They’ve got to be able to carry the load. You’re talking about an 18-week, 17-game schedule and the postseason. It’s wear and tear on guys.”
Etienne missed his entire rookie season due to a foot injury but played in all 17 games last year (12 starts), recording 1,125 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns, 35 receptions, and 316 receiving yards. However, he also averaged 19 touches a game over an eight-game stretch, which is likely something the Jaguars do not want repeating in 2023.
Singletary would make for a great complement and serve as both a two-down back and someone who can cash in from short-area situations. Plus, he’d add more help in the receiving game. It’s Jacksonville’s division to lose, and adding Singletary would only help build off their momentum.
Singletary Could Be an Insurance Policy for the Denver Broncos
On the opening day of free agency, the Denver Broncos announced they were signing Samaje Perine, but they might not be done. Although Javonte Williams has looked sensational, there are serious concerns about his health following a devastating knee injury last season, which resulted in multiple torn ligaments.
Broncos general manager George Paton said during his press conference at the NFL Combine that Williams is on track for Week 1. However, there’s been quite a bit of speculation to suggest Williams is actually further behind what the team wants to let on.
“The most fascinating nugget about Denver (and possibly of the whole Combine) was about Javonte Williams’ health, and I’m told there is a VERY wide range of possibilities regarding his return,” NBC Sports analyst Matthew Berry wrote. “There is a chance he is healthy to start the year. There is a chance he misses multiple games. And there is actually a chance he misses all of next year.”
Singletary would be a prime candidate to bring into Denver, and I’d consider the Broncos the best fit for him. The only healthy RBs currently on the roster are the recently-signed Perine and an unproven Tyler Badie, who saw two touches as a rookie. Singletary is a more-than-capable running back and can work either as the No. 1 or the 1B, as demonstrated during his time in Buffalo.
Tampa Bay Could Target Devin Singletary To Support the Depth Chart
With Leonard Fournette released, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers must figure out who will fill the void on the depth chart. Rachaad White saw his role grow in 2022, especially over the back half, but he saw the bulk of his production in the receiving game, catching 50 of 58 targets for 290 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie.
While not a two-down back in size, Singletary plays with aggressiveness and could very well do the same in Tampa Bay, so long as the offensive line doesn’t see the same number of injuries that decimated the roster in 2022.
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Singletary is a logical fit. He could serve as the short-area specialist and the primary goal-to-go back for the Bucs, while White is the dynamic, receiving, and change-of-pace RB.
On a team-friendly contract, Singletary, along with White and Ke’Shawn Vaughn, would stabilize the position and give the Bucs a (hopefully) reliable rushing game while they figure out the QB position with Baker Mayfield, Kyle Trask, and whoever else might find their way to Tampa.