Raheem Mostert missed all but 4 snaps of the 2021 season with a knee cartilage injury. The former 49ers running back went down in Week 1 on his second carry of the season. Originally expected to return in 6-8 weeks, Mostert underwent surgery to repair the chipped cartilage in his knee. Having had tests this week in Dallas, the understanding is that Mostert will make a full recovery and be ready to play this year. The question is, which team will he play for now that he is a free agent? Here are some possible landing spots and predictions for the running back.
Predictions for Raheem Mostert in 2022 NFL Free Agency
Mostert’s price tag will be somewhat limited by the fact that he’s only played in nine games over the past two seasons. The running back, who’s been with the Niners since 2016, suffered three separate injuries in 2020. An MCL sprain in Week 2, which cost him two games, followed by two separate high ankle sprains — once in October, and again in December. Mostert was placed on IR on both occasions.
He will turn 30 next month and hits the free agent market looking for a team he can contribute to. Mostert won’t be an RB1 this time around, but he has tremendous upside if he can stay healthy.
Possible landing spots for Mostert
Mostert’s best season came in 2019 when he ran for 1,108 yards and 13 TDs for the 49ers. So, where to next?
The Broncos have found themselves a star in former UNC running back Javonte Williams. Denver traded up in the draft to get him, and he flashed right out of the gate. Williams had 903 yards and 4 TDs on split carries with Melvin Gordon, but the team seems ready to hand the majority share to the young star.
Gordon expressed a desire to stay with the Broncos, but the two seem far from a deal. As a result, it’s expected that Gordon will feature for another franchise in 2022. That leaves a gap behind Williams.
A healthy Mostert would offer a strong complement to Williams, who earns his money barrelling through the line of scrimmage and gathering additional yardage after contact. Mostert’s speed gives them a different element out of the backfield and would come cheap to an all-in Russell Wilson-led Broncos outfit.
Here’s an obvious alternative. Mostert spent time with the Dolphins once before but never featured during the season.
This time around, he could head to South Beach to link up with former run game coach/offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, Miami’s new head coach. While the Dolphins have already signed former Cardinal Chase Edmonds to a two-year, $12.6 million deal, the depth chart could still require some attention.
Miami has trialed a wealth of backs in recent years under Brian Flores and only found bursts of success with any of them. I would understand McDaniel getting a veteran guy that knows his system, how he works, and what he’s trying to install in the offense of his new franchise. Again, Mostert won’t be an expensive addition for whomever he signs with, so this could be a high-upside play for Miami.
With the loss of Edmonds, the Cardinals have a spot to fill behind James Conner. Edmonds recorded 124 rushing attempts in 2021, and with only Eno Benjamin behind Conner currently, Arizona will be looking for additional reinforcements.
With a potentially market-resetting contract negotiation ongoing with franchise QB Kyler Murray, they won’t want to spend too much money on a running back. So, why not chase a highly talented but low-cost veteran like Mostert?