This off-season has been a volatile year for running backs. Four big name backs have switched teams already, but this year’s draft class isn’t the strongest its been in most recent years. Outside of Adrian Peterson, former Oklahoma Sooner and known as the draft’s best running backs in most team’s opinion, there is very few options that will make a team impact.

Former 2,000-yard rusher Jamal Lewis was basically run out of Baltimore as they offered him what amounted to a backup’s contract, a 1-year $2 million deal. Lewis settled in Cleveland for a 1-year, 3.5 million dollar deal that could earn him up to 5 million with incentives. He hasn’t been truly healthy since earning 429 touches in the 2003 season which allowed him to reach 2,000 yards. Lewis claims he can still run a forty-yard dash in the high 4.3’s, which seems highly unlikely to me, though Cleveland will give him the opportunity to revitalize his career.

Former Bills’ running back, Willis McGahee, was disappointing in Buffalo especially with rumors of his lackluster work ethic and study habits running rampant. McGahee reportedly didn’t know the plays and didn’t even know what down it was on a famous key fourth down stop during the 2006 season. The Ravens still see him as a great replacement for Lewis and acquired him through a trade which sent two third-round and a seventh round draft picks in exchange for him. They then rewarded him with a 7-year $40.12 million contract with $15 million being guaranteed.

Buffalo’s starting back hasn’t been decided yet, though last year’s backup, Anthony Thomas, hasn’t been completely ruled out. The Bills, in my opinion, have much more pressing needs than just a starting running back. Hopefully they decide to fill these needs before worrying about a new starting back.

Former Bills’ running back Travis Henry will also find solace in a new home. After returning to form for the Tennessee Titans in 2006 after two disappointing seasons (one in Tennessee, one in Buffalo), Henry was rewarded with a 5-year $22.5 million contract from the Denver Broncos. In past years, Broncos running backs have enjoyed lots of success under head coach Mike Shanahan and former offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. Henry should flourish as a Bronco.

Former Green Bay Packer, Ahman Green will also see a change of scenery this season. After spending the last 7 years as Green Bay’s primary running back, Green went to free agency and signed a 4-year $23 million deal to become a Houston Texan.

Earlier this month, the NFL announced that six teams were being considered as the team that gives up a home game during the 2007 season with the site to be either Great Britain or Germany. The teams being considered were the Buffalo Bills, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Miami Dolphins, the New Orleans Saints, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Seattle Seahawks. This angered me as a NFL fan, a Buffalo Bills fan, and most importantly as a Buffalo region resident. Each NFL team only gets 8 home games, and many locales, stadium ushers, parking lot attendants, concession vendors, security guards, and local businesses rely on the employment and business generated from their corresponding team’s home games.

The Dolphin’s have been choosen to be the team to lose their home game this year. Their opponent will be either the NY Giants or the Buffalo Bills. I would assume the NFL would choose the Giants as their opponent since it would be a non-conference game and not have as much importance for the final AFC East standings (not like either the Bills or the Dolphins will be much of a factor come next December/January). But then again it seems the NFL has no rhyme or reason behind most of the things it does.

Over the next 16 seasons, each of the league’s 32 teams will participate in a regular season game outside the United States. At least that is what the plan is. What are they going to do when a riot breaks out because the stadium is packed full and they realize that this game is American Football and not soccer which they were expecting (I’m joking here, no angry emails please)! We shall see what happens and see if the NFL can successfully market itself overseas.