One name that's been curiously contemplated this offseason is Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden -- with 99 percent of that realization coming from Hue Jackson's connection to the oft-injured running back that's expected to enter free agency as an unrestricted free agent this March. However, Oakland's interest in bringing McFadden back isn't completely closed, his agent old told NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt.
Darren McFadden's agent tells me he will meet w #Raiders on Sat. to discuss re-signing. Interesting to see value if he hits open mrkt.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) February 20, 2014
There is a belief that McFadden could sign with the Bengals that would essentially bench BenJarvus Green-Ellis (a completely fool-hearty belief due to Green-Ellis' salary and inactivity as a special teamer).
When McFadden gets hurt, because he will get hurt -- never played a 16-game season... actually he's never played 14 games in any one season and played 13 games only twice in his six-year career -- Green-Ellis would come off the bench to replace him. Of course, Green-Ellis would have to be the ultimate team-guy to be dropped like that and care little about "respect" (a rare commodity with professional athletes today), possibly an inactive role unless he plays special teams.
It's possible that McFadden could sign, but if he does, in my opinion, it would be an incentive-heavy contract (such as a bonus for games played) as a third/fourth stringer -- ala, Larry Johnson in 2009. Even then, we don't see him agreeing to those conditions unless it's an act of desperation (aka, no one wants him). And we don't see him replacing Cedric Peerman on special teams.
However, Jackson, recently promoted as the Bengals offensive coordinator, offered significant praise for McFadden while promoting a physical rushing offense in his first season as the team's play-caller.
"You guys know how I feel about Darren McFadden; he's still one of my favorite players," Jackson told ESPN affiliate 95.7 The Game in San Francisco in mid-January. "What a tremendous talent. But I really like my little guy Gio [Bernard]. He had a real good season. But I don't think you can ever have too many good backs."
"I would have to be around him again but I think it's still no different with Darren," Jackson said. "Darren is still a downhill runner, he's a one-cut runner. He has the ability to split out and catch balls and do those things but I think, with any football player, you've just got to build their confidence and let them know you believe in them and create an environment for them to be as good as they can be and normally good things happen. And I don't think it's any different with him."
"I think Darren can play with anybody," Jackson said. "If it's the Darren McFadden that I used to know, there's no question -- whether it's in Cincinnati, Oakland or San Francisco or anywhere. He's talented enough to play anywhere in the National Football League."
The comments questioned whether or not Jackson violated tempering rules. Then everyone remembered tampering in the NFL is like human beings breathing oxygen.