Atlanta Falcons running back Terron Ward has somehow worked the word “no” out out of his vocabulary. Undrafted out of Oregon State in 2015, the man has an uncanny knack for forcing head coach Dan Quinn to keep him around. So that begs an obvious question: has Ward earned a future in Atlanta?
Let’s start with the facts. Ward handily beat out fifth round draft pick Brian Hill during training camp. (We now know that Hill had a serious hand/wrist injury that has since required surgery, but he beat him out nonetheless.) Ward earned a grade of 69 from Pro Football Focus this season. (His sample size was too small to garner a ranking, but this makes him “below average” according to their metrics.)
Ward played in 14 games for the Falcons this season, rushing 30 times for 129 yards. He’s now played in 32 games for the Falcons. As the talented Kevin Knight pointed out in his RB review, Ward may not get a lot of touches, but by averaging 4.3 yards/carry, he certainly makes the most of his opportunities in 2017. He’s also surehanded, having caught 13 of 19 passes thrown his way and only fumbling once over the past three seasons.
Ward is the sort of player you may want on the back end of your roster; reliable, with a little experience under his belt. He’s only 25 (26 next month) plus he’s avoided the wear and tear that gives NFL running backs a short shelf life. He’s a restricted free agent, and as a fourth year player, he’d have to get a raise, even if he’s only under contract for the league minimum (about $690k). That works against him because the Falcons could pay a rookie, developmental running back approximately $225k less.
So what say you, Falcoholics? Has Ward’s career run its course, or could the Falcons benefit from keeping him around for another year or two?
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