The Lions releasing Ameer Abdullah to make room for Bruce Ellington marked the end of an era for the Lions. Gone are the days of disappointment for the Lions expecting the former second-round pick to be a star. But, Abdullah does present a solid skillset for teams in need of a running back. He’s an elusive back that works best with a zone-running scheme, which each of these five teams uses to some degree. He also presents an ability to make plays after the catch, boasting an average of 7.4 yards per reception during his four-year career.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
Adding Ameer Abdullah to the Eagles makes a lot of sense. The Eagles have been looking for playmakers to make the playoffs out of a wide-open NFC East, and Abdullah might fit their scheme perfectly. The Eagles are known for their signature RPO plays, which Abdullah should be able to fit in well with. Abdullah is not a great back, but he has shown the ability to beat an edge rush with pure speed and agility, which is needed while using the RPO. He’s also a solid receiving back that can make plays for Carson Wentz. Furthermore, the Eagles are without Jay Ajayi for the rest of the year due to an ACL injury, while Abdullah won’t be able to match that production but he would add a threat to the Eagles running back by committee style of rushing.
2. New England Patriots
Of course, the Patriots make the list. Belichick has been able to find a treasure out of teams trash every single year, and this year is no different. Like the Eagles, the Patriots are thin at running back. Sony Michel is injured but should come back soon as the primary running back, and James White is a great complementary pass-catching back. But, when Michel goes down, the Patriots get desperate. That desperation has shown when the Patriots run wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson as a running back. Ameer Abdullah would help the Patriots currently thin running back depth chart and could be utilized as a third-down back similar to James White. He would realize some of White and Michel’s stress, letting Belichick rely on the run game more often in the playoffs.
3. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have been decimated by injuries in 2018. Former Vikings back was brought in to be the lead back, then tore his ACL. Raheem Mostert filled in well behind Matt Breida, but he’s out for the year with a forearm break. Alfred Morris is a stable power back but is one dimensional, therefore not fitting within Kyle Shanahan’s scheme. This has lead to Matt Breida receiving the majority of snaps. Breida is a nice piece, as his agility and speed have been infused well within the 49ers zone-running, and heavy receiving back scheme. Abdullah presents the same type of skillset and could be a solid backup to Breida for the rest of the year. As a 49er, Abdullah would see plenty of snaps filling in the same role Mostert did before his injury.
4. Buffalo Bills
The Bills desperately need more firepower on offense. The signing of Terrelle Pryor signified that, but they still need some help at running back. That statement has become all too true with LeSean McCoy’s regression, and Chris Ivory’s recent left arm injury. This leaves the Bills with two healthy backs; an aging LeSean McCoy, and Marcus Murphy (has only 170 rush yards in four seasons). Ameer Abdullah would be an immediate upgrade for the Bills as a safety valve for whoever plays quarterback, and a change of pace back alongside LeSean McCoy. Buffalo is where Abdullah would receive the most snaps because there is a genuine possibility that the Bills will need a new starting running back. The Bills aren’t afraid of adding castaway talent, Abdullah should receive a look from head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane in a role that could revive his career.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs don’t necessarily need a running back behind Kareem Hunt and Spencer Ware, but Abdullah could be a good depth piece for the Chiefs offense. Adding Abdullah would mean that Andy Reid could shave off some of Kareem Hunt’s and Spencer Ware’s snaps for a probable playoff run. I also believe that Abdullah would be an ideal backup to Hunt rather than Ware. Don’t get me wrong, Ware is a solid running back, but he doesn’t have the talent that Abdullah has. Ameer Abdullah could either be the second or third option for the Chiefs, as he would project as a back to take snaps in the passing game. Much like the Eagles, the Chiefs run a heavy zone-running and RPO scheme, Abdullah is an excellent match for this scheme. The best chance to turn around Abdullah’s career is in Kansas City, as Reid and Mahomes have created an offense that enables players to create plays in open space. Adding another weapon to the Chiefs offense in Ameer Abdullah would be ideal for the two, as Abdullah could play better when contending for a Super Bowl while Reid would find ways to get Abdullah situated in both the run and pass game.