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About half the league's starters are new

We know NFL teams view running backs as disposable, easily replaceable commodities. The point is driven home every offseason. Never more so, I'd say, than in 2024.

Looking at the offseason transactions for each team, as we do every year, I don't think there has ever been a better illustration of how content franchises are to let their starters move on and plug in someone new. Roughly half of the league's 32 teams will have a different No. 1 in 2024 than 2023. And that's not even counting injuries that could occur over the summer, and youngsters (Jonathon Brooks?) who could emerge to take over backfields in the preseason. (Last year was one of the primary examples of this, with Kyren Williams pushing Cam Akers out of the lineup and ultimately off the roster.)

The table below shows each NFL team, with their 2023 running back starter, projected 2024 starter, and a note on each one. New starters are in bold.

NFL STARTING RUNNING BACKS, 2023-2024
Team20232024Note
ArizonaJames ConnnerConnerTrey Benson by 2025
AtlantaBijan RobinsonRobinsonFalcons should feature former 8th pick
BaltimoreGus EdwardsDerrick HenryOne of biggest stars to change teams
BuffaloJames CookCookRookie Ray Davis should get work
CarolinaChuba HubbardHubbardJonathon Brooks will eventually be factor
ChicagoKhalil HerbertD'Andre SwiftCommittee possible
CincinnatiJoe MixonZack MossChase Brown will compete
ClevelandNick ChubbFord or ForemanChubb (knee) iffy for start of season
DallasTony PollardEzekiel ElliottRico Dowdle, Royce Freeman possibilities
DenverJavonte WilliamsWilliamsBroncos should use committee
DetroitMontgomery/GibbsMontgomery/GibbsRare team with two strong options
Green BayAaron JonesJosh JacobsMarShawn Lloyd will compete
HoustonDevin SingletaryJoe MixonTexans upgrade at position
IndianapolisJonathan TaylorTaylorColts paid their guy
JacksonvilleTravis EtienneEtienneJags content with Etienne
Kansas CityIsiah PachecoPachecoLate-rounder a steal
Las VegasJosh JacobsZamir WhiteUnlikely to be pushed by Mattison
L.A. ChargersAustin EkelerEdwards/DobbinsEven rookie Vidal a possibility
L.A. RamsKyren WilliamsWilliamsBlake Corum one of the key No. 2s
MiamiMostert/AchaneMostert/AchaneInjuries could make Jaylen Wright relevant
MinnesotaAlexander MattisonAaron JonesVikings will be better here
New EnglandRhamondre StevensonStevensonAntonio Gibson will play some
New OrleansAlvin KamaraKamaraKendre Miller should push for snaps
N.Y. GiantsSaquon BarkleyDevin SingletaryGiants could have relevant youngster
N.Y. JetsBreece HallHallJets drafted two youngsters
PhiladelphiaD'Andre SwiftSaquon BarkleyWill Eagles let him score occasionally?
PittsburghHarris/WarrenHarris/WarrenCommittee backfield returns
San FranciscoChristian McCaffreyMcCaffreyLeague's best back
SeattleKenneth WalkerWalkerCharbonnet might get some work
Tampa Bay Rachaad WhiteWhiteSome like rookie Bucky Irving
TennesseeDerrick HenryPollard/SpearsCommittee probable
WashingtonBrian RobinsonAustin EkelerAnother committee, most likely

I'm not sure there will be any rookie starters -- not in Week 1, anyway. But Brooks in Carolina and perhaps Audric Estime in Denver could/should push for early roles. And a lot of other rookies should be selected in fantasy leagues in case injuries strike (Benson, Corum, Lloyd, Wright, Irving) or as candidates for early committee roles (Ray Davis, Kimani Vidal). Because it's a position where loyalty to incumbents doesn't go very far.

--Andy Richardson

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