After not getting the kind of opportunity he thought was coming with the Denver Broncos this season, Jamaal Charles wants to move on immediately.
The one thing the Denver Broncos have had somewhat going for them offensively is the ground game, as they are tied for 13th in the league in rushing offense entering Week 17 (116.1 yards per game). But Jamaal Charles has not contributed much, with 69 carries for 296 yards and 23 catches for 129 yards while playing around 15 snaps per game, and he was a healthy scratch for Week 16 against the Washington Redskins.
Charles signed a one-year deal with the Broncos last offseason, with some idea he would have a significant role. But his role has dwindled as the season has gone on, with three carries or fewer in five straight games before being inactive last week.
As the Broncos get set to end a disappointing season, at 5-10 heading into Sunday’s regular season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs, Charles has voiced his displeasure to Nick Jhabvala of the Denver Post. He even went so far as to suggest the Broncos should release him.
I ain’t playing. Might as well,” Charles said Tuesday. “No reason for me to just sit around and look at people play. It is what it is. I’m still going to be supportive of everyone on the team no matter what. I mean, they got my rights right now.
At the end of the day, I just got to see what’s the future for me. That’s the next step,” he said. “If it’s somewhere else or if somebody wants to pick me up. That’s the future. I want to play still. I turn 31 (Wednesday).
“I want to play. I feel like I never got a chance to show people that I can carry the load, so I still want to (show) that I can carry a team. I want an opportunity. That’s all I want.
But Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said releasing Charles has not been a thought.
Charles referenced how he will turn 31 on Wednesday, which may as well be 50 in running back years in most cases. And that’s without considering two torn ACLs in his career, including tearing his right ACL in 2015, and the lingering knee issues that limited him to three games with the Chiefs in 2016.
Charles was once one of the most dynamic running backs in the NFL, averaging 5.5 yards per carry over his first seven seasons (2008-2014). Age and his most recent knee problems have surely sapped some of that speed and elusiveness, but Charles apparently thinks he can help a playoff team immediately.
At first glance the Philadelphia Eagles would be a good fit, but they don’t really have a need for an extra running back. Other than that, maybe the Chiefs, the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Jacksonville Jaguars could see value in Charles as a veteran backup ahead of the playoffs.
If the Broncos won’t release him, Charles will have to wait until March to shop himself to other teams. With nothing on his recent resume to back up any lingering name value he carries, anything beyond the (limited) opportunity he got in Denver would be a surprise.