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Jamaal Charles signs a 1-year contract with the Denver Broncos

Recently, veteran RB’s have been making news in the NFL world. In the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen vets like Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, and Latavius Murray all sign a contract with new teams in free agency. This past Tuesday, Jamaal Charles added his name to that list, signing a 1-year deal with the Denver Broncos. Charles’ contract is reportedly worth a base value of $1 million with an additional $2.75 million available in incentives. I love this move for the Broncos, as they add a high reward, low-risk (in terms of money) RB to their backfield to supplement penciled in starter, C.J. Anderson.

While I do like this move for Denver’s backfield, I’m not as excited for Charles’ 2017 fantasy outlook and beyond. Entering his 10th season in the league at the age of 30, Jamaal is coming off a non-existent 2016 season that was complicated by an impaired recovery after his second surgery to reconstruct his ACL.

Charles first tore his left ACL in week 2 of the 2011 NFL season. After successfully returning from the injury in 2012, the Texas alum rushed 285 times for 1,509 yards, proving that he was still an elite talent. However, since 2012, Charles has seen his workload reduce each season. Over the next two seasons, he carried the ball 259 times in 2013 and 206 times in 2014. Then in 2015, Charles again tore his ACL, this time in his right knee in week 5 against Chicago.

Finally, Charles managed to appear in three games, limited to only 12 carries in 2016. His return to the field last year was a complicated one as he was limited by continued soreness in the right knee. After multiple attempts to get back, Charles consulted with renowned surgeon, Dr. James Andrews. It was then determined that Charles would require a second surgery on his right knee and a follow-up surgery on his left knee in order to trim a portion of a torn meniscus.

After a struggle to return to the field last season, I expect Denver to be cautious with their new RB. Recent reports have just surfaced that Charles has yet to return to 100%, so I would almost certainly not expect to see Charles on the field with his new team until training camp at the earliest. Even then, my best guess is that Jamaal will be listed as a limited participant throughout camp. I wouldn’t be surprised if Charles didn’t even make an appearance in the preseason. At this stage in his career, Charles will likely serve as a change of pace back on third downs. The Broncos would be smart to limit his touches to 8-12 per game.

Once viewed as one of the best RB’s in the NFL, Charles enters 2017 with a lot to prove. After totaling just 83 carries since the 2014 season, it’s hard to trust Charles as anything more than a late-round, risky flex play in redraft leagues. He should be a bench player in dynasty leagues. Unfortunately, JC’s best days are most certainly behind him. However, if an owner in your dynasty league still believes in the name value and his opportunity in Denver, I would advise selling for anything you can get. This may be your last opportunity to do so.

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*Injury details from Rotoworld

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