After the Cleveland Browns traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, it was rumored that veteran Willis McGahee would be signed to replace him. After passing a physical on Thursday afternoon, the Browns and McGahee agreed to terms and the 31-year-old hopes to be active this week against the Minnesota Vikings.
Before McGahee even signed, Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner was praising him and said he would understand the system because of his experience. Cleveland’s first-year head coach Rob Chudzinski was the offensive coordinator at the University of Miami when McGahee was there, so they have familiarity with each other.
McGahee will turn 32 in October and is coming off of a broken leg suffered last season. So obviously he’s not the kind of guy you can expect to add to your fantasy lineup and get big points from. But for the Browns he could be a solid stop-gap as they prepare for a massive rebuilding effort this offseason.
McGahee was originally selected by the Buffalo Bills with the 23rd pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. He sat out the entire 2003 season as he rehabbed a knee injury suffered in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. But when he was finally healthy he turned into an outstanding, go-to back for the Bills.
He is a two-time Pro Bowler (2007, 2011) and won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award for 2004. In nine seasons with the Bills, Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos McGahee has rushed for 8,097 yards on 1,957 carries (4.1 yards per carry average), with 63 touchdowns. He has also caught 202 passes for 1,319 yards and five more scores.
While he’s certainly no spring chicken, McGahee is a reliable back who can be versatile coming out of the backfield when healthy. He should serve Cleveland’s needs for this season as they look to overhaul their roster heading into 2014.