NFL free agency: Maurice Jones-Drew an 'interesting' possible replacement for Rashard Mendenhall?

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

One NFL writer thinks so.

Among the soon-to-be free agents for the Arizona Cardinals is running back Rashard Mendenhall. Most believe that he will not return, but how the team chooses to replace him is yet unknown. They have Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor and Ryan Williams under contract and Alfonso Smith is a restricted free agent. It is possible that they don't bring anyone in, but that does leave them with no real veteran presence in the group.

However, Chris Wesseling, a writer for NFL.com, believes that there is one player that could be intriguing -- running back Maurice Jones-Drew.

Wesseling believes that "an interesting flier as Mendenhall's replacement on early downs."

That is possible. The team, by all accounts, does not view Andre Ellington as a feature back that can get 20-25 carries a game. They see him being best as a part-time running back and part-time receiver. However, Bruce Arians prefers to ride one running back, although he showed a willingness to split carries when Ellington proved to be extremely effective.

So, would MJD be a good fit?

Having spent his entire career in Jacksonvile, he has not been an "Arians guy" like Mendenhall. He is coming off his worst season, averaging only 3.4 yards per carry, when he never before had averaged less than 4.2. He is one season removed from a Lisfranc injury that cut short his 2012 season.

He is an every down back. Twice in his career he has had more than 300 carries in a season. He can catch the ball and pick up the blitz.

How much would he cost? That we don't know yet. Plus, he has a lot of mileage on his tires. He has over 1800 career carries.

Should the Cardinals pick up a veteran back or go with Taylor or Williams and Ellington as the main guys and then draft a guy or sign an undrafted player?

I didn't think that MJD would make sense, but if the team could get him on a Mendenhall-like deal, should they pull the trigger?

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