After adding offensive firepower in the draft over the weekend, the Broncos added another, and potentially the most dangerous, piece to the puzzle on Tuesday. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Broncos have agreed to terms with running back Jamaal Charles, keeping the nine-year vet in the division.
Charles, a third-round draft pick in 2008, has had an illustrious career with the Kansas City Chiefs, earning four trips to the Pro Bowl (2010, 2012-2014) including two First-team All-Pro honors in 2010 and 2013.
However, Charles’ career took a turn for the worse in 2015 when he was placed on injured reserve after tearing his right ACL in Week 5. In 2016, Charles attempted to return midway through the season, but dealt with swelling in the same knee that eventually landed him on the injured reserve for a second-consecutive year.
In his first seven seasons in the league, the former Chief had five-1,000 yard rushing seasons with over 2,000 yards receiving during that time period. In the past two years, Charles has played in eight total games, only starting five.
If Charles can remain healthy, he will give an immediate boost to the Broncos’ entire offense, not just the running game. The former Chief averaged an incredible 5.5 yards per carry, the fourth-most in NFL history and the most for a non-quarterback since Marion Motley retired in 1955.
During his prime, Charles was a big-play threat running between the tackles, outside the tackles and receiving — both out of the backfield and lined up as a wide receiver. He is also reliable in pass protection.
Charles, 30, joins a backfield with C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker, Juwan Thompson, Bernard Pierce and 2017 sixth-round pick De’Angelo Henderson. It isn’t known exactly how Charles will be used in Mike McCoy’s new offense, but if healthy he will likely play a major role as a versatile athlete in the backfield and lined up as a receiver.
Denver has spent significant resources on rebuilding the offense this offseason. In free agency, the team signed guard Ronald Leary and tackle Menelik Watson, while adding tackle Garett Bolles in the first-round of the draft along with adding five more offensive players in the draft.
Charles has done especially well against the Broncos. He has four-100 yard games, including one of the best games ever by a running back in Week 17 of the 2009 season when he ran for 259 yards on 25 attempts and two touchdowns.
The two parties agreed to a one-year deal with a base salary of $900,000. Charles can earn up to $3.75 million with incentives.