Having said that, it’s a position that could always use more depth no matter what and with Tevin Coleman hitting free agency, Joe Douglas must either replace or bring back the veteran who totaled 356 rushing yards (4.2 per carry) over 11 appearances.
In general, the franchise could still use one or two more complementary backs that are more talented than players like Austin Walter and Ty Johnson — even if Coleman does return on the cheap. That led me to the perfect candidate, and he would dip into that San Francisco well once again.
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Mostert Fits the Profile
I can’t take full credit for the idea of signing Raheem Mostert being that I first saw the thought perusing Twitter. Jets X-Factor analyst Michael Nania asked fans for a “favorite underrated Jets free-agent target” and Joe (@Jets284) suggested the 49ers speedster.
Mostert is a free-agent option that has come up here and there but Joe’s reminder made me reconsider him as a candidate to complement Carter.
The North Carolina product has been elusive and deceptively powerful for the Jets in year one but the franchise still needs a home-run hitter that can burst through a hole and disappear for a touchdown like a flash of lightning. Mostert is that type of runner and he’s done it plenty for the Niners.
You might even remember his long touchdown run against the Jets in 2020.
There’s also a decent chance Kyle Shanahan will let him go, due to two factors. One, Mostert spent all of 2021 on the injured reserve because of torn cartilage in his knee. Two, rookie Elijah Mitchell was terrific in his absence.
San Francisco has Trey Sermon on the roster too, among others, so this is not a priority re-signing for them. Mostert would be the third running back to follow Mike LaFleur to New York if he signed with the Jets (Coleman, Walter) and he shouldn’t cost much.
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Other Options at RB
The Jets have been linked to some rushers like Leonard Fournette or another draft pick but you could solve this position easily by taking a flyer in free agency — since Douglas has the money to spare.
I’m not saying spend big on running back. That would be the Fournette route. A guy like Mostert or Coleman offers you a cheap yet dependable option, however. You know these players know this system already and you don’t have to worry about them killing you with fumbles or miscues.
Personally, I would bring Coleman back and sign Mostert but there are a few other candidates out there. One is another 49ers teammate, Jeff Wilson Jr. — a power back that can catch the football.
Marlon Mack or Ronald Jones could work as upside signings too, but they may cost a tad more than Mostert. One other person I would look at is Matt Breida.
Some liked the former San Francisco RB for the Jets last offseason and he’s very similar to Mostert, except he has more skill as a pass-catcher. Breida found a role with the Buffalo Bills this year and Gang Green could steal him away from the division rival this spring.