There was a time when Jay Ajayi was considered one of the top up-and-coming running backs in the NFL, but those days are long gone.
Now, Ajayi finds himself unsigned in late August after suffering a torn ACL last October, limiting him to just four games with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Not surprisingly, teams have not exactly been clamoring to sign a halfback coming off of a major knee injury, so the fact that he is still available is not completely shocking.
Still, he is just 26 years old, so someone should give him a chance.
Here are four teams who should consider making Ajayi a last-minute signing heading into 2019.
4. Buffalo Bills
We already know the Bills plan to go with veterans LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore as their top running backs, but they could absolutely use some younger legs mixed in there.
What if McCoy or Gore get injured? What if they stink?
Jay Ajayi is certainly not too far above either of them at this point, but at the very least, he is much younger, and he could potentially be a game-changer in Buffalo’s ground game if it gives him a shot.
It probably won’t happen, but it’s definitely something the Bills should consider.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars’ running game was absolutely disastrous in 2018, as none of Leonard Fournette, Carlos Hyde, or T.J. Yeldon stepped up.
Hyde and Yeldon are both gone, leaving Fournette as the featured back and Alfred Blue and rookie Ryquell Armstead as the backups.
That group does not exactly inspire much confidence, especially considering Fournette’s penchant toward getting injured (he played in just eight games in 2018 and missed three games during his rookie year).
Jay Ajayi has also been an efficient runner for most of his career, which is something that cannot be said of Fournette.
If he is able to come back healthy, there would actually be a possibility that Ajayi could be the best running back on Jacksonville’s roster.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers’ aerial attack is pretty explosive thanks to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard, but their ground game leaves much to be desired, as Peyton Barber has been largely uninspiring since entering the league and 2016 and Ronald Jones is coming off of a horrendous rookie campaign.
Plus, Jones has been dealing with swelling in his knee due to a hyperextension.
Ajayi began his NFL career in Florida with the Miami Dolphins, so it seems appropriate that he returns to the Sunshine State, but this time, with a different ballclub.
Tampa Bay unquestionably needs some help in its backfield, and Ajayi could provide that for the club.
1. Dallas Cowboys
Let’s be honest: if Ezekiel Elliott holds out through the regular season (and it’s looking more and more like he will), the Cowboys’ Super Bowl hopes are pretty much shot.
But that does not mean Dallas should throw in the towel entirely.
If Elliott doesn’t play, Tony Pollard and Alfred Morris will likely be the Cowboys’ top two halfbacks going into 2019, and that is a bit of a scary thought considering Pollard is a rookie and Morris hasn’t rushed for 1,000 yards since 2014.
Jay Ajayi could then be exactly what the doctor ordered for Jerry Jones and Dallas, assuming that he can return in one piece and make it through the year healthy.