Akron native and former Ohio State star Chris “Beanie” Wells is now a part of the NFL’s free agent market.
The Cardinals released Wells on Monday, a day before the start of the league’s calendar year, when every team must be under the salary cap and the player movement period begins.
Wells had just 88 carries for 234 yards and 5 touchdowns last season, when he played in eight games. Keeping Wells healthy has always been an issue, though he’s just 14 months removed his only 1,000-yard season. Wells scored 10 touchdowns and ran for 1,047 yards in 2011.
The Cardinals selected him in the first round in 2009. He played in all 16 games as a rookie, averaging a career-best 4.5 yards per carry and scoring 7 touchdowns.
Wells getting a fresh start is probably a good thing for his career. More teams are running the ball by committee, and Wells is big, athletic back who doesn’t turn 25 until this summer. He won’t get a huge contract and might not be a workhorse-type runner, but he won’t be out of work for long.
The timing might be right for Wells. Beyond Steven Jackson, the free agent market for running backs lacks sizzle.
Among the teams who could take a look at Wells include the Bengals, Jets, Raiders, Cowboys, Steelers and Packers.