With injuries mounting late in the 2012 NFL season at the running back position, the Green Bay Packers brought back a blast from the past and signed Ryan Grant to try to find some semblance of a running attack late in the year. Grant was an afterthought for much of the season, being passed over in favor of Cedric Benson when the Packers looked for a veteran running option during the pre-season. Now Grant is once again an unrestricted free agent.
Grant signed with the Washington Redskins a few weeks into the season, but he only played in one game with the Skins, recording a single carry for five yards. With Benson out for the year and James Starks on the shelf, Grant came on board, apparently to split some carries with Alex Green.
Grant made a minor splash on his first Packers carry of the season, running for 13 yards against the Lions in Lambeau Field. He then carried the ball eight times for 32 yards in a win at Chicago before having a great game against Tennessee: 20 carries, 80 yards, and two touchdowns. But then again, everyone on the Packers offense had a great game against the Titans. All told, Grant put up a 4.1 yards per carry average in limited work over the last few games of the season.
The Packers need some stability at running back about as badly as Titus Young needs a lobotomy. They've been fielding a revolving door of backs ever since Grant's season-ending injury early in the 2010 season, and a feature back who can take some pressure off Aaron Rodgers would be a huge boost for the offense. A back who can play with good vision and acceleration would be a great fit in Green Bay, and being a solid pass protector and receiver will be a must if the player is to be a consistent threat in the offense.
Likelihood of Re-Signing
Grant has all of the tools described above, at least to some extent; the problem is that he's 30 and hasn't produced at a consistent level since 2009. If Ted Thompson was only willing to bring him in as a last resort before Week 14 in 2012, it seems almost unthinkable that Grant would be brought back again in 2013. He may hang around the NFL as a last-ditch injury replacement once again, but it seems that Grant's days as an NFL back are probably numbered.
Estimated odds of re-signing: 2%