Giants Rumors: Pros, Cons Of Targeting Jamaal Charles In Free Agency
Con: 30-Year-Old Running Back
Fans of the NFL have likely heard the theory that a running back’s expiration date is their 30th birthday. That may be an oddly specific belief, and modern advances in sports fitness and medicine could soon disprove it, but it’s statistically supported.
Thus, if the New York Giants are going to hand Jamaal Charles a contract, then the action must be taken with cognizance of his limitations.
There’s no guaranteeing that a 30-year-old running back will be inadequate, but it’s a risk no matter how extensive their history of injuries may be. In the case of Charles, his injury history adds to the concerns about his age.
According to Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated, there were just 43 instances of a player running for at least 1,000 yards at 30 or older between 1967 and 2015.
"There is evidence to back that stance: In the Super Bowl era, totaling 49 seasons prior to this one, backs in their 30s reached 1,000 yards rushing a grand total of 43 times."
Over the past two seasons, just Adrian Peterson in 2015 and Frank Gore in 2016 entered a season at 30 or older and rushed for at least 1,000 yards.
Charles was playing at a legitimately elite level during the 2014 season, and he was producing well again in 2015. Thus, it stands to reason that he could bounce back from his injury and have a season like Gore and Peterson managed to.
One simply can’t help but be skeptical of signing a 30-year-old running back with injury concerns to a long-term deal.