March 18, 2010

Saints visit with free agent RB Fargas

As RB Mike Bell is set to become a member of the Eagles, the Saints visited with free agent RB Justin Fargas on Tuesday.

This is a curious move, in that Bell was given a low tender in part because of the three other backs on the Saints' roster: Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and Lynell Hamilton. The Saints will also return a healthy Heath Evans, a versatile fullback, in 2010.

Fargas despite being 30 years old has really only received significant playing time in four NFL seasons out of his seven, all with the Raiders. With 80 carries in his first three seasons, he then lead the team in rushing for three straight years before being usurped by Darren McFadden last year.

Fargas broke his leg as a freshman at Michigan, never got on track and transferred to USC as a Senior. Since his arrival in the NFL he's been beset by injuries, including knee injuries in 2003, 2007 and 2009.

Fargas has a collision-happy running style, a mix of Pierre Thomas' never-go-down spinning and fighting and Mike Bell's one-cut sprint. Its been blamed for his near-constant injury issues, though never criticized - Fargas is beloved in Oakland. He was released after the Raiders claim he failed a physical, which Fargas denies.

He remains an unrestricted free agent after also meeting with the Browns, Chiefs and Eagles. No contract offer from the Saints was reported. Fargas was cut by the Raiders, meaning that he would not qualify as the one free agent addition to offset the loss of Scott Fujita.

Fargas is the son of the actor Antonio Fargas, who played "Huggy Bear" on the 1970s TV show Starsky and Hutch.

So the visit with Fargas could be smoke screen, though we're not sure who. Or it could indicate some unannounced problem with Thomas, Bush, or Hamilton.

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