According to multiple reports, the Indianapolis Colts and running back Marlon Mack have mutually agreed to part ways, and are now pursuing a trade for the former 1,000-yard rusher.
In Indianapolis, there’s no shortage of young playmakers at the running back position. Sophomore talent Jonathan Taylor operates as the lead back in Frank Reich’s offense and should put together a big season despite his slow start to the new campaign. Behind Taylor sits the versatile Nyheim Hines, whose ability as a runner and pass-catcher continues to be utilized at an effective clip. Hines has seen a surprising 14.4% target share through three weeks, further cementing his importance to the success of Indianapolis’ offense.
Mack was inactive for the Colts’ Week 3 loss to the Tennessee Titans, as it continues to become abundantly clear that there is no room for Mack in what’s already a crowded backfield. It’s unclear why the Colts re-signed Mack to a one-year deal in the first place, but his lack of usage speaks volumes of how the Colts currently feel about him.
A trade away from Indianapolis seems imminent for Mack. Here are three teams that could be the first to inquire about Mack’s availability.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
A unit that will need to score points in order to keep up with the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West, the 49ers’ depth at the running back position has taken a beating due to multiple injuries as of late. Raheem Mostert is out for the season, Jeff Wilson remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and Elijah Mitchell missed San Francisco’s Week 3 loss to the Green Bay Packers with a shoulder injury.
Even with all of their mounting injuries, head coach Kyle Shanahan appears hesitant to overly rely on rookie back Trey Sermon, who touched the ball on just 12 occasions on Sunday night. Shanahan has always found ways to get a lot of production out of his running back room, even when it lacks star power. Adding Mack to the fold could greatly benefit this offense.
Atlanta should absolutely be looking for help at the running back position. The Falcons escaped with a 17-14 win in New York in Week 3, but can’t keep relying on the likes of Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson in the backfield.
Davis was signed to serve as the team’s lead back but has failed to impress in that role through three weeks. Davis has yet to top 50 rushing yards in a single game this season and has had little impact in the passing game, where he’s averaging a measly 4.9 yards per reception.
A trade to the Falcons shouldn’t be ruled out as Atlanta attempts to sort through the future of their running game. Mack is on an expiring contract, but auditioning the former South Florida standout for the remainder of 2021 would make sense as Arthur Smith attempts to produce a more successful ground attack in Atlanta.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The metaphorical sky isn't yet falling in Kansas City, but a Week 3 loss to their AFC West rival Los Angeles Chargers sent the Chiefs to a surprising 1-2 record through three weeks.
Starting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has lost two fumbles in the past two games and needs to correct his ball-security issues before the Chiefs consider increasing his touches going forward.
The Chiefs aren't afraid to add another running back to compete with Edwards-Helaire mid-season, proven by last year's October acquisition of Le'Veon Bell. Adding Mack would give the Chiefs some much-needed insurance should things continue to go south for Edwards-Helaire.