Never would I have thought Willis McGahee would see the light of day on any waiver wire list in 2013. When the Broncos released him due to age and his salary, McGahee became just another name in a pile of free agent running backs who were likely past their prime. A Browns trade with the Colts changed all that.
When the Browns traded Trent Richardson to the Colts for a first-round pick, the move left a gaping hole in Cleveland's backfield. Neither Chris Ogbonnaya or rookie Bobby Rainey were the answer. It was also clear that the Browns new regime is trying to get rid of everything former front office guru Mike Holmgren built up.
As the news that the Richardson trade went down, it was soon reported after that the Browns were giving McGahee a physical. McGahee had interest from the Giants after Andre Brown went down, but a deal was never signed. McGahee passed Cleveland's physical and was signed to a one-year deal.
Owners flocked to their waiver wire as soon as the news broke. As an Ahmad Bradshaw owner, my fingers were almost nubbed to the bones as I released Bradshaw from most of my teams for McGahee. Yes I know Bradshaw had a spectacular game on Sunday, but that won't last. Did anyone think Richardson was going to go into a Colts offense with only a few days worth of practice? Bradshaw will be relegated to backup duties and will soon become nothing more than a handcuff.
But let's go back to McGahee. He was a huge waiver wire pickup last week, but I told owners not to count on him. Like Richardson, he wasn't expected to do much against the Vikings. 8 carries and 9 yards later, my prophecy was fulfilled. However, I didn't expect Brian Hoyer to step in and make everyone forget about Brandon Weeden. Josh Gordon's return was also a nice surprise. These two factors could help McGahee become a bit more valuable than I had previously thought.
Last week I claimed that McGahee would be nothing more than a flex option. That prediction still holds true. But if Hoyer can continue to grow and the Browns actually give him a shot to start over Weeden, Jordan Cameron and Gordon could open enough lanes to make McGahee a suitable starting option every week. Considering how hard it is to find a starting running back 4 weeks into the season, I am sure owners who snagged McGahee will take that chance.