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Comparing Marshawn Lynch and Jamaal Charles

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Which over 30 running back has better prospects of a successful return to football for a new team.

Tuesday the Broncos signed Jamaal Charles at which point the euphoria in Broncos country began. But, wait a minute, weren’t those same Broncos folks literally saying they hope the Raiders sign Marshawn Lynch because "The age wall for running backs is the age wall for running backs"? That wall of course being the age of 30 for NFL running backs. Yes, that is something that was literally said.

But now, it’s totally different. Now 30-year-old running back Jamaal Charles is a Bronco. He’s a full 7 MONTHS younger than Marshawn Lynch, so… yeah.

Now, the same site that was rubbing their hands together claiming to hope Marshawn Lynch signs with the Raiders is doing little happy dances at getting Jamaal Charles, literally saying "The addition of Jamaal Charles should finally bring enough juice to jolt the Broncos offense back to life."

Hey, feel how you feel. Just be consistent.

The argument given to me was that Jamaal Charles averaged over 5 yards per carry last time he was healthy and Lynch averaged 3.8. Not entirely true. Charles played three games last season and averaged 3.3 yards per carry. It was 2015 when he averaged 5.1 yards per carry.

If you want to say Charles wasn’t fully healthy when he averaged 3.3 yards per carry, fine. But neither was Lynch when he averaged 3.8 yards per carry in 2015. It’s part of what prompted him to hang up his cleats after 2015 before un-retiring last week.

Lynch took a season off by choice. Charles didn’t have a choice. He suffered a setback from his 2015 torn ACL, landed on IR for the second year in a row, and was later released.

Anyone you ask would tell you they would take a rested Lynch over a now injury prone Charles any day of the week. At least they would have chosen him had Lynch been willing to play for just any team. But he only wanted to play for the Raiders. Again, Lynch made his choice, Charles had his made for him.

So, instead of cherry picking stats, let’s be fair. To make an accurate comparison, we have to go back to 2014 for both players. That’s when they were both healthy and both played full seasons.

Stat 2014 Marshawn Lynch Jamaal Charles
Rushing yards 1306 1033
Rushing TD's 13 9
Yards per game 81.6 68.9
Yards per carry 4.7 5.1
Receptions 37 40
Receiving yards 367 291
Yards per catch 9.9 7.3
Receiving TD's 4 5
Total TD's 17 14

Ok, so Lynch has better numbers in every category except yards per carry, receptions, and receiving touchdowns.

Just to make sure I’m not in any way cherry picking, let’s look at the past three seasons. I would go back four, but I want to be fair to Charles. He was injured in 2011 — the first time he tore his ACL — so the numbers would be skewed. So, we’ll only go back to 2012. I’m nothing if not fair.

Stats 2012-14 Marshawn Lynch Jamaal Charles
Rushing yards 4153 3829
Rushing TD's 36 26
Yards per game 92.2 83.2
Yards per carry 4.6 5.1
Receptions 96 145
Receiving yards 879 1220
Yards per catch 9.1 8.4
Receiving TD's 7 13
Total TD's 43 39
Pro Bowls 3 3
All Pros 1 1

You could, if you wanted, throw in a couple trips to the Super Bowl for Lynch during that time, but that's a team stat, so I didn't. Even though that's invaluable experience to bring to a locker room.

Once again, Lynch takes most every statistic except for yards per carry, receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns.

I guess, what a difference 7 months makes in the opinion of Broncos fans. Otherwise I can’t imagine why they would be so high on the player they signed while poopooing the player the Raiders signed. I guess we’ll just have to wait for the season to settle it.