Chargers running back Ryan Mathews played 16 games for the first time in his career in 2013, rushing for 1,255 yards and helping the Chargers to a playoff berth in the process.
The Chargers responded to Mathews’ long-awaited full season by moving quickly in free agency to sign running back Donald Brown to a three-year, $10.5 million contract with $4 million in guaranteed money. If Mathews is perturbed by San Diego’s decision to add another player to a backfield that also includes Danny Woodhead, he’s doing a good job keeping it to himself.
Mathews said Brown’s presence in the backfield is “going to be awesome” and pointed to a late-season ankle injury that limited him in the playoffs as a reason to be happy about the Chargers’ decision to pounce on Brown.
“I [want to] make it more than 16 games,” Mathews said, via U-T San Diego. “That was a big goal last year: ‘Alright, let’s get him through 16 games.’ We did that. Now the goal is to keep me healthy, keep running after 16 games. The coaches did a good job of getting another guy like Donald to help me out. It’s going to be fun.”
With his own free agency looming, it would be a good year for Mathews to keep running for as many games as the Chargers play. Running backs may never break the bank again, but a second straight productive and durable season would set Mathews up to cash in as much as possible before the 2015 season. If Brown’s presence helps him do that, no one will be complaining.