The retirement of running back Arian Foster should not come as a surprise to the Miami Dolphins because he's been toying with the idea for weeks. But now that it is a fact it presents the team with an important decision that must be made.
The obvious idea is for the Dolphins to consider simply finding another running back to take his place. And the names that will come up might not necessarily excite anyone.
Daniel Thomas? Well, he was in camp with the team. So he is a possibility.
Isaiah Pead? Nope. Not going to be him. His days with the Dolphins are done.
Knowshon Moreno? Yes, he played for coach Adam Gase in Denver and would love to get back in the NFL. But he had a workout with the Dolphins earlier this season and it was determined he's simply not the same guy anymore. So not likely.
The truth of the matter is the Dolphins aren't going to necessarily sign a running back because when they come back from the bye week they might want to activate cornerback Chris Culliver off the physically unable to perform list if he doesn't suffer a setback to the knee injury he's been diligently rehabilitating, as I wrote here.
Beyond that, the Dolphins expect to bring back Earl Mitchell from the injured reserve list in the next two weeks -- possibly even for the New York Jets game on Nov. 6.
So either one of those additions would require a roster spot.
The Dolphins also have a thought that moving on from Foster opens up the use of rookie Kenyan Drake more. Yes, Jay Ajayi remains the starter. And Damien Williams, a coach favorite, is obviously the backup. But getting Drake snaps in pass situations and even on the occasional run, hoping for a big play, is a thought.
In that regard, Foster was a progress stopper. He was a veteran on the way out keeping snaps away from a younger player who is going to be around a while. Now Drake can get his chance to make progress with more snaps.
So there's that thinking, too.
I have another suggestion that should be considered as well. Look, the Dolphins need another running back capable of taking over for Jay Ajayi at a moment's notice. And that is neither Williams nor Drake. Both those guys are not carry-the-load guys.
The Dolphins need a potential carry-the-load guy in case Ajayi can no longer, you know, carry the load. And the time to go searching for that guy is now because as we get further through the year, it becomes harder to find a suitable player to do what I'm saying which is ...
Take over as the starting running back if Ajayi, averaging 27 carries a game the past two weeks, cannot continue to carry that burden.
So ... who?
Well, one name I would suggest doing a lot of due diligence about is Karlos Williams.
(And the choir is saying amen).
Williams is currently on the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad. He's been there two weeks. He signed with Pittsburgh the very week the Dolphins planned to bring him down to South Florida for a get-to-know-you session and a workout. That obviously never happened. And now that cannot happen because the only way the Dolphins can actually talk to Williams is after poaching him from the Steelers practice squad onto their active roster.
There are, by the way, plenty of reasons not to do this. Williams has been a troubled guy. He came out of Florida State that way and just finished serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy for substances of abuse. That means recreational or street drugs. He also apparently had trouble staying in shape with the Buffalo Bills and that's one reason they cut him. So there are significant red flags.
But between those cautionary flags was a rookie season in which Williams rushed for 517 yards on 93 carries with seven TDs for the Bills in 2015. So this has been a troubled but very talented guy. Troubled. But talented.
Another question is whether Williams is comfortable running in a zone blocking scheme where he has to plant a foot in the ground, cut and head full bore down hill. That kind of running is not for every back. So the Dolphins have to figure out whether he's a system fit.
But I say this: The Dolphins are starting to matter. They are bordering on relevant. The reason that is the case is because they have suddenly found a crazy-good running game that has changed the entire personality of the team. This team is hot because neither Pittsburgh nor Buffalo could stop the run. And that helped Ryan Tannehill play quarterback. And that helped the defense. And that affected the scoreboard.
So Miami's running game has changed practically everything.
And the only way to keep that going is to have assets in place in case they have to replace the assets currently making this thing go. The team cannot simply just hand the role over to Williams or Drake if Ajayi is out for any amount of time. And not too many other guys on the street are likely to just pick up where Ajayi leaves off -- if that happens -- later this year.
The time to address this possibility is now.
(Before any superstitious souls creep in here, this isn't cursing Ajayi. This is about having vision and planning beyond one's nose).
So sign Karlos Williams? I don't know.
Study Karlos Williams? No doubt.
NOTE: Come back later today for the ProFootballFocus.com grades of the Dolphins victory over Buffalo. And follow me on twitter @ArmandoSalguero.