Over the last few weeks, we’ve heard plenty about the Eagles’ reported interest in several veteran running backs like Carlos Hyde, Devonta Freeman and LeSean McCoy.
They haven’t signed one yet.
There’s a reason for that.
To be clear, I’m not ruling out the possibility that the Eagles eventually add another running back to the roster; it is possible. The Eagles are always looking to acquire talent. But I wouldn’t anticipate that type of move coming soon for one main reason: The Eagles really like what they have.
And it doesn’t just start and end with Miles Sanders.
The Eagles like the entire group of running backs they have right now. Sanders is obviously the top guy and has the potential to become a true star in the NFL. But I still wouldn’t expect Doug Pederson to completely abandon the running back by committee approach. Sure, it’ll be less of a committee in 2020. Sanders is a feature back and deserves the bulk of the team’s touches. But there’s more too. Namely, Boston Scott.
Here’s a reminder of the Eagles’ running backs:
Michael Warren II
• The Eagles really like Scott, who proved to everyone that he can play in the final quarter of the 2019 season. In the last four games of the regular season, as the Eagles went 4-0 to lock up the NFC East, Scott averaged 87.5 scrimmage yards. He carried the Eagles to victory in Week 17 against the Giants when he had three rushing touchdowns and was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week. The Eagles don’t think that’s a fluke.
Really, the Birds are lucky they didn’t lose Scott. Looking back, they were probably too slow to call him up from the practice squad in October. And remember, the Eagles liked Scott enough in 2018 to poach him off the Saints’ practice squad in December and keep him on the roster throughout the playoffs even though he barely played on offense. When he finally got a chance to play in 2019, the former Saints’ 6th-round pick made the most of it.
• The Eagles still really like Clement too. Now, they didn’t like him enough to tender him as a restricted free agent but that ended up being a smart move because they got him back at a cheaper price, on a veteran minimum deal. Clement has had significant injuries in each of the last two years, so they can’t really rely on them. But coming off the 2017 season, the Eagles thought they had something in Clement. A couple years later, that’s more in question, but the Eagles want to see if that talent is still inside him.
• Remember when the Eagles poached Scott from the Saints’ practice squad? Well, the Eagles did something similar with Holyfield last year. After Holyfield spent the entire 2019 season on the Panthers’ practice squad, the Eagles brought him in on their active roster for the brief playoff run. It was a way for them to get a guy they saw as a draftable player in 2019 at the end of the year. Going into 2020, he has a shot to be the between-the-tackles complement to Sanders and Scott.
• And then there’s Warren and Killins, two undrafted rookies from the 2020 class. Of the two, Warren probably has the best shot to stick early on. He graded out as a draftable player for the Eagles, who then guaranteed him $57,500.
Sure, after Sanders and maybe Scott, the Eagles don’t have a ton of depth without question marks, but they feel like they have some young talent. And one of the lessons they learned from guys like Scott and Greg Ward last year is the importance of letting young and hungry players play.
Of the three veterans who had been linked to the Eagles, Hyde is the only one who has been signed so far. He went to the Seahawks on a 1-year deal worth $2.75 million. That was clearly out of the Eagles’ price range. So unless they can get Freeman or Shady for around a league minimum contract, expect the Eagles to roll with what they have at running back.
If the Eagles are right about what they have, that won’t be a bad thing.
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