Maybe it didn’t make a ton of sense for the Eagles to bring back Jordan Howard last week. After all, the 26-year-old has seen a steep drop-off in his play and even admitted that no other teams were calling.
But here’s the thing: There’s absolutely no downside.
Howard’s one-year deal with the Eagles is for veteran minimum for someone with his level of NFL service and includes no guaranteed money, according to a league source.
So if Howard shows up to training camp and doesn’t make the team, the Eagles can cut him and move on without any penalty. If he does make the team and becomes a contributor, then he’ll be doing it for the minimum.
Here are the details of Howard’s contract:
Base salary: $990,000
Signing bonus: $0
Guaranteed money: $0
Salary cap hit: $850,000
Howard’s deal is actually a veteran salary benefit deal, which means his cap hit counts even less, the equivalent of a player with just two years of service. These deals are meant to encourage teams to sign veterans over younger and cheaper players.
With Howard’s deal and Eric Wilson’s, the Eagles have $5,021,321 in available salary cap space for the 2021 season, according to the updated figures from the NFLPA.
“Honestly, my market was just pretty dry,” Howard said earlier this week. “I was at the point I was having thoughts I might be done because teams weren’t really calling.”
It’s wild that Howard’s stock has dropped this quickly. This time last year, he signed a two-year, $9.75 million contract with $4.75 million guaranteed with the Dolphins. But he played just five games with the Dolphins and was awful before they cut him. A year later, Howard signed a deal without any guaranteed money.
After the Dolphins cut him last year, the Eagles brought Howard back on their practice squad and elevated him for two games. He had just seven carries with the Eagles last year and just 35 all season.
But in 2019, before a shoulder injury basically ended his season, Howard played well for the Eagles. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry and seemed like a decent complement to Miles Sanders.
This time around, there are no guarantees Howard even makes the roster. But because the Eagles have absolutely nothing to lose, it’s worth finding out if he has anything left.
Howard at least thinks he does.
“I still feel like I have a lot left,” he said. “Past two years, I got the injury that put me out for a lot, last year I didn’t really play, so I feel like I have a lot left in the tank.”
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