The Eagles are signing free agent running back Jordan Howard to their practice squad, according to a report Thursday by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Why bring Howard back now?
First of all, as COVID cases rise around the country and the NFL, he gives you insurance in case one of the Eagles’ regular running backs is unavailable. He knows the offense, has tons of NFL experience, has been a 1,000-yard rusher twice and a Pro Bowler and is presumably healthy after getting just 28 carries over the last 12 months.
Plus, as talented as he is, Miles Sanders has been banged up. He finished last year with an ankle sprain, he missed the opener against Washington with a hamstring injury and missed the first Giants game and the Cowboys game with a knee injury that he suffered against the Ravens.
The Eagles have other backs, but they don't have anybody who's ever been a regular NFL starter.
Howard cleared waivers on Monday after a disastrous stint with the Dolphins, who released him just eight months after they signed him to a two-year, $9.75 million contract.
He’ll earn $12,000 per week on the practice squad.
According to the NFL's safety protocols, Howard won't be able to join the Eagles until he passes a COVID test for six consecutive days.
Howard had 525 rushing yards and a 4.4 average with six touchdowns for the Eagles through nine games last year before suffering a serious shoulder injury. He played only one snap the rest of the season.
His absence allowed Sanders to blossom the second half of the year and gave Boston Scott a chance to play, and with Sanders, Scott and Corey Clement returning, the Eagles did not make any attempt to re-sign Howard this past offseason.
So Howard hit free agency and the Dolphins gave him a deal including a $3 million signing bonus.
But he never got untracked in Miami, averaging only 1.2 yards on 28 carries, although he did score four touchdowns. He played in only five games for the Dolphins before he was released.
If he doesn’t play again this year, Howard’s 1.2 rushing average will be the lowest by an NFL running back with 20 or more carries in 52 years.
Howard just turned 26 earlier this month and despite not playing regularly in a year, he has the sixth-most rushing yards and sixth-most rushing TDs in the NFL since he entered the league in 2016.
Sanders is second in the NFL with 6.0 yards per carry despite averaging only 14.3 carries per game. The Eagles are third in the NFL with 5.1 yards per carry but 27th with 24 carries per game.
Howard is the third running back on the Eagles’ practice squad. Elijah Holyfield, who finished last year on the 53-man roster, and undrafted rookie Adrian Killins are also on the practice squad but neither has ever played in an NFL game.
In addition to Sanders, Scott and Clement, the Eagles also have rookie Jason Huntley on the 53-man roster. He has three carries for 14 yards.
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