Remaining Running Back Options for the 2019 Birds

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles did not get Tevin Coleman.

He went to San Francisco on a two-year deal worth $10 million, which is somewhat strange to me, because I felt like he could have earned more years and more money from somebody else.

But whatever. He’s off the board. Le’Veon Bell is off the board, as is Mark Ingram, while Jay Ajayi reportedly takes a trip to Indianapolis. Latavius Murray is a Saint.

So who’s left?

Some thoughts:

Free agents

There are a couple of decent guys still available, though I wouldn’t describe the market as “robust.”

T.J. Yeldon

25 years old, he’s coming off a season where he ran the ball 104 times for 414 yards while catching a 55 passes for 487 yards and 4 touchdowns. The rushing numbers weren’t impressive, but those receiving stats were all career highs.

He’s a decent player, he’s still young, and he’s not going to cost too much. You can do worse than taking a look at Yeldon if you’re committed to adding a complementary piece in the draft, then letting Wendell Smallwood or Josh Adams fill out your stable as the third guy. The Eagles’ offense is predicated on passing, and that’s where most of their money is tied up. They historically have not spent much on the running back position.

Spencer Ware

Hamstring injuries last year limited the 27 year old to 51 carries. He also missed the entirety of 2017.

But if you can reprise a 2016 in which he ran the ball 214 times for 921 yards and 6 touchdowns, maybe it’s worth a flier here. He’s also a good pass catcher and averages 11.5 yards per reception over the course of his career.

Alex Collins

Waived by the Ravens two weeks ago after crashing his car into a tree.

From USA Today:

Collins has been charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute and having a handgun in a vehicle. He was released on $7,500 posted bond following an initial bail hearing shortly after midnight Saturday morning.

Bummer, since Collins made a name for himself in inspirational fashion, first getting waived by Seattle, going unclaimed, then signing with the Baltimore practice squad a few days later. He went on to run for 973 yards and 6 touchdowns.

He’s a good player, and I wonder how much the red flags are keeping teams away. If you do your due diligence here, or wait out the legal process and see what happens, he might be an option.

C.J. Anderson

Had a nice late-season resurgence after being signed by the Rams off waivers, appearing in two regular season and five playoff games and running the ball for nearly 500 yards on 89 carries.

Anderson had a 1,000 yard rushing season with the Broncos in 2017, which really is not long ago.

The trade route

Duke Johnson

With Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb in the fold, Johnson is likely surplus in Cleveland.

He has a base salary of $1.8 million that becomes guaranteed this weekend, and I think you only go with Johnson if you’re committed to the “running back by committee” idea that the Eagles have used in recent years.

Johnson has only run the ball 299 times in four NFL seasons while catching 235 passes. He’s a change of pace guy and excellent receiver out of the backfield, a third-down back in the Eagles’ system.

Jordan Howard

Looks like he’s being squeezed out in Chicago after the Mike Davis signing. I could see Howard being traded on draft day.

Howard is a solid downhill runner, just 24 years old with a Pro Bowl under his belt. He had a “down” year in 2018, rushing for sub-1000 yards for the first time in his career, but if the price is right, you’d be getting a guy on the last year of his rookie deal who hits the salary cap at a very manageable level.

Matt Breida

The Niners just added Coleman and they return Jerick McKinnon from an ACL tear. Matt Breida earns next to nothing and might be available on the cheap if San Fran is looking to unload him. I’m not sure there are enough touches to go around for all three of Coleman, McKinnon, and Breida.

The draft

This seems the most likely route. I highly doubt the Eagles will use the 25th pick on a running back, and they shouldn’t, since this is a deep defensive line draft and the Birds love their defensive linemen.

Some of the guys under consideration:

David Montgomery

No-nonsense tackle-breaker from Iowa State. I profiled him a few weeks back.

Josh Jacobs

Probably won’t be available in the 2nd round. He’s gonna go in the 1st or early second, so if the Eagles want him, they’d have to burn the 25th pick. He’s projected to be the first runner off the board.

Guy is a violent ball carrier and good pass catcher. 120 carries, 640 yards, and 11 touchdowns last season as a junior, plus 20 catches for 247 and three scores.

Here’s a good mix tape without shitty music:

Damien Harris

Harris also comes to the NFL via Bama, but most mocks have him somewhere in the 30-45 range.

He’s a north/south runner without breakaway speed, but he’ll break tackles and dish out punishment at the point of contact. Good between the tackles kind of guy who put up these stats at Alabama:

Devin Singletary

He’s the Florida Atlantic kid, 5’9″, 200 pounds, more of a finesse runner than the Alabama guys but a really intriguing prospect. I’ve read a lot of draft profiles that describe his best trait as his elusiveness while also explaining that he didn’t do a ton of pass catching at the college level.

He ran for almost 1,400 yards last year and compiled 69 of those yards at Oklahoma, which was, by far, FAU’s toughest opponent of the year:

There are some later-round prospects as well, and you’ve Miles Sanders from Penn State hovering in this area as well. I think we’ll break those out and do individual profiles as we get closer to the draft.

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9 Responses

  1. Unbelievable, even my own party is turning misogynistic and racist. Beto should not run. Elizabeth Warren has waited long enough. There is no room on the left for toxic masculinity!

  2. Fucking Amazes me why Buffalo will not let shady go . Almost keeping him out of spite

    1. I’m sure the VD clinics in Buffalo pale in comparison to the ones in Philly. Poor Shady.

  3. Disappointed you didn’t include LeSean McCoy as a trade option like every other idiot Eagle fan who thinks McCoy and Jaccson equals guaranteed Super Bowl victory.

    No need for a running back though when the QB just “reads out” of the run option every play because he has to throw his boyfriend at tight end the ball. Gotta pad those passing and receiving stats.

    1. WTF?
      Is english you’re second language?
      Trying learning how to type grammatically correct sentences.

  4. No mention of Darren Sproles? Wasn’t the offense more effective when he came back? Or are you so worried about his injury history and age that you didn’t even bother? He’d still be a fine complementary piece to go along with a newly drafted RB and their current roster, and I’m guessing he won’t be too expensive at this point either.

  5. Paying RB’s is a dumb move. That’s been widely known for 10 years now. So why are we talking about paying a RB? Just draft the best one on the board with one of our 2nd round picks.

  6. what about Ajayi? Clement? are they still on the IR or are they FA? I think Ajayi is a FA, but could perhaps be brought back on a make good type contract. If those two guys are healthy, then you don;t need to trade or sign a FA….just draft a young guy and groom him.

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