Here’s another report about the Eagles’ pursuit of a veteran running back.
The Philadelphia Eagles are looking to add a veteran running back in the near future and have narrowed their focus to three players, according to sources: Devonta Freeman, Carlos Hyde and LeSean McCoy.
The Eagles are bullish on second-year back Miles Sanders, believing he has the makings of a Pro Bowl-caliber player, and envision a role for Boston Scott that is at least similar to last season’s, but want to add depth and talent to a group that also features Super Bowl LII standout Corey Clement
The Eagles have already reached out and expressed interest in Freeman, according to a league source. He has fans in the Eagles’ building, including running backs coach Duce Staley, whose relationship with Freeman dates to Freeman’s playing days at Florida State.
McCoy himself said he could see himself playing one more year in Philadelphia, but he turns 32 in July and has 2,500 carries over the course of an 11-year NFL career. He’s a smaller and shiftier runner with a game similar to Miles Sanders, so bringing Shady back just feels like it would be a redundant move.
T-Mac says Freeman has other suitors in the Seahawks and Jets, with Seattle reportedly extending a one-year deal worth $4 million. Freeman is two years removed from an injury-plagued season but still only has 1,200 career carries at age 28, so that’s about 50% of Shady’s workload. He’ll give you more in a north/south fashion is probably a better complement to Sanders.
But Hyde is clearly the pick of the bunch. He’s coming off a 1,000 yard season in Houston, he plays in the 225 pound range, and he’s the best between-the-tackles runner in that group. If you’re looking for somebody who can replicate what Jordan Howard did last year, Hyde resembles that much more than McCoy or Freeman. He’d also likely command the most money, and if there’s a $4 million offer on the table for Freeman, then that would inflate Hyde’s asking price.
Some notes RE: Hyde that I wrote out in a recent post:
- He turns 30 in September but only has 1,072 career carries. Last year he actually had his career high in rushing attempts, with 245 for 1,070 yards for the Texans. There’s definitely something left in the tank.
- Obviously he won’t carry the ball that many times if he comes to Philly, but working via committee could extend his career further.
- Pretty angry runner. He’s plays around 225-230 pounds and continues through contact for extra yards. That’s something the Birds could really use.
- He’s a good pass catcher. Didn’t do much in this area last year, but from 2016 to 2017 in San Francisco he caught 86 of 121 targets for 513 yards and three touchdowns.
- Above-average in pass protection.
I know some people wonder why Carlos Hyde would come to Philadelphia to back up Miles Sanders and be the #2 guy on the depth chart, which is a valid concern. Thing is, Jordan Howard was given 23 carries and 19 carries in the two games prior to his injury, both of which the Eagles won. That’s existing proof that Doug Pederson is willing to run the ball more, it just took him a while to make that adjustment last year. Howard had 119 carries for 525 yards in 10 games with the Eagles, but if you extrapolate the back end of the season based on the Chicago and Buffalo numbers, he could have added about 120 more carries for ~520 yards, which would have seen him crest 1,000.
It’s something to chew on, the Howard thing. Sanders’ sophomore season should be fantastic to watch, but you still need somebody to give you that ‘oomph’ between the tackles, which makes Hyde the pick of this bunch.