This past weekend, Adam Caplan of the Inside the Birds podcast reported that the Eagles had interest in adding veteran Carlos Hyde to bolster the running back corps. We wrote a bit about Hyde, who would be a great fit, yesterday afternoon.
Mike Garafolo was on the NFL Network later in the day and touched on the Hyde rumor while dropping the names of Devonta Freeman and LeSean McCoy as well.
“I look at the names that are still out there, I think the running back market provides some of the sexiest names. Some of the names that folks would recognize, certainly at a skill position. I’m looking at Devonta Freeman still out there, Carlos Hyde still out there, LeSean McCoy still out there. And speaking of McCoy, the former Eagle, I mentioned that he was a possibility perhaps to go back to Philly. And I’d still say that that’s the case because I do believe the Eagles are going to add a veteran running back here in the near future. […] And, yeah, they’ve been in on Hyde. They were in on Freeman, as well. We’ll see what happens with Freeman here in the near future. But I would look for the Eagles to add a veteran running back, someone that’s willing to get back Miles Sanders and understand that he’s the No. 2 back there.”
I’m out on Shady McCoy, who turns 32 in July and was scratched from the Super Bowl despite being healthy. It just feels like that ship has sailed, and I get the sense that Eagles fans who want to bring him back are unknowingly influenced by nostalgia instead of pragmatically looking at what he’d offer to the team. LeSean has carried the ball more than 2,500 times in his 11-year career and is coming off a season in which he ran it 101 times for 465 yards.
They’d be better served with Hyde or Freeman, who are younger guys with less mileage. Freeman is two years removed from an injury-plagued season, which is a red flag, but he only has about 1,200 career carries, which is half of the workload Shady has logged over the years. Freeman had three years and $21 million remaining on his contract, but he was released by the Falcons, who decided to bring in Todd Gurley instead.
Hyde is clearly the preferable choice of the three. He had the best 2019 season, he’s a little bit bigger, and he’s more of a north/south runner, which is what the Eagles really need. Shady playing behind Miles Sanders might be a little redundant, since both guys are slasher types and not exactly between-the-tackles bruisers. You’re looking to replicate what you had with Sanders and Jordan Howard last year, ala Reggie Bush and Lendale White from the USC days.
Another question I see popping up on Twitter is this –
If those guys come here, will they get enough carries?
On the surface, you’d say no, since the Eagles like to throw the ball and already have a lead back in Sanders. But if you look at last season and go through Howard’s game logs, he got 19 and 23 carries in the two games preceding his injury, which were the Chicago and Buffalo wins. Doug Pederson had just started to shift away from the passing game and began running the ball a bit more when Howard went down.
That’s omething to think about. If they brought in Carlos Hyde or Devonta Freeman, there’s recent evidence that Doug is willing to shift a bit more to the run game if the passing game isn’t working out.