In yesterdays interview at the opening of the 2017 NFL Combine, Coach Doug Pederson was very open about the teams intentions to at least kick the tires on Veteran RB Jamaal Charles. When asked about it in the proceedings, Pederson replied “I’ve got some history with him in Kansas City for three years, he’s a tremendous running back.” Later adding “It’s something we’ll evaluate now. We’ll grade him like we do every free agent and every person that has been released and see where he could fit into our offense.”
By no means did Pederson’s comments mean the Eagles,would attempt to sign the 4-time Pro Bowler, but they do add intrigue to an exciting time.
All this aside, we decided to weigh the Pro’s and Con’s of adding a talent like Charles, to see if he would be a fit in the Eagles long-term plans.
Pro: Healthy Charles, happy Wentz!
The injuries of Jamaal Charles have been well documented, from his 2 ACL tears (2011, 2015), to his lingering leg soreness in 2016. If those injuries are behind him and Charles is completely healthy, he would add the dominant backfield threat that Pederson searched for last year. In addition, a talent like Charles would cause match up problems all over the field..essentially helping Carson Wentz with his maturation and opening up the offense that much more. In turn, creating a balanced offense along with a very happy and successful Carson Wentz.
Con: Father time is undefeated
In todays NFL, ACL Tears aren’t the career ender’s they once were. The Eagles, medical staff has been second to none over the past few years, so if the Birds’ decided to bring him in, you can be sure his health won’t be the primary concern many believe it to be. Although, the team’s medical staff can’t do anything with age. 30-years old, isn’t “old” by any means, but at a position like running back, durability can be a problem. Charles, is an incredible player, but at 30, his career won’t have the longevity that the Eagles are trying to establish throughout the roster. The team want a group of core players who can grow and develop with Wentz..with that in mind, would adding him be the right move?
Pro: A Veteran presence
The Eagles drafted a piece for their future in Wendell Smallwood to serve as a running mate for QB Carson Wentz. In the small sample we all got to witness, he showed a lot of positives, but the biggest leap for any player is from year one to year two. So the addition of Charles could really help with Smallwood’s growth and any other young guy they decide to bring in. The hard running style he brings combined with the experience under Doug Pederson, could see him comparable to a Chase Daniel of the backfield..helping a young group of tailbacks reach their full potential.
Con: Taking a detour
Signing Charles wouldn’t take up too much, of the Eagles cap space. With his age and injury history, Charles might not have the leverage other player’s might have in free agency. Despite this, the Eagles have to continue their trend as of late. Signing players who are both younger in age and considered “Mid-Tier”, with high upside. It’s fair to say that this has really worked for the Birds’. The likes of Rodney Mcleod, Brandon Brooks, and Nigel Bradham, come to mind from last year alone. With Joe Douglas now onboard too, the team look to continue down that same path with the ambition of developing alongside a young quarterback in mind. These players, make up part of the nucleus of the team and have proven to be the right move for Philly. The Eagles have a need to add young, talented depth across the board at any position. Discount prices or not, the Birds’ are better served spending their limited cap space on homegrown talent and younger “Mid-Tier” prospects.
Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports