The Eagles need running back depth, that much is clear. There will be a whopping two running backs competing during Thursday’s matchup with the Browns with a grand opportunity to snatch the fourth spot on the roster, one that is of the upmost importance given Ajayi’s contract year and injury history and the pending retirement of Darren Sproles. If a back were to go down with an injury, the Eagles would be turning to Wendell Smallwood, who has averaged 2.2 yards per carry, or Josh Adams, who has barely taken part in offseason activities due to injury himself.
While it’s not an immediate need, taking the strain off of the starting trio would be a breath of fresh air. Wendell Smallwood has hardly instilled confidence that he can still emerge as Mr. Reliable, despite being given silver platter after silver platter this offseason. Luckily for the Eagles, help could be on the way.
Earlier today, the Kansas City Chiefs opted to cut 27-year old Charcandrick West. With the stunning breakout of Kareem Hunt partnering perfectly with the workhorse of Spencer Ware and a flurry of pass-catching backs, West was left out in the cold. Cutting him also happened to save the team $1.7m against the cap.
After carrying the ball just 18 times last season, scoring two touchdowns and racking up 72 yards, it’s safe to say West would have become a dying flame if he had stayed with the Chiefs, acting solely as Hunt’s backup…but it never used to be that way.
It’s well known Pederson had the play calling reins during the second half of games for the Chiefs after week 8. Of his 634 yards, 443 yards came in the final eight games, along with both of his touchdowns. Once Pederson left, Spencer Ware took on the starting role, limiting West to just 88 carries for 293 yards and a touchdown. It’s nor farfetched to imagine that Pederson preferred the style of West as his workhorse back, who also caught over 200 receiving yards during that 2015 campaign.
West would be the perfect compliment to an offense that has been fundamentally run under his nose since his arrival in Kansas City. If anybody knows the ability West possesses and whether or not he would be a low-risk, high-reward payoff, it’s the man that orchestrated his most successful season yet.
The Eagles have nothing to lose. What was once a very intriguing and exciting backfield battle has disintegrated into mediocrity and disappointment. Opportunities have been shoved into the faces of the few backs that have been able to fight through injury and they have all been left on the table going cold.
West has proven himself under Pederson and would provide the Eagles some sense of security in the event on a freak injury. At 27, he’s young enough to continue his development and build on the previous success he’s enjoyed under the Super Bowl winning Head Coach.
There are just two weeks of preseason games left to filter out the men from the boys and the problem for the Eagles is that it’s a room left stricken by doubt and uncertainty, even at the starting level. Ajayi could have a monster season, but if he does, it may also be his last. Corey Clement is the only long-term option on the roster and while future draft capital and free agents await, bringing in a cheap and familiar insurance policy almost makes too much sense.
The question is, will Howie Roseman work his magic?
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