Philadelphia’s defense of their Super Bowl crown has not gone according to plan. Instead of playing for consecutive first-round-byes, the Eagles are fighting for their playoff lives. Plenty of blame can go around from the players to the coaches. However, there have been some bright spots this season and perhaps none brighter than the recent emergence of Josh Adams.
Philadelphia snagged undrafted running back Josh Adams a year after having similar success with signing Corey Clement. Like Clement, Adams has taken advantage of the big opportunity the Eagles have given him. He’ll have the rest of the season to prove he belongs as a starting NFL running back.
Josh Adams Season Stats
Adams has only been the lead back for Philadelphia since week eight in London but has been making the most of his opportunities. He still splits carries with Clement, and Sproles, but has led the team in rushing each game since week eight, with the exception of last night where he had to make an early exit due to injury.
His four rushes of 20 yards are more is also more than encouraging through seven weeks. Josh Adams has been slowly proving that he has great burst and can get into the open field. Although, Adams is more used to using his 6’2, 225-pound frame to bully defenders with his tough downhill running style.
Although Adams’ sample size is still small, his 5.0 yards per attempt prior to Sunday night ranked 12th in the NFL (50+ attempts) and is an encouraging start to his NFL career.
Why Adams Could Win The Job
The Eagles tight cap situation could become a big factor for Adams keeping his starting role into next season. The Eagles will have to cut some players in the offseason just to get under the cap (exactly $15,679, 822 over the cap), making the signing of a free agent running back less of a probability.
Outside of the cuts the Eagles will have to make, they have some big-time free agent decisions of their own. Currently, they’ll have five key free agents to think about bringing back: Brandon Graham, Ronald Darby, Golden Tate, Jay Ajayi and Jordan Hicks.
Obviously, not all will be back with the team but for every player that does, that will equal less money for the Eagles to spend on a running back in free agency. That, of course, includes their decision on whether or not to keep Jay Ajayi. It remains to be seen when Ajayi can even get healthy as he tore his ACL in week 5.
Obviously, the Eagles decision to bring back Ajayi or not is probably Adams biggest hurdle in keeping his starting job.
Even though Josh Adams hasn’t proven himself to be a great receiver in college or the NFL, the Eagles will still have Clement on the roster who accumulated 262 receiving yards and three touchdowns through the air last season and is currently at 192 receiving yards this season. the Eagles can also bring back Darren Sproles for another season as a change of pace/pass-catching running back as well.
Why Adams Could Lose the Job
The Eagles could decide to clear out enough players and take a run at Le’Veon Bell. The ex-Steelers running back would command north of the four years $60 million dollar contract that Todd Gurley signed this past offseason. Although this is probably a stretch, you can never put anything past GM Howie Roseman.
The Eagles could also look at bringing in Mark Ingram or a different veteran running back for the starting job.
However, the most likely scenario is the Eagles will draft a running back if they fall in love with one during the drafting process. In fact, Philadelphia has two second-round picks and could use one on a number of backs including, David Montgomery of Iowa State, Damien Harris of Alabama and Darell Henderson of Memphis. Philadelphia could also look at another back in the later rounds like Benny Snell Jr, Rodney Anderson, Justice Hill or Bryce Love.
Eagles Running Back Of The Future
Josh Adams has proven in the six games as a starter that he can, in fact, be a productive running back. The Pennsylvania native is young, under a cheap contract and is producing at a high level.
Philadelphia shouldn’t give money to Ajayi as he’ll be coming off two injuries and Clement can be the perfect change of pace back to Adams power running style. Running backs coach Duce Staley loves to deploy a running back-by-committee approach, so it would seem odd if the Eagles used a high pick on a running back when they have problems elsewhere.
Josh Adams might not be the long-term solution at running back. But he has at least earned the right to prove that he can be next season. Adams can strengthen his case in the remaining three weeks with big games as the Eagles fight for their playoff lives.
Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports