Should Eagles kick the tires on this former Jets running back?


Following a highly-productive offseason in which the team welcomed a huge influx of talent, the Eagles don’t currently possess any glaring weaknesses. Conversely, the Birds boast one of the more loaded rosters in the league at present. Despite their abundance of talent, however, the Eagles have shown an unwillingness to be satisfied and are constantly on the prowl for more depth.

That search could lead them to directly to free-agent running back Bilal Powell.

Yesterday, teams around the league were informed via letter that Powell has been fully cleared from a once career-threatening neck injury, according to a report from NFL Insider Ian Rapoport. The news, albeit encouraging, hardly registered a blip on the radar around the league. Although Powell has been around for nearly a decade, he’s a few pegs shy of a superstar. If there’s one team that could find a use for his services, however, it’s Philadelphia.

The 5-foot-10, 204-pound Powell has been quite the dynamic dual-threat halfback during his tenure in the NFL. The former Louisville star has appeared in 96 games with 37 starts on his career, totaling 3,446 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns on 791 attempts, averaging 4.4 yards per carry.

He’s also amassed 204 career catches for 1,567 and four touchdowns on 297 targets in eight seasons with the New York Jets.

His ability to prosper as both a runner and receiver have put him in some elite company, as he is one of just ten players to record 2100+ rushing yards, 1000+ receiving yards, and 130+ receptions since the start of 2015. The other nine? Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, Devonta Freeman, Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, Mark Ingram, Lamar Miller, David Johnson, and LeSean McCoy.

Still just 30 years old (won’t turn 31 until Week 8), Powell is the perfect low-risk, high-reward candidate at this point in the offseason. Due to the severe neck injury, he sustained last season, Powell likely won’t cost too much and will likely have to settle for a one-year prove-it deal- a specialty of Eagles GM Howie Roseman. After expressing heavy interest in Browns RB Duke Johnson earlier in the offseason, the Eagles could land a player with an almost identical skill set for pennies on the dollar. While a Powell signing likely won’t improve the Eagles championship odds much, he is certainly worth a look for a team that values running back depth so highly.

Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports