Five veteran running backs the Eagles could target

In a recent episode of ‘Inside the Birds’, ESPN’s Adam Caplan cited that the Eagles may well be looking to add a veteran running back to their stable, with their eyes set on Carlos Hyde.

This would make a lot of sense in theory. The Eagles failed to add a running back this offseason outside of a UDFA pairing and the return of Corey Clement. It’s clear Miles Sanders is the star of the show, but it would be wise to add a veteran back who is effective on short-distance looks and is a downhill thumper to change the pace.

With that in mind, here are five potential names to watch:

Carlos Hyde

This one goes without saying due to his name being mentioned in the report, but it also makes sense. The 29-year-old is coming off of a career year where he ran for 1,070 yards and 6 touchdowns, picking up 55 first downs along the way.

What’s really important here is that in his second-best season, 2017, he spent time with Rich Scangarello, who is of course now a fixture in the Eagles ‘offensive coordinator by committee’ approach. He rushed for 938 yards and 8 touchdowns, but crucially had the best receiving year of his career so far, notching 350 yards through the air.

The 6’0, 229 lbs, back is as physical as they come but has some versatility in his back pocket that has long-gone underrated. This signing would be a great one should it ever cross the line.

Devonta Freeman

Freeman is the star of the remaining free agents, much like Jordan Howard once was. The difference here is that Freeman just isn’t the same runner he was a few years ago.

The 5’8, 206 lbs, back still hit 656 yards in 14 games last season. A lot of people linked this ‘down-year’ with the surgery he underwent in 2018 for a groin injury which kept him out of 14 games.

Freeman isn’t a big-bruiser and will basically fill the same role that Corey Clement should’ve done last year. Will it come at a cost? Maybe. But 16 teams drafted a running back last year and there’s no real opportunity to secure a big bag and become a bell-cow at this stage. He may have to cut his nose to spite his face and take on a change-of-pace role…and Philly may, just may be a nice ‘prove-it’ destination.

Isaiah Crowell

If Crowell has recovered from the torn Achilles he suffered in May last year, he would be a great fit for the hole left by Jordan Howard, and Jay Ajayi before him.

The first of two former Jets in this list, Crowell averaged 4.8 yards per carry in 2018, rushing for 685 yards and 6 touchdowns, bringing his five-year total to 3,803 yards and 27 scores.

This would go against Howie’s new ‘injury-free’ mindset, with Crowell suffering injuries in 2018 before the Achilles tear, but he didn’t miss a single game in the years before that.

Crowell would be a low-risk, potentially high-reward signing that packs a punch and runs extremely hard, willing to bowl into defenders just as quickly as he is to try and evade them. If that burst and explosiveness are still there, this move would be an excellent one.

Spencer Ware

This man has been linked with the Eagles (by me) in these kind of articles since forever, purely for the fact that he of course has ground his teeth in the Chiefs’ offense and overlapped with Doug Pederson.

What’s different this time around? Ware signed with the Colts last offseason (Hey Frank, miss you) but was cut at the end of Training Camp before eventually returning to his old stomping ground on December 3rd.

He may have only racked up 51 yards on 17 carries before ending up on IR with a shoulder injury on Christmas Day of all days, but context is important.

Ware was essentially given the job role of ‘fourth-quarter ice man’ as Boston Scott was last year for the Eagles. With 5 minutes or so to go and a lead in hand, just run the ball forward and drain the clock, as well as becoming the first into battle on early downs.

In 2018, the 29-year old had 246 rushing yards, and 224 receiving yards in 13 games.

Add in that he’s long been known as a grand pass-blocker and has laid out plenty of linebackers in his time. The Eagles can tick two boxes at once here

Bilal Powell

The long-time Jet fell out of a rotation that became centered around one Le’Veon Bell, but that doesn’t mean he should be ignored.

After a serious neck injury in 2018, it was unsure whether or not the veteran would be able to carry on pounding the rock. That rotational role behind Bell was perfect given the situation, allowing Powell to find his feet once more.

He only had 229 yards to his name last year, but being stuck behind a back like Bell who just dominated the snap share, this was always going to happen. Powell was the longest-tenured Jet on the roster this offseason and has 3,675 yards to his name along with 15 rushing touchdowns. Let’s not discount his 1,600 yards and 5 touchdowns through the air, either.

Over nine seasons, his 4.32 average yards per attempt actually rank 12th among backs with at least 800 attempts.

Powell is now 31-years-old and would be cheap, cheerful, and if he can take on a similar role behind Miles Sanders, somewhat lighten the load for the former second-round pick.

Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

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