Why Kenneth Gainwell should be the Eagles lead running back in 2023

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 21: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) hands off to Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell (14) during the NFC Divisional playoff game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants on January 21, 2023 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

One of the toughest decisions that the Eagles will be facing this offseason will revolve around the running back position. While Miles Sanders had a career year by finishing with 1,269 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, he may have priced himself out of Philadelphia.

Now, is it possible that he takes a discount to stay with the team that drafted? Absolutely. But he would be doing himself a disservice when there are a couple of teams that would pay him more. So what does that mean for the Eagles? Do they have to reset the running back room now?

No, the Eagles are actually in a good position to move on from Sanders. They have the perfect replacement for Miles Sanders and he just so happens to have two years left on his rookie contract. Kenneth Gainwell is more than ready to shoulder the load for the Eagles going forward. Handing him the reigns this offseason would be a huge advantage for Philadelphia as his cap hit for the next two seasons is barely above $1 million.

While Gainwell barely touched the ball in the regular season, it was in the postseason that he greatly shined. Gainwell may have finished with only 240 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns on a limited amount of touches during the regular season. But the Eagles showed their faith in the second-year tailback as he rushed for 187 yards during the playoffs while averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

In comparison to Miles Sanders, Gainwell outpaced Sanders at an efficient rate on the same amount of touches. Sanders had 34 attempts for 148 rushing yards and two touchdowns while averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Kenny had 33 attempts for more yards while averaging nearly 1.3 yards more per carry.

There’s also the health history that favors Gainwell more. While Miles Sanders has missed about 10 games in the last three years, there could be a benefit of starting fresh with a back that doesn’t have much tread on him. The odds are in Kenny Gainwell’s favor with the number of free agents that the Eagles have this offseason.

Eagles have to be smart…

Don’t get me wrong, I think the world of Miles Sanders but if the Eagles want to return to the Super Bowl then they can’t go for broke this offseason. The best course of action will be to let Miles Sander walk while receiving a comp pick for him instead of handcuffing themselves to a deal that will only lessen their chances of retaining a more needed positional player.

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire