Eagles have a tricky decision to make at running back but we likely already have the answer

AUSTIN, TX – NOVEMBER 25: Texas running back Bijan Robinson (5) scores a touchdown during the game against the Baylor Bears on November 25, 2022, at Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, TX. (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire)

The NFL landscape almost changed dramatically once again this past week. With the NFL Draft just around the corner, a report came out stating that Derrick Henry was headed to the Philadelphia Eagles. That’s right, the 29-year-old wrecking ball would be joining a star-studded offense to make a Super Bowl run…or at least, that’s what was implied.

A smoke-screen?

We still don’t know how valid Akbar Gbajabiamila’s report was. All we know is that they’re represented by the same agency and that dots can be easily connected. But all is quiet on the Western Front…for now at least.

While the teams either do or don’t work out a trade, it’s at least worth exploring why the Eagles would even be interested in the first place.

Eagles could be interested in Bijan Robinson instead

Philadelphia enters the NFL Draft in a very unique spot. They hold two first-round picks, with one being the 10th overall selection that has already been linked heavily to Texas RB, Bijan Robinson. The Birds haven’t taken a running back since 1986, but there’s every reason to believe Robinson could, and should buck that trend.

Howie Roseman doesn’t like paying running backs. Who could blame him? UDFA Josh Adams actually had a solid season and led the team in rushing just a few years ago, and ever since the DeMarco Murray debacle, the backfield has been comprised of cheap and cheerful vets on prove-it deals and underdog rookies who also cost pennies on the dollar.

Philly finds itself in a very rare position where they could take Bijan Robinson thanks to a game-changing trade with the Saints. Sure, they could leverage that pick to fill another need, but if they truly believe Bijan Robinson is a generational talent and they can get him on a rookie deal for five years, why wouldn’t they?

What if Derrick Henry is the answer

Enter Derrick Henry. Nobody quite knows what Derrick Henry is going to cost. Whatever you do, don’t ask Twitter users what they’d be comfortable giving up because you’ll end up being burned at the stake. It’s clear that giving up the 10th overall pick would be way too much, but the Titans absolutely would not want to get burned again after they were embarrassed in the A.J Brown trade one year ago.

The Tennessean suggested that the Eagles would send a pair of third-rounders (2023 & 2024) in exchange for Derrick Henry and a late-rounder in 2023. This is viable, but if the Titans are wanting to aggressively rip down this roster, they need all the draft capital they can get, and they know teams will be all-in considering this is a fairly top-heavy draft class at the RB position.

I’d assume a second and third-round pick would get it done.

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry is congratulated by head coach Mike Vrabel, left, after scoring during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Red pill or blue pill?

So, the question becomes, is it worth the Eagles trading astutely accumulated assets for a 29-year-old RB who is clearly wearing down, when the most prized back since Saquon Barkley is fluttering his eyelashes at them?

Well, if you can avoid giving up both first-rounders and intend on using BOTH of them to draft players, absolutely. You get arguably the most dominant back in the NFL on a workable contract AND are still able to fill other holes with first-round-level talent. EDGE, OL, S it doesn’t matter. If you can tick two boxes and secure a back of Derrick Henry’s stature, that’s an unbelievable draft.

But if this offensive line can make Josh Adams look like Marshawn Lynch, and the Eagles already have a stable of backs that have proved they’re able to push this offense to the top of the rushing totem pole every year, why would they do either of those things?

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 14: Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman is pictured prior to the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles on October 14, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

Howie Roseman has spent more money in a week on coffee than he has on running backs in 7 years. Does this offense need a dominant downhill back when a committee effort can still get the job done?

That’s why we’re not being paid the big bucks.

The bottom line is that if the Eagles can find a way to snag Derrick Henry and maximize their draft capital, it will make this team look like something out of a Madden save. But if the price is too high and there are salivating options available elsewhere with the 10th overall pick, it is absolutely understandable to leave both backs on the table and walk away with a haul that will set the team up for long-term success.

Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire