Proven in the playoffs, the Eagles #1 priority should be addressing the RB position
Let’s face it, the Eagles running back committee is awful. Is that Howie Roseman’s fault? No. He came into the season with a core of Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles, a trio a lot of NFL teams would be fairly happy with. But, as Eagles fans know, injuries happen. All three of these players have missed extensive time, and Darrren Sproles is the only one currently on the active roster (ironically, he has contributed the most this season). The Eagles clearly need to address this issue, and here’s how they can.
With Jay Ajayi not going to be the same player, and a fairly weak RB class, the Eagles haven’t picked the right offseason to look for a running back. Damien Harris, David Montgomery, Justice Hill and Bryce Love are options in the draft, but none scream “everydown back” like this year’s rookies Saquon Barkley and Phillip Lindsay do. If the Eagles do go for a RB in the draft, I’d expect them to retain Jay Ajayi on a one year prove-it deal. He has had knee injuries in the past, so he needs to prove to teams two things: he can remain healthy and still be successful despite the crushing blow to the knee.
We cannot forget about Corey Clement, however. Clement was an absolute steal by Howie Roseman, and ultimately could have been named Super Bowl 52 MVP (that would be a reach, though). He will definitely be a focal point in the 2019-20 offense, but he cannot be your teams lead running back. Clement did not have the best season, but when he was fully healthy he was reliable in pass protection and still showed the bursts of quickness that we saw in the miraculous 2017-18 Super Bowl run.
Free Agency is always a possibility, too. Other then Jay Ajayi, some looming FAs include Le’Veon Bell, T.J. Yeldon, Tevin Coleman, Mark Ingram and Frank Gore. Bell seems like a long shot, but I think the Eagles should try to find a way to bring Mark Ingram to Philly. He is a powerful back that the Eagles can use as a weapon in the red zone, and also can rely on in short yardage situations. He hasn’t had the opportunity to be an every down back recently due to the emergence of Alvin Kamara, but due to this New Orleans could let him walk and allow Kamara to take over.
Ultimately, I think the Eagles will bring back Jay Ajayi on a one year deal, have Sproles play one more year, and draft a running back (my #1 choice would by either Damien Harris or David Montgomery), and have Clement as well.
This offseason will be the most interesting one for Howie Roseman in a while, with many pending FAs and draft picks to consider.
One final option to add is Leonard Fournette. I don’t want to dive too deep into this,because it is not a guarantee Fournette is cut or traded. However, the Jaguars have removed the guarantees from his contract leading teams to believe he could be on his way out in Jacksonville.
Here are the three most likely Eagles RB cores for next season:
Option #1 (most likely):
Jay Ajayi/Damien Williams/Corey Clement/Darren Sproles
Option #2 (less likely):
T.J Yeldon or Tevin Coleman/Corey Clement/Darren Sproles/Josh Adams
Option #3 (long shot):
Le’Veon Bell/Corey Clement/Josh Adams/Wendell Smallwood
No matter what he decides, I have faith Howie Roseman and co. will make the right decision and pair Carson Wentz with a running back to lead the Eagles for years to come.
Report by Jack Margolin