Eagles Free Agent Outlook: Running Backs

Image Courtesy CBSsports.com

Image Courtesy CBSsports.com

Over the next few days, Pattison Ave will be addressing the Eagles free agents needs while evaluating each position.

Current position addressed: Running Back

It was only one year ago that I was writing about the Eagles rushing attack and how it was the NFL’s best. LeSean McCoy was coming off a career high, NFL leading 1,607 yards and nine touchdowns.. Bryce Brown and Chris Polk, whom accounted for another 412 yards and five touchdowns, flanked him in the backfield. Fast-forward one year, and only Polk remains, but how long is the question.

Today, the Eagles qualified Polk at the lowest restricted tender ($1.6 million), meaning, if another team chooses to sign the former Washington Huskie, the Eagles receives zero compensation. If Polk were to be signed away, the Eagles would be left with Darren Sproles and the stat-less Matthew Tucker. While Sproles is an excellent complimentary back, he clearly wore down and was misused by the end of the season.

Now is where things get tricky for the Eagles. Do they attack the free agent market to find a running back, and in doing so, committing between $4-5 million on such a back? Or, do the Eagles take the New England Patriots strategy and draft a couple of running backs and go by committee?

If the Birds decide to hit the free agent market, here are three running backs the team should be interested.

  • Mark Ingram: The oft-injured running back was finally given an opportunity to be the bellcow for New Orleans last season, and he promptly got hurt. But once he returned, Ingram was one of the top backs in the league. The New Jersey native played in 13 games and ran for 964 yards and nine touchdowns. The former Alabama running back has numerous connections to the Eagles
  • CJ Spiller: Another running back that has dealt with an injury history, including a broken collarbone that ended his season last year. Never the “go-to” back, the Clemson product has just one season where he rushed for over 1,000 yards. Spiller also has excellent hands, which would add another dimension to the Eagles offense. CSNPhilly’s Geoff Mosher reported last year that the Birds inquired about Spiller’s availability before trading for Sproles.
  • Shane Vereen: The Super Bowl champion’s price tag continues to drop, and he employs a skill set that would make Chip Kelly Vereen rushed the ball just 96 times, but did average 4.1 yards per career. The California native set career highs across the board in rushes (96), yards rushing (391), receptions (52), and yards receiving (447). He would be a strong addition if the Eagles were to use a running back by committee approach.

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