The Philadelphia Eagles only have two running backs under contract that were on the team's 2014 active roster: Darren Sproles and Chris Polk. With LeSean McCoy being shipped to the Buffalo Bills, the Eagles have a gaping hole at the running back position on their roster.
It looked like the Eagles filled that need by signing Frank Gore but now the veteran has decided to reconsider Philadelphia's offer. He might sign with the Indianapolis Colts instead. If that's the case, the Eagles will need to consider other options.
Here's a look at five players they could target.
1) C.J. Spiller
Spiller is probably the second best running back on the market behind 2014 NFL leading rusher DeMarco Murray. Eagles fans are already familiar with Spiller due to the team's rumored interest in him from last season. Here's what I wrote about Spiller last week, when he suggested he might have some interest in the Eagles.
Spiller has started 36 games for Buffalo in 70 total appearances. He's rushed for 3,321 yards and 12 touchdowns on 668 attempts for an average of 5.0 yards per carry. He's also recorded 158 receptions for 1,195 yards and six scores. Spiller is also a capable punt and kick returner with career averages of 12.1 and 24.4, respectively.Spiller isn't without concerns. He's fumbled 17 times over five seasons. He's also dealt with numerous injury issues, including a broken collarbone in 2014.
Part of the reason (but not nearly the whole reason) of why the Eagles traded McCoy is reportedly because of his "east-west" style of running. It seemed like the signing of Gore indicated Chip Kelly wants a power runner. I'm not sure if they'll go crazy for Spiller in this case.
2) Ryan Mathews
"The Eagles traded LeSean McCoy, then pursued Mark Ingram and Frank Gore in free agency. It seems Chip Kelly is intent on implementing an inside zone-power run game emphasizing north-south running after McCoy's east-west style left yards on the field last season. Mathews is as fragile as they come, but his running mentality would fit the revised system."
Mathews' injury history is concerning. He's only played all 16 games in one season of his five-year career. He might be worth the risk, but it's hardly a slam dunk option.
3) Roy Helu
"The Eagles traded LeSean McCoy just days ago, so they are likely looking for ways to replace his production. Helu is an ideal rotational back for Chip Kelly, as he is a quality blocker, an above average receiver, a special teams veteran and has little wear on his tires. Helu could serve as a replacement for Chris Polk if he were to leave as a restricted free agent or serve as a member of a possible four-back unit with Polk, Darren Sproles and a rookie draft pick."
The 6-0, 216 pound Helu could be an intriguing option. Despite being stuck behind Alfred Morris in Washington, he's been very productive as a receiver with 129 receptions for 1,152 yards (8.9 average) over his four-year career. Helu is only 26.
4) Justin Forsett
Forsett came out of nowhere last season to put up 1,266 rushing yards for the Ravens. Prior to joining Baltimore, Forsett had been with four other teams from 2008 through 2013. It's pretty weird that a 29-year-old running back randomly emerged with a career year like that. It's certainly fair to wonder if he's reliable. Forsett might be a little too small for what the Eagles are looking for at 5-8, 197 pounds.
5) Frank Gore
Hey, this is cheating. He's probably going to end up on the Colts, but I don't think he's actually officially ruled out the Eagles? Still, that would be so awkward if he ended up back in Philadelphia.
Bonus: DeMarco Murray
I can't see it. Murray seems like a really scary free agent. He's coming off an incredible year but he has an injury history and a massive workload.