clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

9 running back options for the Eagles following Jay Ajayi’s injury

Help wanted

NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Jacksonville at Pittsburgh Steelers Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Last season an Eagles running back suffered a torn ACL, and then the Eagles traded for a running back. History might be repeating itself as Jay Ajayi is out with a torn ACL and another trade for a running back is a real possibility. But who would be available? There are quite a few backs who might be available, but don’t get too excited.

The unexciting

Ameer Abdullah

Why the Lions would trade him: Abdullah isn’t getting any playing time. At all. He’s played four snaps this season, all on special teams.

Why the Eagles would want him: Abdullah theoretically offers dual threat value. In his first two seasons in Detroit he averaged 4.3 yards per carry and 8.0 yards per reception. If the Eagles can get him back to that level of performance, he’d be a boost. It seems it’s just a matter of time before the Lions move on from him, the Eagles could jump the line and toss Detroit a 7th round pick to make sure they get him.

Theo Riddick

Why the Lions would trade him: Like Abdullah, Riddick can’t get any action, rookie Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount have taken 97 of the Lions 107 handoffs. While Riddick is third on the Lions in receptions with 23, Johnson isn’t far behind with 15, he’s shown himself capable of catching the ball out of the backfield. And the Lions head coach and GM were in New England when the Lions drafted Riddick, so they have no attachments to him (or Abdullah).

Why the Eagles would want him: If the market for a straight up Jay Ajayi replacement isn’t appealing, a fill in for Darren Sproles might be.

Kenyan Drake

Why the Dolphins would trade him: It would be strange to replace Jay Ajayi in 2018 with the guy who replaced Jay Ajayi in 2017. Though he has consistently played more snaps than Gore, Drake has been outcarried by the immortal Frank Gore in each of the last three games, and Gore (4.3 yards per carry) has been more effective as a runner (3.9).

Why the Eagles would want him: Drake is 24, can catch the ball, and is dirt cheap on the salary cap.

Bilal Powell

Why the Jets would trade him: Powell is the nominal starter, but the boom or bust Isaiah Crowell has been more effective, with 5 TDs to Powell’s 0, and two 100 yard games to Powell’s 0, even though Powell out carried Crowell in both games. A free agent after the season, if the rebuilding Jets can get something for him, they should.

Why the Eagles would want him: While Crowell has the scores, Powell has been steady, averaging 5 yards a carry or better in three games. Unless the Eagles can swing a deal for a bonafide starter (we’ll get to that later), Powell’s steady play might be appealing.

Shouldn’t Happen

LeSean McCoy

Why the Bills would trade him: He’s 30, has split time with Chris Ivory, and it’s hard to see how he would have any trade value in the offseason. Right now he probably has no value considering his $6 million salary, off-the-field issues, and drop off in play the last two years, but you never know.

Why the Eagles would want him: They shouldn’t. The Bills offense is awful so everyone is going to look bad in it, but given McCoy’s age and workload over his career there’s no reason to think that getting him out of Buffalo is magically going to make him good. (For what it’s worth, the Eagles reportedly tried to trade for him last year.)

Doug Martin

Why the Raiders would trade him: He’s not playing. Martin’s season high in snap counts is 16, and he’s played less than 25% of snaps in four games. The Raiders have a Week 7 bye, so they might be doing some redecorating very soon. Oakland has already moved on from two veterans they acquired in the offseason, so anything is possible for the Raiders as they spiral downward.

Why the Eagles would want him: They shouldn’t, he hasn’t been good since 2015.

Not Going To Happen

David Johnson

Why the Cardinals would trade him: The Eagles reportedly have interest in Johnson, but the Cardinals have no reason to trade him. Johnson just signed a contract extension, so trading him would swing a wrecking ball to their salary cap, and trading away one of the best running backs from an offense starting a rookie QB would be profoundly stupid. Then again, this is the team that signed Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon, so profoundly stupid is within their realm of possibility

Why the Eagles would want him: Of course they would be interested in a top-tier running back in the prime of his career.

Could happen:

Tevin Coleman

Why the Falcons would trade him: At 1-4, the Falcons are all but toast, and Coleman will be a free agent at the end of the season. Rookie Ito Smith has played well as a pass catcher in Devonta Freeman’s absence, so the Falcons may be comfortable moving on from Coleman in-season if the price is right, as Coleman should get them a pretty good comp pick for 2020.

Why the Eagles would want him: Why wouldn’t they. Coleman is 25, can run and catch, and he has plenty of tread on the tire, he’s had 20+ touches in a game only four times in his career.

Maaaaaayyyybe It’ll Happen

Le’Veon Bell

Why the Steelers would trade him: Do I really need to explain?

Why the Eagles would want him: Again, do I really need to explain?

A few words on why the Eagles wouldn’t want him: If they can’t agree on a new contract, the Steelers are going to get a 3rd round pick in 2020 for Bell, so any trade is going to have to top that. Even if the Eagles were willing to top a 2020 3rd and give up a good player that the Steelers would want, they’d also have to open up the cap space to take on his contract, which currently stands at $10.3 million, though with every passing week that decreases by $855,529. Which they may or may not have done.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bleeding Green Nation Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Philadelphia Eagles news from Bleeding Green Nation