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Eagles News: It’s time for Philadelphia to find an answer at running back

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 2/16/19.

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Indianapolis Colts v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

This offseason, Eagles need to finally find stability at running back - NBCSP
In the four years since Shady has been gone, the Eagles have drafted just two running backs. They took Smallwood in the fifth round of the 2016 draft and took Donnel Pumphrey in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. Smallwood has at least developed into a serviceable backup/rotational player, but Pumphrey hasn’t played a single snap in the NFL. Looking at the position now, there are obvious questions marks just with the guys who were on the team last year. Ajayi is coming off a torn ACL, already had knee problems and is a pending free agent. Darren Sproles is a 35-year-old pending free agent who might retire. Clement is under contract but is coming back from a season-ending knee injury of his own. Adams was the leading rusher in 2018 but was benched in the playoffs. And Smallwood is under contract but clearly isn’t going to be the No. 1. The Eagles haven’t drafted a running back in the first two rounds since they took Shady back in 2009, but with two second-round picks this year, maybe that changes. Either way, it’s time to finally find some stability that hasn’t been there for the last four seasons.

The draft or free agency: Where are the Eagles likely to improve each position this offseason? - PhillyVoice
The Eagles need to add multiple running backs this offseason. Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood, and Darren Sproles are not the answer, obviously, and even if he re-signs with the team, Jay Ajayi’s legs cannot be trusted. There are a number of good running back options available in free agency, and while this draft class isn’t as appealing as some running back classes of recent years, it still has some pretty good backs. I believe that running back is a likely position where the Eagles will spend some money on a player in free agency. That doesn’t mean they’ll be going after Le’Veon Bell, to be clear, but I do think they’ll open up their wallets to a smaller degree for a rotational back with an appealing skill set. #JimmyVerdict: Both free agency and the draft. A trade for a running back would make some sense as well, as many teams are loaded up with running back depth.

Carson Wentz hasn’t gotten the best out of Alshon Jeffery - BGN
Which got me curious. Let’s assume for a minute that Alshon Jeffery was or is not happy with Carson Wentz. Does he have a case to make on the field about it? One of the criticisms of Wentz was that he was targeting Zach Ertz too much, but such complaints don’t reflect what actually happened on the field, Ertz was targeted at virtually the same rate by Wentz and Foles. But Alshon Jeffery has a reasonable case to complain about his production with Wentz. Looking at his time as a starter (after his rookie season) with the various QBs that Jeffery has played with, we see that Jeffery’s production with Carson Wentz as his QB is lacking. (Not counted in here are four total games with Matt Barkley and Jimmy Clausen because they are trash, and barely played with him anyway.)

Eagles’ Offseason Primer - BGN Radio
With the Joe Flacco trade to the Denver Broncos, the offseason is off to a roaring start and John Stolnis and Brandon Lee Gowton are here to break it all down and tell you how it impacts the Eagles! Plus, a key draft target suffers an injury and discussions on decisions needing to be made with the roster!

Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones’ durability remains in question. Could gaining strength help? - Philly.com
“It’s my No. 1 focus this offseason — getting right,” Jones said. “Show everybody what I can do. Facing adversity … it’s about moving forward. That’s the task at hand.” Jones said that it was impossible to determine if his Achilles injury had anything to do with his run of hamstring strains. He seemed more willing to accept the notion that he needs to get stronger. The Eagles, he said, have said the same, but they haven’t asked him to specifically add more weight. At 6-foot-0, Jones is slightly above average compared to other cornerbacks, but at 181 pounds he’s among the lighter ones at his position. “I’ll probably put the weight on, I would like to, but my body, I’ve learned it over the past years, and they told me that they would rather me be lighter and move than vice versa, because I’ve never been like a super heavy guy,” Jones said. “Even in college I was skinny, but I still handled my business.”

Picking players who need a change of scenery on all 32 NFL teams - ESPN
CB Ronald Darby. He tore his ACL in November and started just half the team’s games the past two seasons due to injury. The Eagles might choose to ride with their young draft picks in Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas rather than re-up Darby, who is set to become a free agent. Just 25 years old and with plenty of speed and ability, Darby should have some suitors. -- Tim McManus

Denver Started This Game of QB Musical Chairs. Who Will Be Left Standing? - The Ringer
Nick Foles is likely leaving Philadelphia, and the Eagles were reportedly planning to use the franchise tag on Foles and trade him for a third-round pick to get something in return. The Flacco trade may complicate that plan. With the Broncos’ quarterback appetite sated, the last win-now team where Foles would be an obvious upgrade is Jacksonville, which would have to do some serious cap gymnastics (like cut defensive tackle Marcell Dareus) to bring Foles aboard. Beyond the Jags, it may require either the Dolphins cutting Ryan Tannehill, the Raiders wanting to bring in competition for Derek Carr, or the Eagles making a trade with a division rival—all possible, but unlikely—for Foles to get the opportunity he desires. If the Eagles can’t do better than Denver’s deal for Flacco, they may be content to let Foles leave in free agency, get a compensatory pick for him in 2020, and hope he doesn’t sign with the Giants or Washington. If Foles wants to start and get paid, the Jaguars are his best bet, though it’s not as sure as it would seem. Best Case: Signs with the Jaguars, wins Super Bowl MVP in 2020. Most Likely Case: Signs with the Jaguars, misses the playoffs.

Will there be a significant market for Nick Foles? - PFT
Foles’ camp has been conspicuously quiet in recent weeks, at a time when they could be balking about the team’s plan to tag him simply to trade him — a plan that would violate the CBA. Perhaps Foles and his agents are doing nothing to push back against the prospect of being tagged because they’ve made enough calls around the league (sure, it’s tampering; sure, it happens) to know that, for 2019, his best outcome is to get tagged, and to pounce on it.

Examining what to do with the 2019 franchise tag candidates - PFF
After fellow Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco supposedly fetched a fourth rounder from the Broncos yesterday, it should be a no-brainer that the Eagles tag and trade Foles, right? It’s not quite that simple as there are key differences in the situation. The biggest is that the Ravens would have had to cut Flacco while Foles is becoming a free agent. That means that the Eagles, who have limited cap space and are unlikely to sign any free agents of their own, will almost assuredly get a third-round compensatory pick in 2020 for letting Foles walk. The other key difference is that if tagged, Foles is guaranteed $25 million in 2019 while Flacco’s price tag is $18.5 million for the Broncos and can even be cut and take on only a fraction of that. Foles could hold the Eagles hostage to a degree and refuse to renegotiate the tag with trade partners, making him far less appealing to other franchises. In an already tricky cap situation, the Eagles don’t need to expose themselves to any unnecessary risk here by tagging their QB.

Fran Duffy’s Combine Preview: Offensive Line - PE.com
Andre Dillard, Washington State: Dillard was my favorite pure tackle in the senior class heading into the Senior Bowl, and nothing has changed for me in that regard. The three-year starter at left tackle for the Cougars has solid size and pretty good length for the position, but his feet and natural ease of movement are what impress me most on film. On a recent episode of Daniel Jeremiah’s Move the Sticks podcast, there was a discussion about how Dillard could run very well in Indianapolis, and I can definitely see that coming to fruition. Dillard can get a bit better with his hands, but athletically the tools are there for him to be a good starting tackle for his future NFL team. Another player who I expect to test well across the board is Tytus Howard from Alabama State. Howard is a natural athlete as well as a former high school quarterback who made the switch to tackle from tight end as a college sophomore. Chuma Edoga from USC impressed me with his athleticism in person at the Senior Bowl as well, and I expect him to look good in drills for the same reason.

Matt Miller’s Scouting Notebook: Insiders Pick Most Overrated Draft Prospects - Bleacher Report
Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson: ”It’s nothing against the kid, but teams should know better than to draft a nose tackle early. He’s Vita Vea. He’s Danny Shelton. These guys are never worth the early pick.” — AFC general manager.

NFL Draft Big Board: The Pre-Combine Top 50 - Sports Illustrated
18. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma. Height: 5’ 9” | Weight: 160 poundsOne of the fastest players in this draft class, Brown will at least be capable of taking the top off a defense. He is also dangerous as a RAC threat in space, capable of delivering big plays when the ball gets into his hands early. Those two attributes alone make him a high-floor prospect in a class full of boom-or-bust receiver prospects. But he’s small with a thin frame that can’t carry much more weight—that could preclude him from being a more complete receiver at the next level.

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid end their collusion case against the NFL - SB Nation
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Panthers safety Eric Reid have withdrawn their collusion lawsuit against the NFL and have reached a settlement.

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