UPDATE: Bumping this article since ESPN’s Tim McManus is also reporting the Eagles “have narrowed their focus to three players, according to sources: Devonta Freeman, Carlos Hyde and LeSean McCoy.” Seems like only a matter of time until we see who they end up with.
ORIGINAL STORY FROM MAY 12 BELOW.
Apparently Carlos Hyde isn’t the only free agent running back being targeted by the Philadelphia Eagles. NFL insider Mike Garafolo mentioned two other notable names during a Monday appearance on NFL Network: LeSean McCoy and Devonta Freeman.
“I look at the names that are still out there, I think the running back market provides some of the sexiest names. Some of the names that folks would recognize, certainly at a skill position. I’m looking at Devonta Freeman still out there, Carlos Hyde still out there, LeSean McCoy still out there. And speaking of McCoy, the former Eagle, I mentioned that he was a possibility perhaps to go back to Philly. And I’d still say that that’s the case because I do believe the Eagles are going to add a veteran running back here in the near future. […] And, yeah, they’ve been in on Hyde. They were in on Freeman, as well. We’ll see what happens with Freeman here in the near future. But I would look for the Eagles to add a veteran running back, someone that’s willing to get back Miles Sanders and understand that he’s the No. 2 back there.”
BGN previously touched on a potential Shady reunion in our “12 free agents the Eagles can sign now that it won’t impact their compensatory pick formula” post.”
The Eagles didn’t draft a running back but they did sign Michael Warren (physical runner) and Adrian Killins (speedster) in undrafted free agency. These two rookies are joining a backfield that already features Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Elijah Holyfield. [Plus Corey Clement.]
Thus, the Eagles don’t really need to add another back. And I don’t think they will be bringing their all-time leading rusher back to Philly. But the Eagles have previously shown interest in reacquiring Shady ... on numerous occasions. He also recently talked about the possibility of coming back home.
Still, I don’t think it happens.
McCoy, who turns 32 in July, logged 101 carries for 465 yards (4.6 average) and four touchdowns with the Kansas City Chiefs last season. He also had 28 receptions for 181 yards and one score.
Shady might have some gas left in the tank but one must consider how he was phased out of KC’s offense late during the 2019 campaign. He was a healthy scratch in the playoffs during the Chiefs’ Super Bowl run.
There’s obviously nostalgic value to the Eagles re-signing McCoy but that shouldn’t be a driving force behind a potential reunion. One must consider he’s also not the physical runner that Philly could afford to add.
On that note, Freeman might better fits the mold the Eagles are looking for. He also only turned 28 years old two months ago.
The downside is that multiple injuries have limited Freeman to 16 games over the past two seasons. His 198 rushing attempts for 724 yards from that span only come out to a 3.7 average. He also fumbled three times.
Freeman was a pretty prolific runner from 2015 through 2017 when he had 688 attempts for 3,000 yards (4.4 average) and 29 touchdowns. He also had 163 receptions for 1,357 yards (8.3 average) and six touchdowns.
The Atlanta Falcons clearly weren’t feeling confident that Freeman would rebound to peak form as they took on $6 million in dead money to move on from him this offseason. But he could be a worthwhile No. 2 for the Eagles if he rebounds at all.
The feeling here is that Hyde is Philly’s best bet from this trio. He’s 29 and he’s only missed five total games over the last four seasons. Hyde is a physical runner who’s coming off a career year with the Houston Texans. He’s a natural replacement to fill Jordan Howard’s role.
The Eagles’ rumored interest in multiple free agent backs likely serves to give them leverage when it comes to negotiating terms. The team stands to benefit from being able to tell a player that they’ll sign someone else if they don’t accept Philly’s contract offer.
No matter which route the Eagles ultimately choose go, they do have some decent options to bolster their backfield depth. It’ll be interesting to see who they pick.
Which free agent running back should the Eagles sign?
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