With Miles Sanders set to become a free agent, it appears the Eagles are preparing for a new face at least back.
According to FOX Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano, Philadelphia is unlikely to resign the 25-year-old Sanders and instead move forward with Kenny Gainwell as RB1.
Sanders is coming off a career year where he racked up 1,269 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
It was an extremely needed season for the running back, who, though solid in his first three years, was also inconsistent at times while struggling through injuries.
Unfortunately, Sanders’ best play seemed to come at a point where the Eagles can’t afford to be gung-ho about money on offense, especially at running back.
Eagles have little room to maneuver with money
With Jalen Hurts expected to sign a substantial contract this off-season, and DeVonta Smith 2 years away from his rookie contract ending, Sanders has suddenly become a piece that not only can be let go but probably needs to be if he won’t take a discount and is instead looking for a larger deal.
For Howie Roseman, it’s a smart move. While Sanders is talented, the Eagles’ offense and line allows them not to need a top-dollar runner. Additionally, the shelf lives of RBs are slim, and there’s no telling how Sanders’ play turns out on the opposite side of his 20s.
Of course, there are definitely questions. First, while Gainwell showed potential, he may be more suited for a change-of-pace role instead of being lead for a team that just went to the Super Bowl.
Even if the Eagles do want to feature him prominently, they need more depth. Boston Scott, aside from playing the Giants, is best served as RB3 while Trey Sermon is… existing?
Luckily, there are ample options set to hit the market and draft, and news just broke of one down in the South.
Could Leonard Fournette be a viable option for the Birds?
The Buccaneers are set to grant Leonard Fournette his release before the new league year starts after a request from the 28-year-old, and he could be a name to put on the Eagles’ radar.
There’s stuff to like about Fournette. At his age, he likely wouldn’t command as big or as long of a contract, and he’s clearly interested in playing for a contender.
Fournette would also be an upgrade over Sanders in the pass catching department, with him having put up 523 receiving yards this past season.
Of course, the productivity is starting to wane. In 16 games, Fournette ran for 668 yards on 189 attempts. He hasn’t eclipsed 1,000 yards since 2019. Suffice to say, the Birds won’t be getting the Fournette that burst into the league back in 2017.
Of course, ultimately, they don’t need that kind of talent. If they are truly intent on working Gainwell into the plan, Fournette would offer a great compliment as a power back to Gainwell’s quickness. It’s a combination that offers both potential and helps to cut down on costs.