As a second-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, running back Miles Sanders is set to enter his fourth and final season with the Philadelphia Eagles — under his rookie contract.
Though injuries over Sanders’ last two seasons have caused him to fall short among other running backs across the league, the 25-year-old adds veteran presence to a team looking to develop stability. And for that reason alone, the Eagles will extend Sanders’ contract.
In Sanders’ rookie year, he played all 16 games, breaking franchise history with the most rushing yards by a rookie (818) and the most all-purpose yards by a rookie (1,641). Despite missing the first game of the 2020 season due to injury, he returned to finish the season with a career-high 867 rushing yards and a Pro Bowl selection.
With two more injuries this past season, Sanders added 754 more rushing yards to his stats.
Though a running back is typically measured by a 1,000-yard benchmark, the Eagles’ run game was stagnant for the first few weeks of the season. Even still, Sanders averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
He is the ninth player in the NFL to have at least 75 rushing yards with a 5.0 yards per carry average in consecutive seasons.
One could argue that Boston Scott and Jordan Howard did enough in 2021 to earn a spot over Sanders next season, but neither had more than 500 yards. Their combined yardage was only 25 yards more than Sanders’ total, leaving fans to wonder the age old question — is two really better than one?
A contract extension at this point would be far cheaper than gambling on the kind of season Sanders will have in 2022. It also wouldn’t be wise to be looking for a running back early in the draft this year as the Eagles have far more holes to fill.
Sanders has proven he can be effective and if the Eagles are planning on another robust run game presence, an extension is in the running back’s near future.