The focus for the Eagles is shifting to the upcoming season with training camp just a few weeks away. However, that doesn’t mean the team is done making moves this offseason.
Both Darren Sproles and Connor Barwin have been linked to the team as potential signings.

Connor Barwin was with the Eagles from 2013-2016 before getting cut by the team, but now there is some fairly significant traction of the potential of a return to Philadelphia.

Barwin was at Lincoln Financial Field last week, presumably meeting with Executive Vice President and General Manager Howie Roseman and the rest of the Eagles front office. In an interview with Heavy.com, Barwin says he is in contact with the team, and on he hopes to have a deal done by training camp, but it’s ultimately up to if the team feels the need to bring him in. Here’s the full quote:

“I’m trying to come back and play for the Eagles. I’m training right now and I’ve talked to Howie and they’re going to see if they need any depth on the edge and so I’m going to wait until camp starts before I sign anywhere else, but I’m obviously not going to wait too long. But the Eagles know that’s where I want to be,” Barwin said.

Barwin has been in the Philadelphia-area recently and even worked out with Eagles center Jason Kelce just a few days ago. Barwin also has an event at the Dell Music Center in Philadelphia on September 5, just three days before the Eagles kickoff their 2019 season at home against the Redskins.

Speaking of depth on the edge, that has been a significant topic of discussion after Michael Bennett was traded to the New England Patriots and Chris Long retired. Now, the Eagles are left with Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett as the starters at defensive end, and Vinny Curry as the lone experienced backup. Second-year defensive end Josh Sweat and rookie Sharif Miller are set to battle for the other backup spot this summer.

Barwin is coming off of a rough year where he logged just 12 tackles and 1.0 sacks in 15 games played. It is worth noting, though, that Barwin played just 26% of snaps for the Giants before getting cut. In 2017, Barwin played 61% of snaps, totaling 34 tackles and 5.0 sacks.

Barwin has also put on more weight from last season, which will allow him to play primarily at defensive end. Barwin’s typical playing weight is 255 pounds, but he is up nearly 10 pounds from that, with him being at 264.4 pounds and likely still gaining weight.

As mentioned before, Barwin hopes to sign with the Eagles by training camp before exploring other options, but that part of his wish may not come true. The Eagles likely won’t get a true feel for if they need extra help at the defensive end until they see how Sweat and Miller do once the team puts the pads on during camp. In this scenario, Barwin may have to wait until early August if he hopes for a chance to return to Philadelphia.

Barwin’s experience and previous history in Philadelphia would be very beneficial for what is an otherwise young group at the position, though. If he’s brought in, he wouldn’t take too many snaps away from the winner of the battle between Sweat and Miller, and he would still be able to mentor them. This is a situation that will play out more as the days go on and we march closer to the start of Eagles training camp on July 25.

Now, let’s transition to Sproles.

The prospect of bringing Sproles back has been one that’s loomed all offseason. Sproles has been with the Eagles since 2014, but he has been open about his potential retirement following the 2018 season.

Last year was a disappointment for Sproles; he played in just six games after suffering a hamstring injury, just one year after he suffered a season-ending torn ACL and broken arm in week 3. Sproles came back last year with the hope of finishing his career on his terms, but after getting injured again, it’s looking increasingly likely he takes a second chance at closing out his career the right way.

Sproles has been training this offseason with a clear purpose, and Sproles admitted that he wants to play again.

A return to the Eagles looks a bit complicated, though, after the team experienced major turnover at the running back position.

The Eagles traded for running back Jordan Howard and also drafted Miles Sanders with one of their two second-round picks, and Corey Clement is set to be ready for week one following his knee injury suffered in week 14.

That presumably leaves just one open roster spot at running back, with the player getting that spot having no guarantee of playing time. Josh Adams and Wendell Smallwood made their case last season to make the teams 53-man roster this year, and Donnell Pumphrey, who has been on the practice squad for virtually his entire career since being drafted in 2016, had a very impressive minicamp.

If the Eagles bring back Sproles, it would be with the understanding that he’ll likely be the last running back on the depth chart. Sproles would presumably keep his typical role as a punt returner, should he decide to return to Philadelphia.

The Eagles aren’t the only suitor for Sproles, either. Sproles reportedly would like to play of one of the three teams he’s been with throughout his career: the New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Chargers, along with the Eagles.

However, the Saints and Chargers have similar situations that don’t bode too well in terms of playing time for Sproles.

The Saints are locked in on using Alvin Kamara as their lead back, and they also brought in Latavius Murray this offseason to play the role of power back.

Sproles was also seen running routes with Saints quarterback’s Drew Brees and Chase Daniel, which could be a sign of things to come.

Meanwhile, the Chargers are entering yet another year of Melvin Gordon seeing the majority of snaps at running back, with Austin Ekeler solidly being the second running back on the depth chart.

It may ultimately come down to which team is willing to commit to Sproles first. ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Sproles is willing to wait until training camp in order for teams to decide if they feel they need him or not.

The Eagles made two major moves at running back this offseason, but Sproles still has notable support within the organization. Running Back coach Duce Staley said he would love to have Sproles back on the team if it were up to him, and he’s even been in contact with Sproles on a regular basis.

Sproles’ original plan of hanging up the cleats seems to be put off for (at least) another season, but he is going to need a team to commit to him before that’s final. Ultimately, that team could be the Eagles, but that decision shouldn’t be expected for at least another few weeks.


There is nothing official for the Eagles between Barwin and Sproles, but there is a very real chance they could bring in one, if not both to return to the team for another season.

Featured Image: Ron Jenkins/AP
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