Eagles fans should get ready for their next jersey, with the team at risk of losing three of four running backs to free agency.

D’Andre Swift (25-years-old), Boston Scott (29), and Rashaad Penny (28) can sign with any team, and while Howie Roseman is no stranger to re-signing a reliable back, the odds he outsources some of these roster spots is all but certain. Only Kenneth Gainwell (25) is set to return, hitting the final year of his four-year rookie deal.

The good news? That means the current depth chart at the position costs just $1.055M. That leaves plenty of wiggle room, and Philadelphia is sure to address one of these openings in the draft. That leaves two open spots beside Kenny G and this unnamed rookie sensation – so the question stands: Who do the Eagles sign?

Here are the top five options the Eagles should consider, in ascending order:

5. AJ Dillon

No photo description available.
AJ “Quadfather” Dillon — how he got the nickname, no one knows

This would be one of two VERY Howie Roseman moves – find a high-value guy who hasn’t been a lead back, pay him a million or so, and toss him in a committee with three other guys. AJ Dillon has been splitting carries with Aaron Jones his entire career, having never hit more than 187 carries in a season. In a list with some grizzled veterans, Dillon would represent an option with a ton of tread still on the tires.

Additionally, Dillon has only had fewer than 4.1 yards per carry once in his four-year career. Benefiting from fresh legs as an RB2 certainly helps, but he would arrive to a familiar scene in that sense. If Howie wants to find an affordable guy to get consistent, strong yards, Dillon would be a buy-low candidate.

4. Derrick Henry

Number FOUR? It’s difficult to imagine three running backs who are better than King Henry AND a free agent. Hell, it’s tough to name three better backs in the game at all!

Derrick Henry has been the face of the Tennessee Titans since 2016, landing signature stiff-arms and carrying caravans of defenders with him across the goal line. The Alabama alum is a four-time Pro Bowler with 9,502 yards and 90 touchdowns to his name. His career-worst 4.2 yards per attempt was 18th in the NFL last season – but 8th when limited to backs who crested 1,000+ rushing yards.

His downfall? Age. Henry just turned 30 in January, famously the age we see running backs drop off (except, of course, Philly legend Frank Gore).

The reason Henry still fits in the Eagles’ running back plans are their historic approach to the position. In Philadelphia, Henry would see a massive drop in total carries. For example, last season D’Andre Swift carried the ball 229 times, 51 fewer than league-leader Derrick Henry with 280. The year before that, Miles Sanders led the team with 259, well behind Josh Jacobs at … 340! Throw in Jalen Hurts’ rushes and Henry might pull a Joe Flacco and fall asleep on the sideline.

3. Joe MixonRunning Back Busts for 2021 Fantasy Football

Unlike Dillon, Mixon is NOT known for his efficiency, clearing 4.1 yards per carry just once in his career (2018). The other thing he isn’t known for is fumbling – he has only dropped the ball 6 times over 1,854 touches in 7 seasons. Insanity. He is also a sneaky-good receiver, with 154 catches in the last three seasons. In 2023 he had the 9th most receptions by a running back, and in 2022 he was No. 5 in the NFL in this category.

What’s more, the Bengals have also boasted a dreadful offensive line throughout Mixon’s career. For the Oklahoma product to even be a Pro Bowler is a testament to the powers of individual effort. Four of five healthy seasons, Mixon has rushed for over 1,000 yards. If Philly wants a workhorse who can get the job done, this could be the guy.

2. D’Andre Swift

Howie still has Swift’s number, and giving the back a ring might be his best option. Swift has been an affordable solution to the running back question his entire career, never costing more than $1.7M while cresting 4.1 yards per carry every season. His efforts earned him a Pro Bowl appearance this year, the first of what could be an illustrious career.

In Detroit Swift established himself as one of the position’s best receivers, catching 156 passes in three seasons. He finished fourth in catches in 2021 and 12th in rushes in 2023, demonstrating his utility as a dual-threat. I don’t need to waste by breath telling Philly what it already knows, but in his first full season as an RB1 this year he accrued his first 1,000+ yard season. Bringing back Swift represents an affordable option that keeps things consistent after a rocky end to the year.

1. JK DobbinsJ.K. Dobbins: “Whenever they want to let me out the cage, it'll be the  right time” - Baltimore Beatdown

There’s no joking when it comes to Dobbins’ talent. The oft-injured running back has started just 10 games and only played in 24 over four seasons. He missed the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL and only played a single game last year, rushing for 22 yards and a TD. So what’s the hype?

Check out the efficiency: JK Dobbins has a massive 5.8 yards per attempt over his entire career. Derrick Henry’s best season saw just 5.5 yards per attempt. Sure, Dobbins hasn’t shown an ability to stay healthy, but the Eagles have one of the best fitness staffs in the league. Philadelphia’s has been one of the healthiest rosters in the NFL the last two seasons – if the team can get a full season out of Dobbins?

Watch out.


Photo via Sports Illustrated

Comments are closed.

Check Also

Need A Third Wheel?

Julio, Quez Watkins, and Zaccheaus weren’t the answer.Now, the Eagles will turn to t…