5 running backs for Eagles to target in free agency this year


When NFL free agency begins on March 16, the Eagles will be looking to bolster a roster that made it to the playoffs in Year 1 under Nick Sirianni.

We’ll look position-by-position for some possible targets, starting with running backs.

The Eagles will bring back Miles Sanders, Kenny Gainwell and Jason Huntley in 2022. Meanwhile, Jordan Howard is set to be an unrestricted free agent and Boston Scott is set to be a restricted free agent.

Here are five running backs for the Eagles to target the offseason:

Marlon Mack: Remember Mack? The Colts’ 2017 fourth-round pick rushed for over 900 yards in his second NFL season and over 1,000 in 2019. But since then, Mack’s career hasn’t gone to plan. He tore his Achilles in 2020 and in 2021 finished the season buried on the Colts’ depth chart, well behind superstar Jonathan Taylor. Mack is a traditional slasher type of runner and it might be worth a cheap deal to find out if he has anything left. And it’s worth noting that Nick Sirianni was Mack’s offensive coordinator in his two best NFL seasons.

Cordarrelle Patterson: I could have put Patterson in the receiver category because of how versatile he is. Really, Patterson deserves the title of offensive weapon. Patterson will be 31 when the 2022 season starts but it’s not like he’s going to be a RB1 this coming year. Instead, the 6-2, 220-pound weapon is a change-of-pace guy on offense and a dynamic kick returner. Last year in Atlanta, Patterson had 618 rushing yards, 548 receiving yards and 434 return yards. He’d be an intriguing option for the Eagles. Maybe it’s more of a luxury to have a player like Patterson, but it’s fun to imagine the possibilities.

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James Conner: If the Eagles really want to add a battering ram running back to replace Howard, Conner might be an answer. He’s still just 26 but is a really tough between-the-tackles runner and got into the end zone 15 times in 2021. He will probably cost more than the Eagles are willing to spend, but if Sirianni is serious about being a run-first offense, then having more than one top back should be attractive.

Rashaad Penny: Another big and bruising running back who would complement Sanders. Penny had his best NFL season in 2021, rushing for 749 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’s a talented player with the ability to run through arm tackles. He averaged 3.1 yards per carry after contact to lead the NFL; that was a higher average than Nick Chubb (3.0) and Jonathan Taylor (2.8). But Penny hasn’t played more than 10 games in a season since he was a rookie in 2018. His extensive injury history could keep the price down.

D’Onta Foreman: The former Texans third-round pick didn’t work out in Houston but when the Titans needed him in 2021, Foreman came through. He rushed for 566 yards on 133 carries (4.3) and is another big back who can run hard between the tackles. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of contract Foreman gets. He won’t turn 26 until April.

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