Eagles Outlook: PFF predicts RB Miles Sanders will join AFC West team during free agency period
It’s no secret at this point that the Philadelphia Eagles are going to lose some starters this offseason to free agency. Offensively, the biggest name set to become a free agent is RB Miles Sanders.
The Eagles RB had a career-year in 2022, racking up 1,269 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns en route to his first Pro Bowl selection. He’s been a solid back for the majority of his career, but he’s never reached elite status and his production/touches tapered off towards the end of the season.
Sanders averaged just about 25 snaps per game in the postseason, while second-year back Kenneth Gainwell got the bulk of the workload and showcased some real potential. RB1 was also a complete no-show in the Super Bowl for the Eagles, gaining just 16 yards on seven carries.
There’s a slim chance he stays with the Eagles this offseason, unless Sanders wants to cash-in off his 2022 campaign. If that’s the case, Howie Roseman will move on without looking back.
Pro Football Focus sees it the same way and recently predicted Sanders’ landing spot once free agency rolls around in March. They envision Sanders joining Javonte Williams in Denver’s backfield this offseason.
PFF on why Sanders will leave the Eagles this offseason:
Sanders had a great contract year and now enters free agency, though it was capped off with an underwhelming Super Bowl performance that was close to disastrous if his near-fumble on a target behind the line of scrimmage was ruled a turnover.
Sanders can be a good early-down pairing with 2021 second-round pick running back Javonte Williams as he makes his return from a knee injury that reportedly involved damage to multiple ligaments. New Broncos head coach Sean Payton has always emphasized a diverse skill set in his backfield, with the one-two punch of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram II in New Orleans a solid blueprint for what the eventual Williams-Sanders pairing could look like from a usage standpoint.
Among running backs with at least 50 carries on the year, Sanders’ 34 explosive rushes in 2022 ranked fourth and his 82.3 rushing grade ranked 18th.
While the pairing of Sanders and Williams is certainly interesting on paper, I’m not sure Denver would be willing to use their limited cap space to bolster a devalued position like running back. Per Spotrac, the Broncos will have about $11 million in cap space to work with this offseason.
If Sean Payton wants to recreate the Alvin Kamara/Mark Ingram dynamic he had in New Orleans, then this move would make sense. Although I don’t think Williams/Sanders are nearly as scary for opposing defenses as Kamara/Ingram.
Nevertheless, it’ll be interesting to see what Sanders’ market looks like come March. He’ll have his suitors, there’s no doubt about that. Just not sure the Eagles will be one of them.
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