Eagles Outlook: 4 free agent running backs who could replace Miles Sanders this offseason
As free agency rapidly approaches, it’s become pretty clear what the Eagles’ intentions are with pending free agent RB Miles Sanders. Despite his desires to remain in Philly, reports have indicated that the front office will likely go in a different direction this offseason.
Kenneth Gainwell has gotten some buzz as the potential RB1 in the Eagles offense next season, but that doesn’t mean Howie Roseman isn’t going to add to the position group this offseason. This year’s free agent RB class is pretty loaded, with a good mix of veteran and young talent.
With Sanders and Boston Scott set to hit the open market, expect Howie to add at least one reliable back once free agency rolls around. Here are four to keep an eye on.
DraftKings Sportsbook: Bet $5, Win $200 INSTANTLY
- Sign up for a new DraftKings account
- Make Your First Deposit
- Bet $5+ On Any Sport
- Get $200 In Free Bets Instantly
Kareem Hunt has been linked to the Eagles for over a year now. There were rumors during training camp last year that Hunt could be dealt, and nearly every reporter pointed to the Eagles as a potential suitor. Now that the 27-year-old back is free to sign with a new team, best believe the Hunt to Philly rumors will ramp back up.
He’ll be a cheaper option than Sanders and he’ll add much more versatility to the Eagles backfield. Nick Sirianni’s offense rarely uses their backs in the passing game, mostly due to the fact that they don’t have a reliable receiving option back there. Hunt has always been a threat in the passing game and would instantly become the third down back in Philadelphia if he signed here.
If Philadelphia wants to fully embrace the running back by committee approach in 2023, Hunt would be the perfect fit.
Standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing in at 236 pounds, D’Onta Foreman is an ideal power back in today’s NFL. Even with his size, Foreman has great break away speed in the open field and that was on full display during his breakout 2022 campaign.
After Christian McCaffrey was traded from Carolina, Foreman assumed the starting role in the Panthers backfield and never looked back. He racked up 914 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 4.5 yards per carry. The 26-year-old back also totaled an astounding 661 yards after contact in 2022.
The Eagles clearly value the north-south running style that Foreman possesses. It’s the reason why they relied so heavily on Gainwell during the postseason as opposed to Sanders, who fell back into his habit of bouncing everything to the outside.
Sportrac estimates Foreman’s market value at $3.4M per year, which is certainly doable for the Eagles despite their lack of cap space. He and Gainwell could form a great one-two punch, and Foreman’s ability to get tough yards could take some of the load off Jalen Hurts in short yardage situations.
We all love a good old fashioned power back here in Philly. Foreman would fit right in and instantly become a fan favorite.
Another back who’s been linked to the Eagles in recent years, Alexander Mattison is a do-it-all RB with very little tread on the tires. Playing behind Dalvin Cook in Minnesota, Mattison only sees the field here and there. But whenever Cook has been out with an injury, Mattison has been more than reliable.
In his four starts back in 2021, Mattison averaged 89 rushing yards per game while finding the end zone two times. He’s consistently received high marks from PFF, grading over 80.0 in rushing two out of his four seasons in the league. Mattison has always been protective of the football as well, posting just two fumbles across 474 career touches.
At 24 years old, Mattison is just entering the prime of his career – a prime that could be extended due to the lack of touches he’s seen throughout his four-year career.
If the Eagles can snag Mattison on a two-year deal at about $2.5M per year, this is a no brainer.
Despite Kenneth Walker’s emergence in Seattle’s backfield last season, you’ll still see plenty of Seahawks fans clamoring for their team to resign Rashaad Penny this offseason. When healthy, he’s one of the most explosive backs in the NFL, posting 16 runs of 20 yards or more since the start of 2021, behind only Nick Chubb and Jonathan Taylor.
Penny was in line to be Seattle’s RB1 last year, but a broken fibula in Week 5 cut his season short, opening the door for the rookie Walker to take the reigns. Nevertheless, Penny will be a hot commodity on the open market when free agency begins, and the Eagles should have interest.
After finishing the 2021 season on a high note, Penny got off to another great start this past season. In five starts, the 27-year-old back totaled 346 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while averaging a ridiculous 6.1 yards per carry – just .2 yards short of his 2021 average of 6.3 YPC.
He won’t add much in the passing game, but Penny more than makes up for it with his explosiveness and between the tackles ability. It’ll be interesting to see how his market shakes out after coming off his injury. If he doesn’t get scooped up right away, expect the Eagles to swoop in and, at the very least, show interest.
Mandatory Credit: Getty Images