Heading into this month, many fans were wondering if the Eagles would be active at the trade deadline. Unlike last year, Philadelphia has a few glaring holes at certain positions that could use a mid-season upgrade.
One of those positions of need is running back. Before Jay Ajayi went down with a season-ending knee injury on Sunday, the Eagles were already banged up at the spot and leaned heavily on the tandem of Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood.
However, Philadelphia is now in serious trouble as Clement and Darren Sproles are still dealing with nagging injuries, leaving Smallwood and undrafted free agent Josh Adams as the only healthy running backs on the roster.
The question now on the mind of Eagles fans is who can they acquire before the trade deadline? Last year, they struck gold at the deadline getting Ajayi from the Miami Dolphins for a draft pick.
Can Eagles executive vice president of player personnel Howie Roseman make another power move to keep his team’s season afloat?
Here are three running backs that the Eagles should consider trading for:
1. Le’Veon Bell
When the news about Ajayi came out on Monday evening, the first player that fans immediately thought about as a replacement is Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell.
As we all know by now, Bell has held out since the summer due to not receiving a long-term deal from the Steelers. The All-Pro running back last played a snap of football in January, but that has not stopped teams from inquiring about his availability.
Last week, it was reported by Jason La Canfora that the Eagles along with the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers expressed interest in trading for Bell. However, it does not seem like the Eagles have interest in the talented running back.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported on Monday that Philadelphia has not pursued a trade for Bell and does not plan to.
On the surface, this looks like a smokescreen because also happening on Monday night, the Eagles restructured the contract of defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, freeing up $6.5 million of cap space this season. It would be ignorant for the Eagles to not inquire about Bell because he fits in perfectly with what they do on offense. He is a game changer and playmaker that the offense could desperately use at this point.
2. David Johnson
Along with Bell, the Eagles could place a phone call in with the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson. On Monday night, Derrick Gunn of NBC Sports Philadelphia mentioned that don’t be surprised if Philly is inquiring about the young running back.
Johnson recently signed a three-year contract extension worth $45 million but is not having a great season with Arizona.
In five games this season, Johnson has 242 rushing yards on 74 carries and four touchdowns, along with 120 receiving yards and a touchdown. Not to mention, he is also only averaging 3.3 yards per carry behind a poor offensive line.
Could Johnson be due for a change of scenery? If you are Arizona, you definitely have to consider it with how your season is turning out.
They are currently 1-4 and more than likely destined for the top-10 of the 2019 NFL Draft. Therefore, the Eagles seem like the perfect trading partner for the Cardinals as they have two-second round picks to play with. If Philadelphia could add Johnson, it would give them a dual-threat weapon.
In his second season, Johnson had a breakout year with 2,118 yards from scrimmage and 20 total touchdowns.
3. LeSean McCoy
The Eagles already brought back one familiar face to the offense in wide receiver Jordan Matthews, could they do the same thing at running back? Josh Reed of WIVB in Buffalo, N.Y., reported on Tuesday that the Eagles reached out to the Bills about a potential trade for LeSean McCoy.
Along the same lines, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reported that the Eagles have ‘checked in’ on McCoy. Even though he is now 30-years-old, McCoy is the cheaper option out of Bell and Johnson that Philadelphia could potentially acquire.
This season, the former second-round pick of the Eagles only has 170 yards on 45 carries with no touchdowns. For the first time last week, McCoy received more than 10 carries in a game and put together a solid performance. He had 85 rushing yards on 24 carries against the Titans.
While his production on the field has not been up to par, McCoy could still be a viable option with the Eagles. Unlike with the Bills, he would be in a running back by committee system and receive possibly 20-25 touches per game.
McCoy was traded to the Bills back in 2015 for linebacker Kiko Alonso and left as the team’s all-time leading rusher with 10,262 yards on the ground. The former Pittsburgh Panther spent six seasons in Philadelphia and has a cap hit of $6M this season and $6.1M in 2019.
Other players to consider: Tevin Coleman, Carlos Hyde, Ameer Abdullah