The hits just keep coming for the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. A day after they suffered their second consecutive loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Eagles received some terrible news on the injury front.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, running back Jay Ajayi tore his ACL on Sunday and was placed on IR, effectively ending his season. In a corresponding move, Philadelphia claimed defensive tackle T.Y. McGill to fill the vacant roster spot.
This latest injury news is not good for the Eagles or Ajayi, who was in the final year of his rookie contract.
Before suffering the knee injury, the veteran running back was playing through a transverse fracture in his back that he picked up in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In four games this season, Ajayi had 184 rushing yards on 45 carries and three touchdowns.
Philadelphia acquired the former fifth-round pick at last year’s trade deadline from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a draft pick.
At the time of the trade, the Eagles desperately needed a running back as veteran Darren Sproles was out for the year with multiple injuries and Wendell Smallwood did not live up to the expectations set for him.
For the last eight games of the season, Ajayi fit in perfectly with the Eagles’ running back by committee system. He became the workhorse back, while LeGarrette Blount played the role of a short-yardage goal-line back and Corey Clement was the change of pace back.
Ajayi had 408 yards and a touchdown on the ground, along with a receiving touchdown.
In regards to this year’s Eagles team, they will now have to fill the void left by Ajayi either with in-house options or via trade. As of right now, the only healthy running backs on the 53-man roster are Smallwood and undrafted free agent Josh Adams.
Clement, who has dealt with a quad injury, was active for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings but did not play. Sproles, however, has not seen the field since Week 1 as he’s missed the last four games with an injury too.
Therefore, it would not be surprising to see the Eagles gauge the trade market feverishly with the deadline looming in a couple of weeks.
One option for them could be Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, who is not happy with his current contract situation.
The Eagles along with two other teams have reportedly expressed interest in trading for the All-Pro running back. Last week, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported that the Steelers are looking for a second-round pick and a really “good player” in return for Bell.
Luckily enough, the Eagles have two second-round picks to play around with and could use one of them to acquire Bell. But who knows what will happen between now and the trade deadline.
However, we do know one thing for certain, and that is the Eagles are in trouble.