Yesterday afternoon, Fletcher Cox finalized a restructured deal that will free $6.5 million in cap space for this season and $11.7 million more for next season. To me, this is a clear indication that Howie is going to make a move before the trade deadline. The only question is, who are they going to pursue?
Fans have been clamoring for disgruntled Steelers running back, Le’Veon Bell. But, just after ESPN’s Adam Shefter reported the restructured deal, he also reported that the Eagles have not pursued a trade for Lev Bell and don’t plan to.
I never believed any of the rumors surrounding a potential Lev Bell trade. But after Jay Ajayi was placed on IR yesterday with a torn ACL, I’ll be shocked if Howie doesn’t make some sort of move to address the running back situation.
Unfortunately, the free agent market for running backs at this point isn’t very strong. Jamaal Charles is the only viable option out of the bunch, and with his age and injury history, I would say it’s a long shot that Howie pursues him. Plus, it’s being reported that he’s going to sign with the Jaguars this week, so that option is already off the table.
The most likely scenario is that Howie goes out and acquires a running back via trade.
Reports surfaced earlier today that the Eagles called the Bills to inquire about former Eagle, LeSean McCoy. This wouldn’t be the worst option. Depending on the price we’d have to pay to get him, it would be the most team friendly deal that Howie could make. Shady obviously has a lot of history with Philadelphia and I’m sure he’d love to come play for his former team again. I’m just not sure if Howie sees Shady as a piece he’d be willing to trade for. He’s 30 years old now and hasn’t been having the best season this year, rushing for just 170 yards on 45 carries with no touchdowns. These poor stats could be attributed to a poor offensive line, but can any of us say that the Eagles offensive line has played that well either?
The Bills will most likely ask for multiple picks for the veteran running back as well. Unless Howie can swindle them into a more friendly deal, I doubt that he’ll will go through with it.
Personally, I’d be more interested in a running back who’s younger and can help us not only this year but for seasons to come.
Both Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy would essentially be one-year rentals. If the Eagles were playing at an elite level like they were last season and seemed to be on the road to another potential championship, then I’d be all in on either of these guys. But as now, I’d like to see Howie bring in someone who can help immediately and in the foreseeable future.
Two running backs who would do just that are David Johnson and Tevin Coleman. Neither of these guys are necessarily on the trading block, but they are both in situations where getting shipped out of town would make sense for their respective teams.
Arizona is in the first year of their rebuild and paying top dollar to a running back during a rebuild isn’t an ideal situation. From the outside, it seems like they may want to hold onto the running back regardless of their situation. Arizona just signed Johnson to a three-year extension a month ago, worth $39 million. Still, I’m sure if Howie offers Arizona a good enough deal they’ll jump at it. The best thing a rebuilding franchise can do is acquire assets like draft picks. Howie knows this, and I’m sure if he sends them an offer that it’ll include at least 2-3 high round picks.
The other running back that Howie could potentially go after is Tevin Coleman. The Falcons are sitting at a disappointing 1-4 and it’s starting to look like their season may already be over. Making the playoffs after starting 1-4 is nearly impossible, and when you add the numerous injuries they’ve suffered, it’s very unlikely that we’ll see Atlanta do much of anything this year.
With all that said, I wouldn’t be shocked if Atlanta starts to unload some of the talent they have in favor of future draft picks. Tevin Coleman may be the most obvious player that the Falcons could do this with. They already have their starting running back in Devonta Freeman, and Coleman is a free agent at the end of this season. I’m sure Atlanta would rather move him and get something back for him, rather than going 6-10 this season and watching him walk into free agency for nothing. It makes sense for Atlanta, but depending on their outlook for the rest of this season, they may not be willing to ship him out of town quite yet.
If the Eagles did bring Coleman to town, they would have to re sign him to a new deal right away. Otherwise, he would probably just be another one-year rental like Bell or McCoy.
Of course, this is all speculation. In classic Howie fashion, he could make a move that none of us see coming. But I think one thing is for certain, the Eagles are going to make a move before the trade deadline, we’ll just have to wait to see exactly what that move is.