According to reports across the country, the Philadelphia Eagles are looking to add another running back. If the season started today, Miles Sanders and Boston Scott would be the top two guys on the depth chart, with very little behind them. While the Eagles could certainly look to add more depth, several reports indicate that Philadelphia has their eye on former Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman. Freeman was once a great player, but he’s not a good match for the Eagles.
Devonta Freeman Not the Answer for the Philadelphia Eagles
Devonta Freeman Isn’t Good
Freeman used to be one of the most electric and exciting dual-threat running backs in the NFL. While he was never a Christian McCaffrey type of threat, Freeman had a three-year run from 2015 to 2017 where he averaged 4.4 yards-per-carry while adding an additional 1,357 receiving yards and 35 combined touchdowns.
Unfortunately for Freeman, running backs age quickly. Over the past two seasons, Freeman has been nothing short of an absolute disappointment. The former fourth-round pick missed the majority of 2018 with an injury and didn’t look like his old self in 2019. Starting in all 14 games, Freeman averaged just 3.6 yards per attempt and barely made an impact in the passing game.
Rushing success has more to do with the blocking and playcalling than the actual runner. Theoretically, a poor situation could explain Freeman’s statistical dip. However, advanced data analysis shows that Freeman’s shortcoming cannot be blamed on his blocking. According to this chart, Freeman’s situation was one of the best in the league. His inefficiency is entirely his own fault, and he probably won’t improve as he gets older.
If Freeman were willing to sign for the veteran minimum, then perhaps he’d be worth a shot. However, all reports indicate that Freeman is looking to receive what he believes to be a fair deal. He turned down a one-year, $4 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks and reportedly is willing to sit out the season if his contract demands aren’t met. Freeman isn’t even remotely worth this type of money, and the Eagles would be better off investing their resources in somebody else.
What the Eagles Should Do
The Eagles should look to add another running back and bolster their depth. However, there are plenty of more cost-effective options than Devonta Freeman. Former Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller is coming off an ACL injury, but he was solid in 2018 and will probably sign for the league minimum. At the very least, he’s cheaper than Freeman and just as likely to be a serviceable backup. Additionally, the team could look to bring back old friend LeSean McCoy.
If Philadelphia is looking for a younger commodity, they could probably grab Royce Freeman from the Denver Broncos. Freeman is a fine running back and one of the better backups in the league. However, he’s buried on Denver’s depth chart and is going to have a hard time seeing the field. The Broncos signed Melvin Gordon to a massive contract to be the lead back, and Phillip Lindsay is penciled in as the primary backup. The Eagles could probably acquire Freeman’s services in exchange for a late-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Considering he’s still on his rookie deal, he hardly counts against the salary cap. Ultimately, this is probably the best move for the Eagles. If Howie Roseman wants another running back, Royce Freeman is the way to go.
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