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January 10, 2020

Eagles stay or go: Running back

The Philadelphia Eagles' 2019 season is over, and there will be a lot of interesting decisions made on the players currently on the roster, more so than in most years. Let's take a position-by-position look at who will likely be back with the team in 2020, and who won't.

On Wednesday we started with the quarterbacks. Today we'll look at the running backs.

Miles Sanders

A list of rookies this season with at least 700 yards from scrimmage:

Player Yards from scrimmage 
 Miles Sanders, Eagles1,327 
 Josh Jacobs, Raiders1,316 
 A.J. Brown, Titans1,111 
 David Montgomery, Bears1,074 
 Devin Singletary, Bills969 
 Deebo Samuel, 49ers961 
 Terry McLaurin, Washington919 
 DK Metcalf, Seahawks911 
 Darius Slayton, Giants740 
 Diontae Johnson, Steelers721 

The start to Sanders' 2019 season was a little shaky, as he often danced in the backfield, or looked to bounce too many runs outside. As the season progressed and he got a feel for the speed of the game, he did a much better job of decisively hitting holes.

He was also better than expected as a receiver, in pass protection, and he fumbled with less frequency than he did at Penn State.

By the end of the season, Sanders was, by far, the most explosive player in the Eagles' offense.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay, obviously.

Your verdict:

Jordan Howard

Howard will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and I think there's a perception by some that he (a) won't want to return to the Eagles because he'll have to split carries with Sanders, and (b) could have a big payday on the horizon from some other team.

On the first point, Howard is going to split carries no matter where he goes. How many teams out there have a complete, gaping hole at running back where he'll step be and be "the guy?"

On the second point, I think we saw how much the league valued Howard when the Bears traded him to the Eagles for a sixth-round pick, and now they have to worry about potential nerve damage in his shoulder on top of it.

In my view, the Eagles should be able to bring Howard back on a reasonable one-year deal if they so choose, and I think that they will.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict:

Darren Sproles

"I know for me personally, one of my weaknesses is getting attached to our players," Howie Roseman said during his press conference on Wednesday, and I believe Sproles fell into that bucket the last couple of offseasons. He should not have been back in 2018, and he definitely should not have been back in 2019. 

In 2020, he won't be back, as he said that he is retiring. Congratulations to him for an outstanding career.

#JimmyVerdict: Go.

Your verdict:

Corey Clement

Clement was a Super Bowl hero, whose last two seasons have been derailed by injuries. He will be a restricted free agent this offseason. is projecting restricted free agent tenders to be as follows:

  1. First-round tender: $4,667,000
  2. Second-round tender: $3,278,000
  3. Original round tender: $2,144,000

Clement is not worth any of the above tenders, which means that the Eagles are unlikely to tender Clement at any level. That will make him an unrestricted free agent, and he'll have the opportunity to sign with any team. 

#JimmyVerdict: I do think that the Eagles will attempt to bring Clement back at a lower, non-guaranteed salary than the original round tender noted above, and I believe that Clement will want to return to the Eagles. If he comes back, he will have to re-earn a roster spot.

Your verdict:

Boston Scott

Scott showed enough as a runner, receiver, and returner in 2019 to at least warrant a spot on the 2020 roster as the RB4.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay

Your verdict: 

Elijah Holyfield

Holyfield spent the season on the Panthers' practice squad, and the Eagles signed him to their active roster after the Panthers' season ended. 

#JimmyVerdictHe'll have a chance to show what he can do in camp next year.

Your verdict: 

#JimmyVerdict Stay or Go Results

"Stay" means stay (duh), "go" means go (duh, again), while "camp" means that I think they'll be at Eagles training camp this year, but do not yet have a firm grip on a roster spot in 2020.

 QBCarson Wentz (stay) Josh McCown (go) Nate Sudfeld (stay)  
 RBMiles Sanders (stay) Jordan Howard (stay) Darren Sproles (go) Corey Clement (camp) 
 RB (cont.) Boston Scott (stay)Elijah Holyfield (camp)   

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