Eagles: Options Open

Howie Roseman couldn’t just let the Phillies (and Sixers) have the spot light on Thursday. He had to jump in and make a big move.

The Positives:

  • Howard fills a major need

The Eagles running back depth just a got a lot better.

-Jordan Howard

-Wendell Smallwood

-Corey Clement

-Josh Adams?

-Boston Scott?

-Donnel Pumphrey?

-Darren Sproles?

This will more than likely still be a committee approach, but Howard makes it a much stronger committee. He can potentially fill that 2017 LeGarrette Blount role and then some.

  • Zero risk, high reward

The Eagles acquired a 24 year-old running back that has the third most rushing yards in the NFL since 2016 for a 2020 conditional 6th round pick.

If he fails, he’s a free agent after this season anyway and he moves on.

If he succeeds, the Eagles just got a major steal.

  • The comp pick factor

Thanks to Nick Foles signing with the Jags, the Eagles should be awarded the highest third round comp pick for 2020. Additionally, they should also get two fourth round picks for Golden Tate and Jordan Hicks. With trading for Howard instead of signing a FA, they won’t lose a comp pick.

If Howard walks after next season, they will be awarded another comp pick in 2021.

This may not seem like a big deal, but with a Carson Wentz extension looming, the Eagles need all the assets that they can get. Whether they hit on those picks is a different story, but at least they have the ammo.

  • Options are wide open

With acquiring Howard, for next to nothing, the Eagles check off a major box on their off-season checklist…

  1. Figure out the Foles situation
  2. Figure out left tackle/ add o line depth (draft a guy)
  3. Running back (Could still draft a guy)
  4. Pass rusher (Could still draft a guy)
  5. Impact LB
  6. Replenish d line depth (Could still draft a guy)
  7. Secondary depth
  8. Burner WR
  9. Veteran QB?

As we enter the heart of draft season, the Eagles options are wide open. With no dire need, they can go in a number of directions at 25, 53 and 57. “Best player available” is cliche but it really does apply to the Eagles.

They can can still look to add a running back in the draft, potentially bring back Darren Sproles, or both.

The Negatives:

  • Limited pass catching ability

Howard never really fit into Matt Nagy’s system. His pass catching ability seemed to be one of the major reasons why.

Howard does have 72 career receptions, but he is very limited in this area. It’s not a major issue because again, the Eagles will still go with their running back by committee approach.

  • Total yards and YPC down each year

Howard’s yards-per-carry and total rushing yards have declined each year that he has been in the league.

2016: 5.2 YPC/ 1,313 total

2017: 4.1 YPC / 1,122 total

2018: 3.7 YPC / 935 total

Not the end of the world, but it’s probably another reason why the Bears were OK with parting ways.

One question…..

If Howard didn’t fit into Matt Nagy’s system, why would he fit into Doug Pederson’s?

Nagy clearly had no place for Howard and was eager to move on.

Joe Douglas was part of the front office in Chicago that drafted Howard, so he probably has a higher value on him than this current Bears regime. Now it will be up to Doug to get something out of him. I mentioned 2017 LeGarrette Blount, that’s pretty much how I envision Howard being used this season.

Final thoughts:

I like this move a lot. The front office is familiar him, the price was right, it fills a need, and Howard has upside. This was the definition of low risk, high reward.

If Howard rushes for 700-900 yards with 4-8 TDs, this will be a major win for the Eagles.

This move also keeps their options open. They can still address running back in the draft but it’s no longer the # 1 priority.

Overall this was a very solid, low risk move that fills a major hole. Another solid move in what is becoming a solid off-season for the Eagles.

Feature Image: Chicago Sun Times

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