The Philadelphia Eagles may need to rethink their running back situation moving forward.
Following a less-than-impressive 25-20 victory over the New England Patriots, Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP Radio is urging Philadelphia to pursue Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor via trade. Taylor remains on the PUP list as a result of an ankle injury after Indianapolis shopped the former Pro Bowl back in trade talks — which means he’ll be sidelined through the first four games of the season.
“If the #Eagles are actually going to go with a clear RB1 and not a committee than they need to revisit the Jonathan Taylor situation in Indianapolis once he comes off the PUP,” writes Shorr-Parks.
Eagles Struggle in Running Game Against Patriots
Parks’ suggestion comes shortly after Philadelphia struggled to run the football against New England. Despite featuring arguably the most stacked depth at running back in the NFL, the Eagles averaged just 3.9 yards per carry versus the Patriots.
The rushing attack was spearheaded by Kenneth Gainwell, who had 14 carries for 54 rushing yards (3.9 yards per carry). Gainwell had 14 of the Eagles’ 16 carries among their running backs, with Boston Scott and high-profile acquisition D’Andre Swift having just one carry each. Meanwhile, Rashaad Penny — the Seattle Seahawks‘ former starting running back and another notable offseason acquisition — was inactive on gameday.
Head coach Nick Sirianni explained why Swift — who ranked 10th in the NFL in yards per touch last season — had just two total touches for the game.
“There was a number count, I mean you saw that I don’t ever want to come out of a game where D’Andre Swift has only two touches either,” Sirianni said after the game. “Those three guys [Gainwell, Scott, Swift], they dressed and so like I said with Boston to have four backs up when Boston and D’Andre both only had one carry, we’ve got to play that number game.”
To say the Eagles would receive an upgrade at the running back position by acquiring Taylor is an understatement. He’s arguably the best pure runner in the league and led the NFL in rushing yards (1,811 yards) and touchdowns (18) during the 2021 season. Taylor finished as the runner-up in AP Offensive Player of the Year voting.
Why Eagles Are Unlikely to Acquire Jonathan Taylor
However, it’s hard to envision Philadelphia coughing up the assets needed to acquire Taylor. The Colts are seeking a first-round pick or a package of picks that equate to a first-rounder in exchange for the star runner, according to ESPN’s Stephen Holder.
Furthermore, the main point of Taylor’s frustration is not only his lack of a contract extension, but what he’s currently earning. The former second-round draft pick is due to earn just $4.3 million this year, which makes him the 13th-highest paid running back in the league.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Taylor is seeking a deal that would pay him at least $12 million annually.
Keep in mind that the Eagles allowed former starting running back Miles Sanders to walk in free agency with a four-year, $25.4 million deal ($6.350 million per year). While Sanders is obviously not the back that Taylor is, it gives some insight as to how the Eagles want to spend their money when it comes to the running back position.
While it’s a nice scenario to imagine Taylor lining up in the Eagles’ backfield behind Jalen Hurts, it’s more of a dream than anything else. Expect Philadelphia to figure out their running back situation by relying on their in-house players rather than acquiring Taylor.
DJ Siddiqi covers the NFL for Heavy.com, with a focus on the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has covered the NFL and NBA for Forbes, ClutchPoints, CBS Sports, 24/7 Sports and Bleacher Report before joining Heavy. More about DJ Siddiqi
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