So what does Philadelphia do about Wendell Smallwood?
Yes, we’ve already put our imaginary depth chart together, and it doesn’t look good for Wendell Smallwood.
Whenever headline-worthy roster moves happen (LeGarrette Blount to the Philadelphia Eagles for example), the immediate response by most would be to think about the guys who were already on the team. Ryan Mathews already has one foot out of the exit door, and the Eagles figure to be done with making transactions at the running back position. Everyone is well aware of the names that will be juggled on the imaginary depth chart of every Eagles fan: Wendell Smallwood, Darren Sproles, Donnel Pumphrey, Corey Clement, Byron Marshall and now Blount.
Here’s the good news for everyone mentioned. The Eagles may actually carry five running backs once the 2017 season kicks off. Then again, they may not. They’re stocked, to say the least, at the skill positions. That’s a good problem and one that they didn’t have a month or so ago. There are seven running backs and twelve wide receivers currently on the roster. It’s safe to say everyone won’t be staying. That brings us to Wendell Smallwood.
Some financial planning:
More from Inside the Iggles
- Eagles captains earn high praise on roster blending veteran leadership, youth
- How former Eagles star Cre’Von LeBlanc helped Renegades upstage Cowboys
- Eagles 2023 schedule: Every WR duo Darius Slay, James Bradberry will battle
- Imagining better names for Jason Kelce’s Good Guy Award
- Bold predictions for the Philadelphia Eagles offense in 2023
Smallwood fans can hold their breath because he may be safe (barely). It doesn’t appear the Eagles’ coaches are overly excited about him. Head coach Doug Pederson mentioned him earlier in the off-season, stating he’d have “a role” in 2017. Some have thought his release was an impossibility with this being his second year, but as the great Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friend”. His and Nelson Agholor‘s situations are entirely different.
The latter name mentioned, Agholor, is a former first-round selection who is too expensive to move. He represents a $2.5 million cap hit and $4.6 million in dead cap space. That’s had every member of the Eagles brass walking around the NovaCare Complex all off-season playing Johnnie Taylor‘s “It’s Cheaper To Keep Her”.
Smallwood, on the other hand, is a less expensive possibility if he can be dealt or cut. According to Spotrac.com, he only represents a $601,144 cap hit and $183,434 in dead cap space. Still, the Eagles are holding on to the theory that he can bounce back from injury and be okay. That being said, Marshall figures to be the odd man out (along with Mathews). He represents a cap hit that wouldn’t cause the Eagles too much stress ($540,000). He doesn’t cause any cap hit at all. Those numbers are also provided by Spotrac.com.
Related Story: Blount's signing is a warning to Eagles’ backfield
With all of that being said, Smallwood may be safe. Sproles won’t play in the NFL again after the 2017 season, and the hope is Smallwood slides right into the void Sproles leaves. He’d have big shoes to fill and a lot of expectations. Still, he can’t have a repeat of last year’s production, 312 yards and two touchdowns. Yes, he suffered an injury that ended his season, but still. He’s a former fifth-round selection, and the way things are going, no one would be surprised if he ended up as the last man on the Eagles depth chart for running backs. That would be quite a tumble seeing as how he actually found his way into the starting role a season ago.