Eagles free agency: Ranking potentially available running backs in 2023

Kareem Hunt #27, Cleveland Browns (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Kareem Hunt #27, Cleveland Browns (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Another offseason has arrived, and the Philadelphia Eagles have work to do. That’s always the story at this time of the year though, isn’t it?

We won’t waste a ton of your time here. Philly has to make decisions on 20 impending free agents, including the top two tailbacks from last season’s depth chart.

Miles Sanders figures to be playing somewhere else during the 2023 regular season. You never know what the Birds are thinking when it comes to Boston Scott. That leaves Kenneth Gainwell and Trey Trey Sermon as the only two running backs on the roster if they split aside from Kennedy Brooks who is signed to a reserve/future deal.

With that said, it appears that we have much to discuss in terms of free agency options.

Here are the top 15 free-agent options the Eagles will have at the running back position (and a few honorable mentions).

It’s long been seen as the NFL’s most punishing position, one where the appreciation and life expectancy aren’t what they once were. Running backs are often asked to tote the rock 20 times a game while defensive linemen and linebackers that run the 40-yard dash in five seconds or less crash into them violently.

It seems like that would be a reason to pay them more, but instead, they make less than they used to and rarely get drafted early. Maybe that means the Eagles can get one or two of these guys at a discount.

1. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders

If Josh Jacobs hasn’t supplanted Derrick Henry as the NFL’s best running back yet, he’s close. Last season, the potentially former Raiders star led the league in rushing and continued his ascension as a great receiving threat.

2. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Saquon Barkley finally proved to be 100 percent healed from his 2020 ACL injury. His durability is still in question despite last season, but he still has to be seen as one of the league’s best backs.

3. Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys

We’ll say what everyone else is thinking. Tony Pollard is better than Ezekiel Elliott now and capable of scoring on any given touch.

4. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns

This is someone Eagles enthusiasts have expressed interest in before. Trading for him always seemed like an unwise move, but Philly might be willing to take a flier on him seeing as how, this time, he’d be a free agent.

5. Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks

Rashaad Penny broke a bone in his leg just five games into the season. That’s sad because we all know he’s gifted when healthy. Might he get a second chance elsewhere?

6. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

Miles Sanders proved for 19 games that he could do everything people thought he couldn’t. Unfortunately, in the Eagles’ 20th and final contest, he reverted to demonstrating those traits that made people doubt him in the first place.

7. Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings

Alexander Mattison never got a chance to prove much in Minnesota as he was staring up at Dalvin Cook on the depth chart. He could blossom into something special if given a chance elsewhere.

8. Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions

Jamaal Williams led the NFL in touchdowns last year and is great at the goal line. He isn’t elite, but he’d do well in the right situation.

9. Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills

Devin Singletary is the owner of one of the NFL’s most recognizable names at the running back position. We just have two questions.

Why is it that the Buffalo never gave him the full load, and why did the Bills get their quarterback beat up rather than hand the ball to Singletary more often?

10. Boston Scott, Eagles

Well, you know how we feel about Boston Scott. He’s vastly underrated, and we have no idea why the Eagles haven’t turned to him more.

The Giant Killer can tote the rock and contribute as a receiver and returner. He’s also durable. What’s not to like? Maybe you can help because we can’t figure it out.

11. D’Onta Foreman, Carolina Panthers

D’Onta Foreman played well as RB1 once Christian Mccaffrey was traded. Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t appear that he’s much of a receiver out of the backfield.

12. Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins

Raheem Mostert is a home-run hitter that can produce huge plays. No one trusts him to be a featured back though because he isn’t durable.

13. Jeff Wilson Jr., Dolphins

How about a Dolphins double feature? Jeff Wilson played well for Miami, but he’s only 27 and already has a checkered injury history.

14. Kenyan Drake, Baltimore Ravens

Kenyan Drake has pieced some solid showings together. He’s a head-scratcher though. From the outside looking in, it’s hard to determine if he should be given more carries to showcase him or fewer to keep him healthy.

15. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

There’s no nice way to say this. David Montgomery has a name, but the player attached to that name might be a tad overrated. Look no further than an offensively starved Bears team that elected to use Khalil Herbert more often.

Just outside the top 15: D’Ernest Johnson, Browns

D’Ernest Johnson hasn’t gotten much burn because he sat behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt on the Cleveland Brown’s depth chart. Still, with that being said, two things are working in his favor.

One, he should have plenty of tread left on the tire, and second, he has proven to be effective when given the chance.

Honorable mention: Latavius Murray (Denver Broncos), Jerick McKinnon (Kansas City Chiefs), Damien Harris (New England Patriots), Samaje Perine (Cincinnati Bengals)

Our list of honorable mentions is loaded with talent. Latavius Murray played well last season, but he’s 33 years old. Jerick McKinnon and Samaje Perine are good receivers but average to below-average runners. Damien Harris is a good runner that doesn’t make much happen as a receiver.

Still, we’d place these four over guys like Royce Freeman (Houston Texans), Justin Jackson (Lions), Matt Breida (Giants), Ty Johnson (New York Jets), and Dontrell Hilliard (Tennessee Titans).