With the 2016 NFL free agency period set to officially kick off at 4 p.m. on March 9, rumors are heating up regarding the Philadelphia Eagles and their free agent targets. With running back DeMarco Murray being traded to the Tennessee Titans, the Eagles are in need of a competent back to take the pressure off of Sam Bradford and the rest of the offense. While Ryan Mathews is still on the roster, rumors are saying that the Eagles are shopping him as well. With Lamar Miller not expected to re-sign with the Miami Dolphins, the Philadelphia Eagles should make the young running back their priority.
At only 24-years-old, Miller is the rare running back who it may make sense to pay a lot of money for in free agency. While the Eagles got burned last year when they signed Murray and Mathews, both of them had question marks from the beginning. Murray was coming off of a season where he had a record number of carries, and he also played behind one of the best offensive lines in football. While Mathews was always a productive player for the San Diego Chargers when he was healthy, he once again suffered numerous injuries last year during his first year with the Eagles.
As reported by the Sun Sentinel, Miller will not return to Miami.
“According to multiple sources, the former University of Miami standout will not be returning to the Miami Dolphins, leaving his hometown team for a more lucrative offer.”
During his time in Miami, Miller was criminally underutilized. His breakout season came in 2014 where he rushed 216 times for 1,099 yards and eight touchdowns. He also caught 38 passes for 275 yards and one touchdown. In 2015, Miller was only given 194 rushing attempts, where he ran for 872 yards and eight touchdowns. He added 47 receptions for 397 yards and two touchdowns.
The bottom line is that Miller will only be 25-years-old at the start of the season. He does not have a lot of miles on him, and he is only getting better. Even if Mathews remains on the Eagles’ roster, he does not have the ability to receive the bulk of the carries. While Darren Sproles always seems to pick up chunks of yardage when given the opportunity, he is also not capable of receiving anything more than a few carries a game.
Bleeding Green Nation discusses the available running back options for the Eagles in free agency.
“It’s hard to see the Eagles spending big at this position after doing so with DeMarco Murray last offseason. But make no mistake, the Eagles really do need some help here. Murray is gone and Ryan Mathews is reportedly available for trade. Darren Sproles, who turns 33 in June, is in the last year of his contract. The only other running back with NFL experience under contract is former Chip Kelly favorite Kenjon Barner. The top running back in free agency is Matt Forte. The veteran is likely looking to go to a sure-fire contender and the Eagles don’t fit the bill there. Lamar Miller is one of the most intriguing options because he was underutilized by the Dolphins and he’s only 24 years old. He should be in line to earn a big contract, however. There aren’t a lot of inspiring running back options on the market.”
While Matt Forte is still a productive player, he is too old for what the Eagles are looking for. Since the Eagles decided to re-sign Sam Bradford, as opposed to essentially tanking the season with Mark Sanchez, it only makes sense to put the best possible players around him. While many fans and analysts are down on Bradford, the team was extremely dysfunctional last season. In addition to playing extremely poorly, Murray was reportedly a problem in the locker room. If Bradford is going to have any hope of enjoying success over the long-term in Philadelphia, he is going to need a player like Miller to make things easier.
While David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News does not believe the Eagles will spend a lot of money in free agency on a running back, he also believes that Miller would be the perfect fit in Philadelphia.
Doubt Eagles will be shopping at top of market again, but Lamar Miller is a Pederson back. Speed, durability, excellent hands— David Murphy (@ByDavidMurphy) March 8, 2016
Anthony DiBona of the Philly Influencer believes that Miller is a dark horse candidate to sign with the Eagles.
Lamar Miller would be my dark horse candidate to be the Eagles starting RB next season.— Anthony DiBona (@Anthony_DiBona) March 8, 2016
Could come cheap and remind Pederson of Charles.
Now that the official free agency signing period is only one day away, rumors are going to continue to link the Philadelphia Eagles to former Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller. While the team may be reluctant to pay big money for another running back, this is a much different situation than signing older and high-mileage backs such as DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews.
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