Miles Sanders is just now entering the fourth season of his NFL career. You know what that means, he is entering the final year of his rookie contract. The former second-round draft pick out of Penn State has had his flashes of brilliance since entering the league. However, he was clearly frustrated by the offensive game plan that the Philadelphia Eagles had in mind to start of the 2021 season.
2021 Did Not Start Well for Either Side
Their new head coach Nick Sirianni wanted to pass the ball… a little too much early on. There were points when the fans were scratching their heads, wondering why the team refused to run the football. There was so much complaining over the matter that eventually Sirianni decided that he wanted to mix it up a bit. Getting the ground game involved was the major reason that the Eagles even forced their way into the playoffs last year as well.
When this change was made, Sanders was a different player. In Weeks 13 and 14, he rushed for over 120 yards. He ended the season with just 754 rushing yards on the ground, which doesn’t seem like much. Though he did it on just 137 total carries, which is wildly impressive. This isn’t even mentioning that he wasn’t able to score a touchdown, a stat that shouldn’t really go against him. The Eagles usually substituted him out on goal line situations. It should be mentioned that he did miss five games due to injury as well.
As it stands right now, the Eagles have a full-blown running back by committee going on. Outside of Sanders, Boston Scott, Jordan Howard and Kenneth Gainwell all saw an abundance of opportunities out on the field. Quarterback Jalen Hurts is also running the football a lot on designed rush plays for himself. In theory, the Eagles could move on from Sanders and be just fine in the end. However, I believe that would be a mistake.
Why The Eagles Should Pay Miles Sanders
Sanders was clearly their most effective back last season. When the game plan shifted to his strengths, they started winning a lot of games. Seeing him go for over 750 yards on less than 150 carries is mind blowing in itself as well. Don’t get caught up on him not scoring a touchdown either. I mean, Julio Jones didn’t score one for quite a long time and nobody doubted that he was a top wideout in the league.
Running backs are pretty hard to spend a lot of money on, but Philadelphia isn’t in a position to let offensive talent walk. Choosing not to draft a number of big-name offensive players in recent drafts is proof of that. They need to pay Sanders, but not overpay, while putting him into a workhorse role in this offense. Howard can be released in the offseason and a competition of Scott and Gainwell could commence to see who backs Sanders up full-time. 2022 is going to be a big season for Sanders and the Eagles, I say they need to pay him and keep him around long-term.
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