LeSean McCoy, Carlos Hyde or Devonta Freeman for Eagles?

Eliot Shorr-Parks
May 14, 2020 - 10:06 am

The Eagles are going to be adding a veteran running back. It is just a matter of who they add and when they do it. 

Last offseason, when the Eagles had a need at a position, the obvious target was Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard. The Eagles made the move everyone wanted them to, and for the most part, it worked out. 

This time around the answer at the position is a little less clear. There are options out there, but no slam-dunk choice seems to be available. The three names currently most linked to the Eagles are LeSean McCoy, Carlos Hyde and Devonta Freeman. 

Here is a look at each, with my ranking: 

1) Devonta Freeman: There is a lot to like about the possibility of the Eagles bringing in Freeman. The youngest of the three at 28-years old, Freeman has been relatively healthy throughout his career, and played 14 games last season for the Atlanta Falcons. Freeman is the best pass catcher of the trio, a major bonus in the Eagles’ offense, as he caught 59 passes for 410 yards last season on 70 targets, averaging 6.9 yards-per-catch and scoring four touchdowns. His yards-per-carry were a career-low last season, at just 3.6, which is a bit of a red flag, but he is big enough to be the team’s between-the-tackle runner if needed. 

Freeman seems to be the best fit with Miles Sanders and Boston Scott, as he brings a nice combination of versatility and experience, while also having the potential to be the top-back if needed due to injury. 

2) LeSean McCoy: The idea of McCoy coming back to the Eagles is certainly a fun one. There is no denying that. The timing of McCoy coming back also seems to be right, as he seems to have realized where he is at in his career, something that didn’t seem to the best case even one year ago. Now, McCoy could come in, be a backup to Miles Sanders and Boston Scott, while also being very familiar with the offense and the culture the Eagles have. McCoy proved last season he can be effective in a backup role, as he averaged 4.6 yards-per-carry on 101 attempts, his best average since 2013. Part of that is likely due to playing in a dynamic Kansas City Chiefs offense, but as the third-string running back, McCoy makes plenty of sense. 

The concern with McCoy would be whether he can carry the load if Sanders were to go down, something Freeman seems able to do it. He probably isn’t as good as Hyde is, but it is hard to look past how exciting it would be to have No. 25 back on the Eagles. 

3) Carlos Hyde: Hyde seems to be the perfect fit as a Jordan Howard replacement in this offseason. Weighing in at 229 pounds, Hyde is a physical runner that carried the load for the Houston Texans last season, totaling 1,070 yards on 245 carries. Hyde can definitely still play, and has shown he can stay healthy, suiting up for 16 games in two of the last three seasons. The only concern with Hyde would be whether he can be effective out of the backfield. Hyde caught only 10 passes last season for the Texans, and in his six-year career, has caught under 15 passes four times. 

The Eagles like their pieces on offense to be versatile, and that could cause them to go with a better pass-catching option than Hyde, like Freeman or McCoy. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!