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The reigning NFC champion Eagles signed talented but oft-injured running back Rashaad Penny on Tuesday. Miles Sanders is a free agent and tweeted his gratitude toward the city of Philadelphia, likely indicating his time as an Eagle is over.

 

 

The Eagles also re-signed Boston Scott and still have playoff hero Kenneth Gainwell on the roster. Let’s dig into Penny’s outlook with his new team and speculate on Sanders.

 

RASHAAD PENNY

Old projection: 69.6 carries for 359.1 yards and 2.2 TDs, 10.2 catches on 13.4 targets for 78.1 yards and 0.3 TDs

New projection: 134.1 carries for 699.4 yards and 4.6 TDs, 13.2 catches on 17.7 targets for 102.5 yards and 0.5 TDs

  • Penny is a case where his base case may appear low projection-wise, but he’ll be higher in our rankings (assuming they don’t add anyone else) because he has a wide range of outcomes. We are also still baking in the possibility they add another back.
  • It’s a significant upgrade for Penny, who would have been stuck behind ascending star Kenneth Walker if he’d returned to Seattle. With the Eagles, Penny will have a chance to earn a significant role, particularly near the goal line. Sanders had 26 carries inside the 10-yard line in 2022 (third most in the NFL). Philly uses all four ball carriers in close, but Penny is a big back with multi-TD spike-week potential in best ball. Penny also averaged 5.7 yards per carry behind an alright offensive line in Seattle; now, he gets to run behind arguably the league’s best trench group. It’s easy to imagine a sky-high efficiency ceiling for the former first-round pick.
  • With that being said, there’s a long way to go in the offseason and Penny’s injury history isn’t exactly a secret. He’s never had more than 119 carries or 12 targets in a single NFL season. Gainwell should handle clear passing situations on a team that already threw just 12.1% of attempts to the RB position (worst in the NFL). Penny is likely a near-zero in the passing game, meaning he’ll need to rely on rushing efficiency to return value at ADP.
  • The Eagles’ analytics-oriented front office seems unlikely to spend an early draft pick on an RB — especially after signing Penny — but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re done adding backfield contributors (Penny’s contract could be telling in terms of how they view his 2023 role). Gainwell also earned a larger role during the playoffs, which could carry over into the 2023 season. There are paths to Penny finishing as a fantasy RB2 (or better, if everything breaks right), but his role is likely fragile and his injury history can’t be ignored.

 

MILES SANDERS

  • Sanders is likely to land as a committee back somewhere and contribute immediately. Wherever he goes will almost certainly be a downgrade from the Eagles — where he was running behind an elite offensive line on one of the most potent and run-heavy offenses in the league — but he can still be useful getting low double-digit carries and ~2 targets per game elsewhere. We’ll see where he lands, when he signs, and how much he gets paid.