There will be no shortage of big-name running backs hitting the market this offseason, with the likes of Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs headlining the list. Once those two settle their respective situations, tailback Miles Sanders of the Philadelphia Eagles will undoubtedly be the next domino to fall. What does the potential list of suitors for Sanders look like, and what are the chances he could stay or opt to move on?
2023 in review
Last season proved to be a career year for Sanders, who totaled 259 carries for 1,269 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns in 17 games. All of his rushing numbers were career-highs in his three seasons with the Eagles. He also added 20 receptions for 78 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Sanders led a Philadelphia team that finished as the NFL’s fifth-best rushing offense with an average of 147.6 yards per game on the ground. As the Eagles ran all over their opponents, they finished with a 14-3 record and the first overall seed in the NFC.
Philadelphia carried over the winning traits from the regular season into the postseason, where they fended off the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers to punch their ticket to Super Bowl 57. The Eagles would end up losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the title game, as Sanders totaled 35 carries for 148 yards and two rushing touchdowns in three postseason contests.
Do the Eagles want to keep him?
Sanders was the perfect compliment to Jalen Hurts’ mobile skillset, forming a formidable rushing tandem under center and in the backfield. Their partnership proved to be a big reason for Philadelphia’s success as a rushing team, but the question lies in who was the more valuable player, and thus who should the Eagles write a blank check for when it comes to payday?
Sanders had knee and wrist injuries in the postseason that limited his touches, which is a likely factor as to why General Manager Howie Roseman is hesitant in investing heavily in the running back position. Sanders, at 26 years old, has made it clear he would love to remain in Philadelphia, but with a noteworthy extension coming for Hurts and with the franchise tag likely saved for a defensive player such as C.J. Gardner-Johnson or Javon Hargrave, it appears Sanders will hit the market.
Update March 14: It looks like Sanders will move on to a new team in the 2023 season.
To the city of Philadelphia Thank You from the bottom of my heart.— Miles Sanders (@BoobieMilesXXIV) March 14, 2023
Update March 14: The Eagles signed former Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny to a one-year deal. That doesn’t preclude them from signing Sanders still, but it’s looking like a longshot at the moment.
The Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and Denver Broncos all have running back scenarios in flex heading into the offseason and would make sense as candidates making a run at Sanders. The Dolphins have two veteran tailbacks in Jeff Wilson Jr. and Raheem Mostert hitting the market, and both were injury-plagued last season. The Bills have sorely lacked a consistent running game, and adding an experienced player in the backfield will help alleviate the responsibility placed on Josh Allen’s shoulders in making plays with his legs.
The Broncos are also an interesting candidate to monitor, as there is no guarantee running back Javonte Williams will be back in time for the start of the 2023 season after tearing his ACL last year. New head coach Sean Payton has historically loved a diverse group of tailbacks, and the best-case scenario here would be giving Sanders the average annual value he seeks, but agreeing to a short-term deal to align with the remaining years left on Russell Wilson’s contract.