The Eagles took their time, but they finally made a splash at running back.
Instead of pursuing a big-name veteran like Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles or Eddie Lacy — and instead of drafting a Dalvin Cook or Joe Mixon — Philly chilled out and went with a late-round low-key move to select Donnell Pumphrey and nothing else.
The Eagles officially announced they had signed former Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount to a one-year deal, adding a big, bruising down-hill runner to a youthful backfield. The deal is reportedly worth up to $2.8 million and is heavily incentive-based.
The veteran presence of Blount, 30, will likely be just as valuable as his potential performance as he attempts to replicate a season from 2016 that led all runners in touchdowns with 18. He also eclipsed the 1,100 yard mark as the Pats won the Super Bowl, his second as a player.
“LeGarrette Blount is a tough, physical runner who has enjoyed a great deal of success in New England and we are excited about adding him to this football team,” said Howie Roseman, Eagles executive vice president of football operations. “We feel good about the depth and competition that we have created at the running back position and we are looking forward to getting the guys out on the field next week for OTAs.”
Behind Bount will be Pumphrey, Wendell Smallwood, Byron Marshall and Darren Sproles, another experienced veteran back but obviously a much different kind of runner. Sproles is expected to retire after 2017.
The Eagles still have Ryan Mathews under contract but can save $4 million by cutting him, and will likely do so now as he continues to recover from offseason surgery.