Saquon Barkley to Eagles: Here are the two franchise greats owner Jeffrey Lurie compared newest RB with

Written by on March 29, 2024

ORLANDO, Fla. — Saquon Barkley broke the mold for how the Philadelphia Eagles view running backs. The Eagles have not given a multi-year contract to a running back since Howie Roseman re-emerged as general manager in 2016 prior to Barkley, significantly contributing toward the devaluing of the position.

The Eagles viewed Barkley as a generational player. He is the three-down running back the franchise has sought since having these two franchise greats in the Andy Reid-era. 

“I think with Saquon, one of the things we always talk about, whether it was LeSean McCoy, Brian Westbrook, is the value of a running back is it’s not even the word of the title ‘running back,’  Lurie said at the NFL Annual Meetings this week. “You have to be a great passing attack running back as well. For us, it’s got to be multifunctional.

“And he exhibited a very special skill set both in the running and the passing game that we think certainly can be maximized by being on a team with better skill positions, quarterback, offensive line. So, it was a strategy to go.”

Ironically, the Eagles went to two Super Bowls without putting a great emphasis on the running back. Thanks to their excellent offensive line, Philadelphia won Super Bowl LII with LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi, and Corey Clement carrying the load. Blount was on a one-year contract while Ajayi was on a rookie contract and Clement was an undrafted rookie free agent. Philadelphia went to Super Bowl LVII with Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell on rookie contracts and Boston Scott on a one-year deal. 

The Eagles strategy of not paying running backs worked, but Barkley was the exception. They believe Barkley is in the mold of Westbrook and McCoy, a piece to an already loaded offense with Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown and Dallas Goedert at the forefront. 

“People think we don’t spend on the running back position. That’s never really been the case,” Lurie said. “We would do it very carefully. LeSean McCoy, Brian Westbrook, those are instances of players that are really multi-purpose running backs that improve the passing attack, improve the running attack.

“And it’s, I think, Howie [Roseman] said it, it’s hard to find exceptionally talented players. If you think about it, what we pay Saquon Barkley, take another position of what that’s getting in the league and you tell me, is it better to pay Saquon that kind of money or a player at a different position that’s getting the exact same amount of money? 

“That’s a decision. And Howie led the way there and felt that Saquon was the right way to spend that money.”

The post Saquon Barkley to Eagles: Here are the two franchise greats owner Jeffrey Lurie compared newest RB with first appeared on CBS Sports.

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