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Why Hasn’t Jordan Howard Been Signed Yet?

After years of fans shouting in the stands and cursing at the television on game day, the Eagles brass finally got the message. The Eagles have transitioned into a run-first team.

Behind a deep stable of backs that included Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott, and Jordan Howard, Philadelphia completed the 2021 season as the number one team in rushing yards. An epic stat that hasn’t been seen by the team in years.

With the success of the Eagles’ running game, retaining the running back corps seemed to be preeminent. However, the Eagles might have a different plan of action. Jordan Howard was one of the key pieces to the rushing attack who is now a free agent. So why hasn’t Jordan Howard been signed yet?

Availability

Jordan Howard has been the power back the Eagles have been missing since their Super Bowl victory in 2018. Howard’s downhill running style has been essential for third down and short-yardage situations.

The additional yards after contact he is capable of reaching have been keeping opposing defenses on their heels for a number of years. His aggressiveness meshes perfectly with the city of Philadelphia. The only problem is his availability.

Since being traded to the Eagles in 2019 from the Chicago Bears, Jordan Howard’s availability hasn’t been exactly dependable. Howard has only appeared in 19 games for the Birds with a total of 958 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns. The 27-year-old back has dealt with what seems to be a plague of injuries since joining the Birds. Let’s be honest, running backs who are prone to injury age like milk in the NFL.

In November of 2019, Howard suffered a right shoulder injury that kept him out for six weeks. Then in November of 2021, Howard ended up with a grade-one knee strain that had him sidelined for two games.

Howard’s most recent injury occurred in December of 2021 when he suffered a cervical neck stinger in the first half against the New York Giants. Howard did not return for the second half of that game. With Howard being riddled with injuries lately, the Eagles could be erring on the side of caution.

A Crowded Nest

The Eagles are always looking to improve the team at any way possible. That includes the running back position. During the 2021 NFL Draft the Eagles selected Running Back Kenneth Gainwell in the fifth round. Many Eagles fans believed Gainwell would probably be a “camp body,” or eventually land on the practice squad. However, it didn’t take long to find out that was far from the truth.

Gainwell completed his rookie campaign with 291 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. The young back averaged 4.3 yards a carry with the limited snaps he received. He made his presence felt on the field and is expected to have a bigger role during the 2022 season.

With Gainwell earning the confidence from ownership and fans around the nation, could he be the new back for short-yardage situations? Being younger and cheaper, could Gainwell be Howard’s replacement? Is this why Howard hasn’t been signed yet?

A New Direction

Through this offseason the Eagles have answered many questions and filled many holes. Whether it was drafting high caliber prospects or making blockbuster trades. It appears that the Eagles future is looking very bright.

As each day passes it seems more likely that Howard’s days sporting the midnight green are over. One thing that is certain in this league is that it is quite unpredictable. You could be reading this article at this very moment and you could suddenly get a notification on your phone stating Howard has signed with the Eagles. There could even be an early retirement announced or a signing with another team. That is what makes this league so great.

You just never know.

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