Two teams with an interesting situation in their backfield are the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Packers need to know if Eddie Lacy is planning on losing weight or not, while the Eagles have too many of them with Darren Sproles, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews.
The Packers did make the postseason and even won a game before losing in overtime to the Arizona Cardinals. But the overall path towards that end was disappointing, not finishing on top of the division, and showing a lot of offensive hiccups along the way. Part of the problem has been Lacy, who did lead the team in rushing with 758 yards and 3 touchdowns, but it seemed like the Packers fell back to their old tendencies: Aaron Rodgers and not much to support him in the running game.
Lacy had two seasons of over 1100 rushing yards in each of them to start off his NFL career, but fell off that mark in 2015. Part of the problem has been his weight, which does help him break tackles, but maybe it has gotten out of hand. On the team’s website he is listed as a 234-pounder, but he’s probably bigger than that. Lacy has already said he’s committed to the weight loss, and the Packers probably hope to see him in the 220’s. In the past, big runners who have lost weight did quite well in their thinner version.
The Eagles don’t need anyone to lose weight. The team needs to cut off excess fat from the salary cap. Murray comes with an $8 million cap hit next season, Mathews with $4 million and Sproles, who finished behind Murray in yards from scrimmage and also added two punt return touchdowns, comes with a $4.5 million cap hit. Cutting Sproles makes more sense because it comes with just $1 million in dead money, and $3 million in cap savings.
But why cut anyone if you can trade them? With Chip Kelly gone, Murray is probably happy, and despite having a disappointing season (1024 yards from scrimmage, only 3.6 yards per carry) the Eagles aren’t going to dump him after one bad season, thinking that a new head coach can mean something of a renaissance for their very expensive free agency signing last season. Mathews averaged 5 yards per carry last season, and isn’t going to be moved. Sproles, who is going to be 33 in June, might make the reasonable choice to try and fish something with, even if he’s quite useful in more than just the running game.
Kenjon Barner is another running back the Eagles have who can do some damage (4.4 yards per carry last season) but without Kelly who shares the Oregon background with him, it won’t be surprising to see him surplus to requirements. While the Packers need a backup who can take over if the former Alabama tailback disappoints, the Eagles right now need to get rid of guys in their backfield, looking like they’re already set for next season, at least in that position.