NFL teams refuse to give running backs lucrative long-term contracts, but Philadelphia GM Howie Roseman must figure out how to convince D’Andre Swift to play for $5+ million per season.
Only three Super Bowl champions in the last 15 years had a 1,000-yard rusher in the regular season compared with 11 in the 15 seasons before, so it’ll be hard to convince the long-time GM that paying solid money to a running back in this climate makes sense.
Teams successfully use a running back-by-committee approach rotation like the Eagles last season.
Philadelphia will continue that trend in 2023 and beyond, and it’s on Howie Roseman to ensure that Swift sticks around with Kenneth Gainwell to give the Birds a dynamic and dominant duo at the position.
With preparation for a Week 4 matchup against Washington fast approaching, we’re looking at five reasons why the Eagles need to extend Swift sooner rather than later.
Locking up one of offense’s best weapons
Swift (303) is second behind San Francisco’s Christian McCaffery (353) for the NFL’s rushing yards lead entering Week 4, and he’s playing with the best offensive talent in the NFL, along with a head coach who will force-feed the hot hand.
Market rate for veteran running backs is decreasing
Running backs take the most hits of any player on offense and, therefore, have the shortest shelf life of any player. The position is viewed as replaceable because talented runners sometimes come to a dime a dozen.
Would Swift be interested in a fair market deal with incentives for four years of running behind the best offensive line?
Possible discount before a potential breakout
Swift has 45 carries, for 308 yards (6.8 avg), and one rushing touchdown through three games with the Eagles.
Running behind the most dominant offensive line in the NFL, Swift is averaging 100 yards per game, and on pace for a 1,700 yard season through three games played if he can remain healthy.
Swift’s injury history ensures that he won’t come near Saquon Barkley’s $10 million per season, but some franchise looking to swing a homerun could look to lure Swift away for $7+ million or more in free agency.
Getting Swift signed before a breakout season that ends with a Pro Bowl and All-Pro nomination could save Howie Roseman millions.
The four-year, $17,845,138 that Jahmyr Gibbs signed with Detroit could be the baseline and would put Swift at $4,461,285 per season according to Over The Cap, with room to move up to the $5 million mark.
With the NFL salary cap expected to rise, and the running back in the final year of his deal, Swift was due for a raise, and the fair market deal keeps the Philadelphia native at home near his family, while getting the comfort of $7M-$9M guaranteed.
Fifth wide receiver spot
A true dual threat, Swift also logged 1,198 receiving yards and seven additional scores on 156 catches during his stint with the Lions.
Swift is talented enough to make plays while in motion, or from the slot, giving quarterback Jalen Hurts another outlet that can flourish in space.
Having Swift and Kenneth Gainwell in the lineup ensures that Philadelphia can always feel comfortable going light at the wide receiver spot on the 53-man roster behind A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Britain Covey (punt return) and Olamide Zaccheaus.