February 20, 2024   4 MIN READ

Run For The Money?

Did D'Andre Swift's Career Year Price Him Out Of Eagles Return?


The running back positional landscape for the Eagles is likely to undergo considerable alterations, with fourth-year pro Kenny Gainwell and reserve/futures signing Lew Nichols being the only position players under contract in 2024.

Decisions also need to be made at defensive end, where franchise legend and Super Bowl hero Brandon Graham faces another potential career crossroads. Graham last offseason agreed to a one-year deal to remain with the team that drafted him 14 years ago. Could history repeat itself?

As a free-agent primer, our Inside the Birds “Stay or Go” series featuring one offensive position group and one defensive position group daily continues with running back and defensive end.

D'Andre Swift

GETTY IMAGES: After a career-best in rushing, will D’Andre Swift come back to the Eagles in 2024?

RB D’Andre Swift

Swift, who last season rushed for a career-best 1,049 yards over 16 games, would pair perfectly with new Eagles offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s long-standing history of exploiting multi-purpose backs. Swift’s arrival was expected to present a dynamic dimension, specifically in the passing game. But the check-down wrinkle was largely absent from the Eagles’ 2023 playbook, resulting in Swift’s lowest reception and receiving total of his career.

Watching Swift operate, it was evident he was ill-equipped to serve as a three-down back and that the Eagles needed a big-bodied complement to preserve tread on Swift’s tires. It was also glaring that Swift was underutilized, hampering his overall effectiveness.

It’s possible he would want to play elsewhere, perhaps for a team that would accentuate his receiving prowess and maximize his skill set. I’m envisioning a contract comparative to the one Miles Sanders received last offseason. Maybe a smidgen less, as Sanders’ contract served as a lesson-learned for any prospective buyers. Either way, that’s a price point the Eagles would surely balk at.

Verdict: Go

RB Boston Scott

Believe it or not, Scott carried the highest price tag of his position group in 2023. Ironically, he saw the lightest workload of his six-year career, carrying 20 times for 86 yards and reeling in just four passes in 15 games.

A tough, dependable player known for sporadic bursts of production, Scott has proven he’s worth keeping around, if only for familiarity and depth purposes for training camp. It’s also difficult envisioning another team offering more than the Eagles would be willing to pay. And with only Gainwell under contract in 2024, retaining Scott makes the Eagles less vulnerable in free agency and the draft.

Verdict: Stay

RB Rashaad Penny

In theory, signing Penny last April to a one-year prove-it deal made plenty of sense. Despite navigating an injury-riddled career in Seattle, Penny offered an intriguingly different element. At 5-foot-11, 220 pounds, the former first-round pick was projected to fulfill the role of a between-the-tackles bruiser. The enigmatic Penny was also expected to provide home run-hitting potential.

This time, however, a clean bill of health would not be enough for Penny to factor into the Eagles’ rotation. Penny, who struggled as a pass-blocker in his brief opportunities, was a virtual non-entity as a receiving option and failed to cement a role on special teams. He tumbled to fourth in the pecking order. Appearing in only three games, Penny mustered 33 yards on 11 carries. The only logical explanation for Penny’s season-long stay on the 53 is that he was stashed as Swift insurance.

Presumably looking to maximize his NFL shelf-life at 28 years old, Penny will look for a better situation on the open market.

Verdict: Go

GETTY IMAGES: Veteran DE Brandon Graham, a Super Bowl hero for the Eagles in 2017, has spent all 14 of his seasons with the Eagles.

DE Brandon Graham

One of three legendary franchise figures with expiring contracts, Graham seems most likely to return. The 35-year-old Graham has made mention of wanting to play 15 years with the same team in the past, and the thinking here is that both parties come to an agreement to keep him around.

It’s worth noting the veteran pass-rusher accounted for only 34 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in 2023, so a cameo role in what would likely be Graham’s last hurrah should be taken into account when assembling the roster. A 2010 first-round pick, Graham, who has 73 career sacks, proved this year that there’s still gas in his tank. He’s also a locker room pillar. As a No. 4 defensive end, Graham’s retention feels like a no-brainer.

Verdict: Stay

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.

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