Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson spoke well of running back Jamaal Charles during his news conference at the scouting combine in Indianapolis on Thursday, and said the team will look into whether he is a fit for Philly.
"I've got history with him in Kansas City for three years. I think he's a tremendous running back, and it's something that we'll evaluate now," Pederson told reporters. "We'll grade him just like we do every free agent and every person that's released and see where he could fit into our offense."
Charles, set to cost $6 million against the Chiefs' cap in 2017, was released earlier this week, ending a largely-productive nine-year run.
Pederson was Charles' offensive coordinator in Kansas City from 2013-15. Given that Pederson runs a very similar system as the one his mentor Andy Reid utilizes, there's little doubt that Charles would be a schematic fit. In his first year paired with Reid and Pederson, Charles rushed for 1,287 yards with 12 touchdowns and caught 70 passes for 693 yards and seven scores.
It's not about fit or ability with Charles, but health. He tore his right ACL in 2015 and missed the majority of this past season as well after undergoing surgery for a meniscus tear. He also tore his left ACL in 2011. Now 30 years old, he has appeared in a total of eight games over the past two seasons.
Given those injury concerns, Charles' price tag should be reasonable. The Eagles will have to figure out the market and then decide whether to make an investment in him.
One way or another, they'll be looking to add to the running back spot between now and the start of the season. Executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said that Ryan Mathews is recovering well from neck surgery. The expectation, though, is that Mathews will eventually be released. As Roseman noted Wednesday, teams are not allowed to cut injured players. That would leave second-year back Wendell Smallwood and the 33-year-old Darren Sproles as the primary holdovers from last season (Pederson confirmed that Sproles would be on the team in 2017). While both have value, there will be an effort to bolster the position via free agency, the draft or both.
Whether the Eagles try to add Charles to the mix will likely depend on health assessment and cost.