Already in this whirlwind free agency period the Eagles have added a number of big names. They’ve also been making a habit lately of bringing in reclamation projects looking for fresh starts. Now there’s a player out there that not only fits both those categories but would also fill a big need.
Former Giants running back Tiki Barber.
In LeSean McCoy, the Eagles have a dynamic running back who perfectly fits their system, plays tough (even through cracked ribs), and more importantly knows how to get in the heads of the whiners from Barber’s former team. What the Eagles don’t have is a capable second option.
Why not sign Tiki?
Yes, Barber has been out of the league for four years and is coming back now only after a failed media turn. And at 36 years-old, it’s very possible his legs don’t have it anymore. Then again, those legs weren’t getting much wear and tear so it’s not a stretch to think he just might have a little left in the tank.
Despite having an ego roughly the size of Manhattan, Barber seems to know where he stands.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, I’m not saying I’m coming in and being an every-down guy or going to rush for 1,800 yards again, but I know I can play this game and be a contributor,” Barber told the New York Post back in May. “I’m not trying to be who I was.”
In each of his final three seasons before calling it quits, Barber put up over 2,000 combined rushing and receiving yards, including 1,800 yards on the ground alone in 2005. He was truly a difference maker out of the backfield, able to run for tough yardage and also to catch passes for big plays — just like a prototype Andy Reid-style running back. Not to mention he corrected the fumbling problem that had plagued him earlier in his career. He really was the complete package, minus the personality.
If Barber can play anywhere close to his former level he would be a fanatastic complement to LeSean and a major upgrade over what the Eagles currently have. And that’s not much.
With Jerome Harrison a free agent and unlikely to return, the options currently behind McCoy are downright scary. The horror starts with Eldra Buckley, who probably couldn’t make a UFL team. Then there is fifth-round rookie Dion Lewis, who has good athleticism and potential but is certainly not someone who should be seeing the field much right now. In addition they have seventh-round rookie Stanly Havili, who is too small to play fullback and not nearly good enough to play running back and who likely won’t make it past first cuts. Speaking of not making cuts, the Eagles also have undrafted rookies Graig Cooper and Derrick Locke (they also had undrafted free agent Noel Devine for a few days but he quit).
If it wasn’t for McCoy the position would look more thin than an anorexic on a diet. Actually, it would look like the linebacker group, but that’s another argument.
So why not take a chance on the former Giant? As noted during his appearance on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Tiki is on a self-stated “mission of ****ing redemption,” so hopefully he can translate that chip on his shoulder into some quality production.
There could be other options on the free agent market, like a Ronnie Brown or Jason Snelling, but any who are decent won’t come cheap. If Tiki’s willing to take a team-friendly, likely veteran-minimum contract it really seems like a no-brainer, even if the Eagles have to work in some decent incentives to give Tiki’s agent something to brag about.
If anything, maybe Tiki and LeSean together can come up with some new ways to make Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck cry their fat baby tears.
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