EVERYONE seems to be talking about what RB LeGarrette Blount means for the Eagles Offense. Conversely, no one seems to be talking about what signing Blount means for 2nd year RB Wendell Smallwood. Sure they discuss how Smallwood may be used. How many touches per game he would, should or could see, but not what the Blount signing really means for him. Long term means for him. Well friends, allow me to enlighten you.
The Eagles went into the 2017 Draft wanting to draft a RB with second round pick. Let me repeat that. They went into the Draft with that desire. For Smallwood, the Eagles initial desire to draft a RB with a second round pick, says they didn’t feel that they have a star or even a starter in Smallwood.
The Eagles FO (Front Office) reportedly wasn’t able to move up in the 2nd round in order to get RB Dalvin Cook, so they took CB Sidney Jones instead. Since they didn’t sign a RB in Free Agency’s first round, and didn’t get their man in the Draft, the FO was left scrambling.
Realizing that they’d screwed the pooch, the FO took a hard look at the options already available on our roster. Those options were A) pay RB Ryan Mathews for 16 starts while only getting 6 to 8 out him; or B) they could release him, and go with a roster full of runts at the position. What happened next was no less than a repudiation of Wendell Smallwood himself.
Once they whiffed on Cook in the Draft, the FO didn’t trade for a promising young RB, nor did they get behind any back currently on the roster. They essentially decided that they would eat a year at the position. Yet even with that decision, Smallwood would still not be “the guy”. Not even in a throwaway year.
Instead, the FO spent as much as 2.8M on a 30-year old, one-dimensional player, just to act as a stop-gap for 16 games or so. He’s a one year role player, here to play (what even he called) “situational football”. Next year, either through the Draft or Free Agency, you can bet your sweet ass that the Eagles will prioritize getting QB Carson Wentz a RB he can grow with.
The Eagles blatant disregard for Smallwood in particular has to be jarring for his confidence, considering that the team didn’t even invest much in the guy they gave his spot to. Blount is here long enough for the team to have a full spate of options to pick from in 2018. At which point they’ll be looking past Smallwood again. I hope his agent is preparing him.
Maybe I’m wrong and Smallwood will have a huge year, be a top 5 rushing leader, and become a breakout star. Maybe the Eagles will decide they don’t need to spend an early draft pick on a RB in 2018. Maybe Donald Trump will be the best thing that ever happened to America, and maybe the Eagles and Browns will play in the Super Bowl this year. Oh wait, I don’t take hallucinogenics. Never mind.
This signing basically tweets to the world what the Eagles think of Wendell Smallwood. If he can still be an effective Kick Returner this year, then I can see him getting a deal to stay beyond his rookie contract. If not… This Philly (guy) is 75% sure that Smallwood will be packing his bags with Blount at the end of this year.