Miles Sanders Contract: Eagles Have a $30M Decision to Make This Offseason
The Philadelphia Eagles are one step away from the Super Bowl, and a big reason why is running back Miles Sanders. The fourth-year vet had a career year this season, rushing for 1,269 yards and making his first Pro Bowl. When the season finally ends for the Eagles, though, they’ll have some big decisions to make about the Miles Sanders contract. He is a free-agent RB this offseason, and the team will ultimately have to decide whether he is worth a deal that puts him among the 10 highest-paid backs in the league.
The Miles Sanders contract
The Eagles took Miles Sanders out of Penn State with the No. 53 pick in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. As a second-round selection, the initial Miles Sanders contract was a four-year, $5,350,175 deal with a $1,911,036 signing bonus, $2,649,226 guaranteed, and an average annual value (AAV) of $1,337,544.
In 2022, that $1.3 million AAV made him the 43rd highest-paid RB in the NFL, one spot higher than the Green Bay Packers A.J. Dillion and one spot below Baltimore Ravens RB JK Dobbins.
Sanders picked a great year to have the best season of his career. Behind the Eagles offensive line — which may be the best in the NFL — Sanders carried the ball 259 times this season, which is 79 more than his previous high. And he scored 11 rushing touchdowns, two more than his career total to that point.
As one of the NFL’s six Pro Bowl running backs this season, the Eagles runner put himself in a prime position for the next Miles Sanders contract. According to Spotrac, Sanders has a market value of $7.2 million.
A new Miles Sanders contract like that would put him on the same level as past free-agent RBs Leonard Fournette and James Conner. A $10-$12 million deal would put him with players like Joe Mixon and Aaron Jones, which is more in line with his value now that Sanders has made a Pro Bowl.
Should the Eagles re-sign the free-agent RB?
The Eagles are in a decent salary cap spot heading into 2023. The team is right at the league average of $5 million in cap room heading into next season. Giving out a Miles Sanders contract for three years and around $10 million (~$30 million guaranteed) is absolutely doable from a cap perspective.
However, the franchise has to think twice before giving out any big deals in the near future, with quarterback Jalen Hurts and wide receiver DeVonta Smith extensions on the horizon.
The real question for the Eagles will be if Kenneth Gainwell did enough this season to make the team OK with losing Sanders as a free-agent RB this offseason. The second-year back had 53 carries for 240 yards this season and four touchdowns. In his first playoff game, though, he torched the Giants for 112 yards on 12 carries.
If the Eagles should believe that Gainwell, Boston Scott, and a running back from the 2023 NFL Draft can replace Sanders. Although he had a great season, he was running behind an incredible offensive line and isn’t a special back, physically or athletically.
The truth is, the franchise can allocate money elsewhere next season and let another team give out a big Miles Sanders contract. The free-agent RB will get paid this offseason, but it shouldn’t be by the Eagles.