Philadelphia Eagles: The case for Charcandrick West

(Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images) /

While many would love for the Philadelphia Eagles to trade for a new lead back, free agent Charcandrick West could provide surprise supplemental value.

The Philadelphia Eagles need help at the running back position.

Now granted, this is far from a hot take, or even a unique opinion, but it’s a statement that elicits a pretty varied variety of reactions from different people depending on who you ask.

For some, the team’s persistent inability to run the ball indicates a need to trade for a big name player like Le’Veon Bell, or everyone’s favorite former Eagle LeSean McCoy, and to be fair, there’s some rationale to that line of thinking.

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Just last season, the Eagles bolstered they are running back crew with a mid-season trade and that move almost single-handedly help the team win the Super Bowl, as the insertion of Jay Ajayi provided just enough spark to get the team past a number of potentially catastrophic injuries.

Why not do the same this season?

Because it may just be too costly.

Unlike last season, there really isn’t a marquee rusher available for a mid-round pick, with the crown jewels of pre-agency the aforementioned Bell and McCoy, with the duo reportedly requiring premium compensation for their services.

For a team like the Eagles who are built the right way, giving up a long-term piece for a short-term gain is not a winning formula.

But, what if the team could add some fresh blood to their rotation without having to give up anything in return? And what if this player already has familiarity with the Eagles’ scheme?

That player just so happens to exist, and his name is Charcandrick West.

West, a 2014 UDFA out of Abilene Christian, cut his teeth as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, playing for then-offense of coordinator Doug Pederson over two seasons.

Though West’s tenure in KC was fairly up and down, he actually played fairly well for the future Super Bowl champion, finishing out the 2015 season 634 with rushing yards on attempts 160, and 214 receiving yards on 20 catches with five total touchdowns to show for his efforts.

However, West slowly lost his spot in the rotation thanks to the emergence of Seattle transplant Spencer Ware and eventually third-round phenom Kareem Hunt.

A diminutive back at a Toledo, Hunt burst onto the scene last fall and actually lead the entire league in rushing yards over his debut season.

Hunt’s emergence as a true three-down franchise-caliber back shuffled up the Chiefs running back corp, with both C.J. Spiller, and the aforementioned West looking for new jobs as a result, as their inclusion on the roster became fairly superfluous.

Three years removed from an 848 all-purpose yard campaign, a new landing spot has been hard to come by for Mr. West.

As the league continues to devalue veteran runners year after year, the very reason why Bell is in the process of holding out, West has had tryouts for a number of teams around the NFL, even signing a preseason deal with the New York Jets, only to be waived in the final cut down to 53 before the season even began.

Roughly a month-and-a-half into the season, West remains unemployed, but just because he isn’t currently on the roster, doesn’t mean he can’t still provide value to a team looking to bolster their running back corp.

Far from it in fact.

Though he may not be the fastest, strongest, or most athletic guy in the league, West is a solid runner with a little bit of that Shady shake n’ bake in his game. He obviously isn’t the type of player who can be called on to take 20 plus carries in a single game, but that’s clearly not Philly’s style anyway.

Utilizing a true running back by committee approach thus far this season, with no rusher on the team averaging more than 12 carries a game, the Eagles really don’t need to find a bell cow do-it-all back to get things back on track this season, they just need more consistently available contributors to keep the ball on the ground, as well as backs who can catch a pass or two out of the backfield.

West checks those boxes to a T.

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With only one running back on the roster, Wendell Smallwood, who’s actually appeared in all six games so far this season, Philly’s biggest vulnerability has been availability, a trend that certainly needs to change to get things back on track. Though he may not turn heads, adding a player like Charcandrick West could be just what the doctor ordered to bring so much-needed parody to the Philadelphia Eagles run-pass ratio.