Eagles RB Could Be Traded or Replaced By UDFA: Analyst

Kenneth Gainwell has spent the last three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, but one analyst believes the running back could be either cut or traded before Year 4 with the team begins.

Kris Knox of Bleacher Report wrote on May 20 that trading or cutting Gainwell would be a creative yet realistic way for the team to save a little cap space. Per Over the Cap, the Eagles have just over $27 million in available cap space, which isn’t a bad number. Still, if Philly finds a young player comparable to Gainwell in training camp, the team could easily cut ties with Gainwell.

“While he has been a fine part-time contributor, the Eagles signed Saquon Barkley to be the starter and drafted Will Shipley for depth,” Knox wrote, also hinting Gainwell’s potential replacement could already be in place:

“Releasing or trading Gainwell would save $1.1 million in cap space while potentially clearing the way for undrafted rookie Kendall Milton.”

Would Philadelphia Eagles Be Willing to Cut or Trade RB Kenneth Gainwell?

It’s unlikely Gainwell would have much of a market, so an outright release seems like the likelier option of the two. Gainwell has played in 49 games for the Eagles over his three years in the NFL, starting three. He has amassed 895 yards and 11 touchdowns on 208 carries (4.4 yards per carry). A solid receiving option out of the backfield, he also hauled in 605 receiving yards and a TD.

Last season, Philly’s RBs room consisted of Gainwell, D’Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny. Swift signed a new deal with a Chicago Bears, and Penny landed in Carolina with the Panthers.

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Philly’s big offseason addition on offense this offseason was Barkley, but the team also added Shipley, who should slide into the RB2 role.

“We’re really excited about Will,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said, per the team’s official website. “Just his ability to make guys miss in space, accelerate off of that, and then also be a threat out of the backfield and also being able to – in the lineup, I think he’s very versatile in the things that he can do. Not only you can hand him the football. You can throw him the football. He can line up all over the field. It will be fun working with a player like him.”

A fifth-round pick for the Eagles in 2021, Gainwell still has value for Philadelphia, but if, as Knox noted, Milton were to emerge, Gainwell, who also had three fumbles last season, could find himself on the outside looking in.

Keep an Eye on Eagles Rookie RB Kendall Milton

If Kendall Milton is doing stuff like this in training camp, he taking someone job #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/Luv10W3zM0

— K💫 (@kellythekid6) April 28, 2024

While Shipley promises to be a significant factor in Philly’s backfield, Milton is one player to monitor when training camp hits.

NFL insider Aaron Wilson reported after the draft that Milton inked one of the heftier contracts by an UDFA this offseason at $250,000. That kind of financial commitment to an undrafted player isn’t all that common, so it’s clear Philly sees something in him.

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A two-time national champion at Georgia, Milton rushed for 790 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Bulldogs in 2023. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Milton never shies away from contact when he runs, and he never hesitates to use his size. If he can show out against older and more established vets during training camp, he has a good shot at staying on the roster.

If that happens, don’t be surprised if Gainwell winds up a cap casualty.

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