The Philadelphia Eagles have taken a flyer on Kerryon Johnson, claiming the former second-round pick off waivers from the Detroit Lions. Philadelphia adds Johnson to a crowded backfield as the Eagles will pick up the remaining salary on his rookie deal, a cap number of $2,069,359 for 2021 (the final year of his rookie contract).
Johnson electrified the NFL as a rookie in 2018, rushing for 641 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games. He became just the 10th rookie since the AFL-NFL merger to average 5.4 yards per carry in his rookie season (minimum 100 carries). Johnson had an opportunity to become the featured back in 2019, but averaged just 3.6 yards per carry while rushing for 403 yards and three touchdowns in eight games.
A meniscus tear in his right knee altered his season in 2019, one year after a knee strain caused him to miss the final six games in his rookie campaign. Relegated to third on the Lions' depth chart, Johnson had 52 carries for 181 yards and two touchdowns in 2020 (averaging 3.5 yards per carry). He has 1,225 rushing yards and and 527 receiving yards in three seasons (4.3 yards per carry).
Where Johnson fits in the Eagles' plan at running back will be determined. Philadelphia has Miles Sanders as the No. 1 running back, but there are spots on the depth chart open for competition. Boston Scott and 2021 fifth-round pick Kenneth Gainwell will compete for playing time on the depth chart, but the Eagles also signed Jordan Howard this offseason on a non-guaranteed deal. The Eagles also have Jason Huntley, Adrian Killins Jr., and Elijah Holyfield on the 90-man roster.
Johnson should find a way to make the roster and receive snaps if he's healthy. How Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni will use him in the rotation will be one of the intriguing storylines of offseason minicamp.