Former Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders signed the richest running-back deal in free agency this offseason, inking a four-year, $25 million deal with the Carolina Panthers. Sanders put up career-high numbers across the board in 2022, as he rushed 259 times for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns while the Eagles won the NFC, but his numbers dipped in the postseason.
After averaging 74.6 rushing yards per game in the regular season, Sanders averaged 49.3 rushing yards in the playoffs. In Super Bowl LVII against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sanders managed just 16 yards on seven carries and a fumble. He played just 35 percent of offensive snaps in the biggest game of the year.
"Last game of the season? For all of the marbles? Everybody can answer that question," Sanders said at OTAs this week when asked if he was disappointed by how he was used in the Super Bowl, via the Associated Press. "If they put themselves in my shoes, would they be happy? I don't want to make headlines, (but) if it does, I don't care."
Sanders should have plenty of opportunities to make an impact in Carolina's new offense. Head coach Frank Reich even described Sanders as a "three-down back" who "can do a little bit of everything." That includes catching the ball. Sanders caught 50 passes for 509 yards and three touchdowns in his rookie season back in 2019, but his production in that department has dipped each year.
"This is going to give me more opportunities to help my team win -- and that's all I'm about," Sanders said. "I'm a team guy and I want to do whatever I can to help our team win. Making it to the Super Bowl is pretty addicting and if I knew the formula I would do it every year."
In his introductory press conference, Reich told reporters, "It's a passing league, but you have to run the ball to be a championship team." In fact, he pointed to lack of success on the ground as a reason he was fired by the Indianapolis Colts in 2022. Sanders was an important signing for Carolina, and he's someone No. 1 overall pick quarterback Bryce Young will lean on in the offense.