The Philadelphia Eagles assured Jordan Howard he isn't going anywhere. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson in a swap for Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, having a conversion with Howard about his future with the team.
"We feel great about Jordan, which is why we brought him here," Pederson said Friday. "And we actually went to Jordan when the report came out, went right to him and said 'Listen, you're here. The report's false. It's not coming from us.'
"Just wanted to reassure him that this is the reason why you're here. To help us win games."
According to The MMQB's Albert Breer, the Eagles were the only team to propose a deal for Gordon over the past week, offering former Jordan Howard and a swap of mid-round draft picks. Trade talks between the Eagles and Chargers were "more conceptual" than serious on Philly's end, per Breer, and L.A. "obviously said no."
The Eagles revamped the running back position this offseason, with Howard and Miles Sanders as the centerpieces of the overhaul. Howard finished the 2018 season with 935 yards on 250 carries and averaged a career-low 3.7 yards per carry. Prior to his 100-yard performance against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 14, Howard was averaging just 3.4 yards per carry through the first 12 games of the season, but averaged 4.5 yards per carry in the final four games of the year.
Howard is one of only three NFL running backs with over 3,000 rushing yards (3,370) since 2016, joining Ezekiel Elliott (4,048) and Todd Gurley (3,441). Howard and Gurley are the only NFL running backs with nine-plus rushing touchdowns in each of the last two seasons.
Howard is the No. 1 running back on the depth chart, but the Eagles will continue to use a running back-by-committee approach with him, Sanders, Corey Clement, and Darren Sproles. Pederson indicated Sanders is in line for more reps during training camp .
"I think he's done a great job for us so far," Pederson said. "The biggest thing, obviously concern coming into camp was the health issue with coming out of the spring being injured a little bit. I think he's checked that box.
"Obviously, he'll have a role for us and it's good to have at least those two guys back there that are different runners, but at the same time give us that running game that was missed a year ago."
With Howard expected to be a free agent after 2019, the Eagles eventually will turn the ball over to Sanders as the No. 1 running back. For the start of the season, Howard is the No. 1 ball carrier in Philadelphia.