The Eagles signed Felix Jones Tuesday morning, a move that in reality is a fine depth play to bolster an offense that will run more and run often. Also, competition is needed for LeSean McCoy’s current primary backup Bryce Brown, as he still can’t yet be trusted to firmly grasp a football.
In fantasy, though, this seems like it has little relevance. And we hope it doesn’t, but being prepared for Felix Jones to matter is something you need to do. This might hurt.
We don’t fully know what Chip Kelly’s NFL offense will look like yet. It’s the great mystery of our time, and one that will slowly unravel as the offseason continues before the grand show begins in the fall. We know this, though: it will feature multiple running backs in multiple formations, with each catering to their strengths.
We know that because last week McCoy was gracious enough to share some vague information, and shortly thereafter he was surely locked in a sweatbox for an undisclosed period of time. Remember when he said this?
“We have tons of different sets with different backs. We run so much, there’s so many different fast movements from motioning out to running routes. It’s so open, trying to get guys in the open field, it’s a great offense.”
And how about this?
“When I said don’t be surprised when other guys get carries, because in this offense you need other guys to be productive because there’s so much running.”
It should take an offseason stumble by Brown for Jones to surpass him on the depth chart, and he’ll also have to fight off Chris Polk and Miguel Maysonet. But here’s another wild and crazy thought: it’s likely that little has been guaranteed to Brown.
That’s a common practice by a new head coach, and especially one who may seek to smash every NFL offensive mold ever created. It becomes even easier for Kelly to lean in that direction when despite his brilliance this past season and 372 all-purpose yards over two games between weeks 12 and 13 with four touchdowns, Brown fumbled four times over just 115 carries. Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster combined for 699 carries in 2012, and only seven fumbles.
There’s an opportunity for Jones to rise then and become both McCoy’s backup, and therefore his fantasy handcuff. That means as much as you quite rightfully want to rid your life of Felix Jones forever, you can’t…yet.