The Carolina Panthers have landed a playmaking running back on the open market.
Former Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders has agreed to a four-year contract with the Panthers, a league source confirmed to The Observer. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler was the first to report the agreement on Wednesday.
In Carolina, Sanders will be reunited with Panthers assistant head coach and running backs coach Deuce Staley. Sanders, who is coming off a career year with the Eagles, played his first two NFL seasons under Staley in Philadelphia. During that span, the 2019 second-round pick produced 1,685 rushing yards, 706 receiving yards, and 12 total touchdowns.
Last season, Sanders — who played college football at Penn State — was one of the top playmakers for the NFC champions. He produced a career-high 1,269 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns.
Along with his connection to Staley, Sanders also has a connection to head coach Frank Reich through Eagles head coach Nick Siriani. Sanders worked under Siriani — Reich’s first offensive coordinator in Indianapolis — for the past two seasons, so he likely understands the Panthers’ head coach’s shared play-calling philosophy.
Sanders, 25, has been a running back for the Eagles for the past four years. However, Sanders had a lighter workload during that stretch as he was used in a heavier rotation. He had a career-high 259 carries last season, which is an average workload for most Bell-cow backs. In Carolina, he will continue to be part of a rotation with Chuba Hubbard and Rahim Blackshear.
Sanders is very good in the shotgun formation, and has a knack for making defenders miss him. While he has been an inconsistent pass-catcher over the years, his work on third-down should make him an asset to anyone at quarterback this season.
With Sanders in the mix, it will be interesting to see how the Panthers handle the free agency of D’Onta Foreman, who led the team in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns last season. Foreman has yet to agree to terms with another team, and he could still be viewed as a worthwhile complement to Sanders this season.