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Eagles acquire RB Jordan Howard in trade with Bears, sending late-round 2020 pick to Chicago

Howie Roseman just couldn’t resist stealing some thunder from the Philadelphia Phillies’ Opening Day.

Days after telling reporters that the Philadelphia Eagles were still considering all options at running back, the team’s personnel chief has found Doug Pederson a presumed starter at the position, with the Eagles announcing Thursday night that they have acquired Jordan Howard in a trade with the Chicago Bears.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Bears have received a 2020 sixth-round draft pick from the Eagles in exchange for Howard — a selection that could become a fifth-rounder.

Howard was fifth-round draft pick out of Indiana in 2015 for the Bears, and had long been a speculated trade chip, with team brass saying as recently as this week’s NFL owners meetings that they would listen to trade offers. Most of the speculation arose as Howard’s usage and yards-per-carry average dwindled under new coach Matt Nagy in 2018, not to mention as his pass-catching contributions — or lack thereof — were replaced by those of fellow runner Tarik Cohen. When the Bears signed former Seattle Seahawks back Mike Davis this offseason, Howard was widely viewed as being even more expendable.

Yet, for Philadelphia, Howard represents a major upgrade at a position that struggled to produce in 2018 following the departure of Super Bowl LII star LeGarrette Blount and a season-ending injury to former trade acquisition Jay Ajayi. Just 24 years old, the ex-Bears starter is only one year removed from his second straight 1,000-yard rushing campaign and two years removed from a Pro Bowl season that saw him average more than five yards per touch. He may not add much in the passing game, which is an admittedly large part of Pederson’s offense, but like Ajayi in 2017, he gives the team a high-upside, cost-effective option for early downs.

Howard joins an Eagles backfield that includes Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams. Ajayi has maintained contact with Philadelphia while testing free agency but remains unsigned.

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