The team agreed to terms with running back Kenjon Barner on Tuesday. Barner had spent the last two seasons with the Eagles as their fourth running back, and was a preseason standout, particularly in the return game.
I think this is a great move by the Eagles. I don’t think Barner will contribute much as a running back, Doug Pederson had very little interest in working him into the offense last season, giving him just 27 carries (although he averaged 4.8 yards per carry), however where Barner is really going to make an impact is in the return game.
Sproles brought all kinds of explosiveness to the table as the team’s punt returner. Barner had shown similar explosiveness in that role in each of the last two preseasons, but with Sproles healthy there was never a need for the team to put him in that role over the last two years.
Now with Sproles out, Barner should immediately become the team’s primary punt returner. Torrey Smith filled in for Sproles last Sunday, but didn’t look particularly impressive in the role.
Barner also knows the offense, and can step in and contribute if needed.