By Michael McCarthy
The Eagles are 7-3 and, notwithstanding last Sunday’s beatdown by the Green Bay Packers, are tied for first place in the NFC East.
And it is an accepted article of faith that they would not be this good without Darren Sproles and Jeremy Maclin (photo above), who were not on the Birds’ roster last season.
Both players have made mighty contributions and they are also on the list of the top NFL bargains. Here’s how Grantland.com puts it:
Running Back: Darren Sproles, Eagles
Contract: Three years, $10.5 million
Sproles has been nothing short of a revelation since coming over from the Saints. The diminutive halfback already has six touchdowns on 81 touches, including a pair of kick return scores during an eventful first season in Philadelphia. He’s averaging 6.6 yards per carry for a rushing attack that’s averaging 3.6 yards per pop when Sproles isn’t touching the ball. Not bad for a guy with a cap hit of just $2 million this season. Sproles’s MVP-level impact on a per-carry basis narrowly carried him onto the team ahead of Ahmad Bradshaw (one year, $855,000).
Wide Receiver: Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
Contract: One year, $5.3 million
Let’s stick with that Chip Kelly offense and bring in Maclin, who signed a one-year deal in February after missing all of Kelly’s debut season with a torn ACL. Expected to be the team’s primary receiver with DeSean Jackson leaving town, Maclin has exceeded expectations and been one of the most productive wideouts in football; he’s eighth in the league in receiving yards and tied for second among wideouts with eight touchdowns. At just 6-feet, Maclin doesn’t have the overwhelming height Kelly prefers in his receiving weapons. But given Maclin’s productivity, it would be a shame to see him move on after this season.