By Peter Gleason
Jay Ajayi helped the Eagles win the Super Bowl last month, and big boss Howie Roseman sees even bigger things in 2018:
“Jay is an explosive guy,” Roseman said at the NFL scouting combine this week. “He can run inside the tackles. He can break it outside. (Coaches) did a great job of getting him the ball in the screen game. So he’s a young guy. He’s 25 years old. He’s obviously under contract next year. So we’re really looking forward to having him the whole offseason. In training camp. And kind of getting him more involved.”
Ajayi carried 70 times for 408 yards as an Eagle, averaging 5.8 yards per carry with one touchdown. In the Super Bowl, Ajayi had 9 carries for 57 yards.
But Ajayi was part of a crowded backfield that may be less crowded if free agents LeGarrette Blount and Darren Sproles depart.
Eagles rookie Corey Clement had 100 receiving yards in the Super Bowl.
“When you look at our backfield, the coaches did an unbelievable job of utilizing everyone’s strengths,” Roseman said. “And getting everyone involved. You talk about Jay. You talk about Corey. Darren early in the year. LeGarrette, of course. To have those guys and to have them all and figure out specific roles, and keep them involved. And then the chemistry that they had as a group. When those guys scored a touchdown, those guys were all congratulating each other.”
Ajayi is under contract for next season at $1.9 million. Roseman did not expand upon Ajayi’s long-term future with the organization.
“Well I think that one thing is, it’s easier to trade with people outside of your conference, so you’re not playing against those same players all of the time,” Roseman said. “And I think you see that a lot, where teams are trading outside of their conference. ‘I don’t want to play that guy, I don’t want to see him in a big game.’ Obviously, we have a good relationship with people there, starting with owner on down, coaches, front-office staff. And then as well as, last year, we practiced with them so we had the opportunity to sit down after practices and try to figure out needs and where we could help each other.”