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Miles Sanders Becomes Lead Back in Carolina

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Fresh off the best season of his career and about to turn 26, now ex-Eagles running back Miles Sanders reportedly agreed to terms with the Carolina Panthers Wednesday to become their new starting running back.

Sanders, the Eagles’ second-round pick in 2019, put up 1,269 rushing yards in 2022 after never topping 867 in a season before, and his 11 rushing scores last year were 2 more than he had in his career before 2022 and a big improvement on the 0 he put up in 2021. While his rushing production spiked in 2022, his receiving work all but disappeared, as he had career lows with 26 targets, 20 receptions and 78 receiving yards last year.

Now he joins a Panthers team that has question marks at every skill position but does have a good offensive line. The Panthers made productive backs out of D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard after the Christian McCaffrey trade last year, and with Foreman heading into free agency, Sanders should take over the lead back role that saw Foreman rush for 914 yards last year.

Ultimately, Sanders’ upside in Carolina will be in part determined by the weapons surrounding him — Carolina has the first overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, but they dealt away lead WR DJ Moore to get it, meaning the skill positions are pretty barren other than Sanders and fellow free agent signee Hayden Hurst. If the team nails its quarterback pick and adds some receivers, the offense could get potent in a hurry, but then that’s always true, and it’s far from a sure thing. There’s a chance Sanders is the only real threat in this offense in 2023, and if that’s the case, his upside will be frustratingly low for fantasy managers.

Sanders’ departure from Philadelphia appeared sealed when the team signed Rashaad Penny and re-signed Boston Scott Tuesday, leaving the Eagles with a backfield of Penny, Scott and Kenneth Gainwell

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