When Eagles fans were watching their televisions back on February 4th, 2018, it felt like we were watching a star being born when we saw #30 on the field racking up long receptions and catching a key touchdown. Going into the following season, there was buzz surrounding Corey Clement and how he was going to become a key part in the Eagles offense with Jay Ajayi also in the backfield forming a 1-2 punch.
Unfortunately Clement did not have the breakout season that many were expecting, as a quad injury kept him from being 100% and then later in the season a knee injury cost him to miss the playoffs and most of the team's offseason activities. In the end his receiving numbers did jump from 2017 to 2018, but his rushing numbers were down.
Fast forward to 2019 and so far Clement has not been a positive factor for the team in any fashion (his kickoff return fumble to start the second half versus Atlanta was costly). He has played in just 3% of the offensive snaps so far in 2019, compared to 22% in 2018 and 23% in 2017.
After a big victory on Thursday against the Green Bay Packers that featured a heavy running back presence, Duce Staley was asked about his group of running backs and had a very telling comment.
When Staley says three-headed monster, he is obviously mentioning Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard as part of that trio. That third running back though has to be Darren Sproles, because Sproles has been featured in 32% of the offenses snaps this season compared to Clement's 3%.
So what does the future hold for Clement in the Eagles backfield?
Clement is in the final year of his three-year contract he signed with the Eagles when he was an undrafted free agent. He can sign with a team this offseason if he think he can go somewhere to become a feature back or at least a backup running back. However, the Eagles could try to keep him around. Howard is also a free agent at the end of this season and he will want a much bigger contract than what Clement's agent will try for. Darren Sproles is also set to retire after this season, so suddenly Clement could find himself becoming the backup running back behind Sanders in 2020 if he were to re-sign here. If Howie Roseman knows for a fact he won't be bringing Clement back in 2020, maybe he'll try to find a trade partner before the trade deadline later this month to get some sort of compensation for Clement instead of letting him leave in free agency. Jay Ajayi is still a free agent, so Roseman could do a trade and bring back Ajayi since he is familiar with the Eagles system already.
It's all way too early to tell just what Clement's future will be in Philadelphia. One thing we do know though is that if the Eagles running backs stay healthy through all of 2019, Clement will not be a major factor in the offense.