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Eagles HC Nick Sirianni on signing RB Saquon Barkley: 'He's going to bring an element to our offense'

The Eagles' backfield is set to welcome a former NFC East rival in 2024.

Philadelphia added former Giants running back Saquon Barkley, a two-time Pro Bowler, in one of the biggest free-agent signings this offseason. Speaking with NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero at the Annual League Meeting on Sunday, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni noted how excited he is about the addition.

"I'm really excited about Saquon and the things that he can do," Sirianni said. "You know he's such a dynamic football player. Both as a running back and also the things he can do as a pass catcher. He's going to bring an element to our offense and to our team. As much as we see him, all the highlights that we see on the tape -- from my understanding and all of our homework he's a good leader and teammate, as well. To be able to add that into our locker room, and not only the playmaking ability, but the person, is really important.

"How many times have I watched him on the opposite sideline and playing him two times this last year, three times the year before and two times the year before? It's like, 'Man, we don't have to play against that guy anymore, great.' And he's on our team, even more perfect. That's exciting because we have seen him up close and personal, we just know how good of a football player he is."

The Eagles committed to Barkley by signing him to a three-year, $37.75 million deal. Sirianni believes the 27-year-old running back could add a different dimension to Philadelphia's offense, which already ranked eighth in total yards in 2023. With running back D’Andre Swift leaving in free agency, Barkley returns to his Pennsylvania roots, where he played collegiately at Penn State.

Although the signing of Barkley was a major splash, the Eagles will be missing key veterans Jason Kelce and Fletcher Cox, both of whom retired this offseason.

Sirianni understands that it will be challenging to replace them, but he is optimistic that players like Cam Jurgens, Jordan Davis or someone else -- via later stages of free agency or April's draft can step up and fill the voids.

"Obviously, we'll miss their contributions on the field, but even more importantly their leadership," he said of Kelce and Cox. "They are unbelievable leaders, unbelievable all-time Eagles, unbelievable people and unbelievable players. You know what, those guys did such a good job leading that I don't want to say, 'Hey, it's Cam,' because he'll be the guy that will step into Jason's role. Or Jordan Davis, it can be anybody that steps into that role because they watched the greatness of those guys lead day in and day out. ... I know we have a lot of good candidates on our team that are going to be able to step up and fill that void."

Philadelphia and Sirianni will gain a better idea of who will fill the roles of Kelce and Cox after as the months progress. Fortunately they'll be figuring it out with the benefit of having a former star rival on their side.

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