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Top stats to know: NFL Free Agency (Day 3)

What were the top statistical storylines from Day 3 of NFL Free Agency?

McCoy gets a running (and receiving) mate

The Philadelphia Eagles acquired running back Darren Sproles in a trade with the Saints. Sproles had only 53 rushes last season, but his impact as a receiver could make an offense that already scored the fourth-most points last season even more potent in 2014.

Miguel Cabrera

SprolesSproles has the most receiving yards and touchdown catches of any running back over the last nine seasons.

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles averaged 8.6 yards per attempt when targeting running backs last season, the best average in the NFL.

LeSean McCoy will still do the bulk of the rushing for the Eagles, but Sproles can give him a break when needed. McCoy’s 366 touches last season were most in the NFL.

Will Chip Kelly let the two play at the same time?

Last season Kelly paired McCoy and another halfback (Bryce Brown or Chris Polk) together only seven times. The Eagles gained 79 yards on those plays.

However, Sproles has 89 receptions when lining up outside of the backfield the past three seasons, more than double the running back who ranked second (Marcel Reese, 44).

Potentially big loss for Patriots

The New England Patriots added cornerback Darrelle Revis to their defense, but defensive lineman Vince Wilfork requested a trade.

Wilfork missed most of the 2013 season, and his absence hurt the Patriots run defense. Over the last two seasons, when Wilfork was on the field, opponents averaged 3.7 yards per rush. With Wilfork off the field, opponents averaged a yard more, 4.7 yards per rush.

If the Patriots grant Wilfork’s request, his loss could offset the potential improvement to the pass defense.

The Patriots have allowed the most passing yards per game (268.1) and rank 24th in opponents’ Total QBR (57.2) over the last three seasons.

Revis will be needed. The Patriots have several prominent receivers among their opponents in 2014, including Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Demaryius Thomas.

Panthers running out of wide receivers

The Carolina Panthers officially released Steve Smith, Ted Ginn signed with the Cardinals and Domenik Hixon signed with the Bears. Brandon LaFell remains a free agent.

That leaves Marvin McNutt as the only Panthers wide receiver currently under contract that Cam Newton targeted last season. Newton targeted him once (an incomplete pass).

Smith was not only Newton’s favorite target, he was every Panthers quarterback’s favorite target. Smith has 140 more receptions and 2,942 more yards than the next highest Panthers receiver in franchise history.