Miles Sanders is on the cusp of entering the final year of his rookie contract with the Eagles.

During a press conference Wednesday, the team’s starting running back was pressed several times about his contract situation. Sanders suggested he isn’t worried about signing an extension in the immediate future.

“My mentality is a little different,” he said. “I’m taking it a little personal. Just the type of year I had, I was nowhere near satisfied with how I played or my availability. It means a lot to me, being a top guy in the running back room. I’ve got to hold a standard. I’ve got to stay healthy and produce.”

Sanders recorded a career-best 5.5 yards per rush last season despite being hampered by multiple injuries, including a sprained ankle and quadriceps and a broken hand. Sanders missed five regular-season games, and he was nullified by the Buccaneers defense in the NFC wild-card round, producing just seven rushes for 16 yards.

The fourth-year running back is still the team’s lead horse; he’s the most explosive tailback, fixed atop a depth chart that includes Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, and Jason Huntley.

“It’s all mental,” Sanders said. “I didn’t like the season I had. ... I can’t control what happens with [the injuries]. I’m doing my best to keep my body as healthy as possible.”

Today’s evolving NFL is widely viewed as a passing league, while the running game has been de-emphasized. However, the Eagles are an outlier — they led the NFL with 2,715 rushing yards, 25 rushing touchdowns, and 163 rushing first downs.

Still, Sanders failed to record a single touchdown last season, while Scott (seven) and Gainwell (six) finished first and second, respectively, in total touchdowns. Sanders also was the culprit of mental lapses. On several instances with the Eagles possessing a late lead, Sanders declined to stay inbounds during rushes intended to wind down the game clock. He was subsequently benched both times.

“All-around playing, I didn’t catch the ball as well as I should’ve, I made wrong reads sometimes,” he said. “I watch a lot of film, too, so I’m just trying to be a better player. All I really want to do is be consistent with my health and play.

“The contract [issue] is there, but I don’t go into the season thinking about it. I’ll let that take care of itself. I’ll let my [performance] take care of that, and whatever happens happens. I’m just focused on the season. ”

Exactly how much leverage does Sanders hold in regards to a possible extension?

Last year, the Eagles handed out extensions to defensive end Josh Sweat, left tackle Jordan Mailata, tight end Dallas Goedert, and cornerback Avonte Maddox. The four players who received in-season extensions were part of the team’s 2018 draft class.

Meanwhile, Sanders was selected in the second round (No. 53 pick) of the following year’s draft. Other 2019 draft picks include tackle Andre Dillard (first round, No. 22), tight end JJ Arcega-Whiteside (second round, No. 57), defensive end Shareef Miller (fourth round, No. 138), and quarterback Clayton Thorson (fifth round, No. 167). That Sanders has been the only meaningful contributor to emerge from his draft-class peers might be a positive sign for the Pittsburgh native. It’s also worth noting that general manager Howie Roseman typically favors extending players drafted under his regime.

“I’m looking forward to being called a vet,” Sanders said. “I’m not really worried about the contract, not as much as you guys think I should be. I’m not worried about that. We’re trying to put all the pieces together.”

Sanders turned 25 on May 1. For comparison, the top five running backs in earnings who signed extensions in recent years at age 25 include Alvin Kamara in 2020 (five years, $75 million), Dalvin Cook in ‘20 (five years, $63 million), Nick Chubb in ‘21 (three years, $36.6 million), Chase Edmonds in ‘22 (two years, $12.1 million), and Jamaal Williams in ‘21 (two years, $6 million).

Based on his production, Sanders figures to fit somewhere between Chubb and Edmonds.

But overall, those figures show that running backs have transformed into afterthoughts in regards to long-term valuation at the position. The larger contract extensions have recently been designated to wide receivers. This offseason alone, a handful of veteran receivers have inked lucrative deals, including Davante Adams (five years, $140 million), Tyreek Hill (four years, $120 million), A.J. Brown (four years, $100 million), and Stefon Diggs (four years, $96 million).

Thus far, Leonard Fournette has signed the largest deal among running backs in this offseason’s free agency after he inked a three-year deal worth $21 million with the Buccaneers.

Asked directly if there have been ongoing discussions with the Eagles, Sanders reiterated: “Like I said, I’m focused on the season. I’m not going to bring up any contract extensions.”

The situation is fluid, but Sanders is going to need to produce big numbers to warrant an attractive deal. More importantly, he’ll need to stay healthy.

Over three seasons, Sanders has played in 40 of 49 possible regular-season games. During that span, he has compiled 480 carries for 2,439 rushing yards (5.1 yard average) and nine touchdowns. He also has caught 104 passes for 864 yards with three receiving touchdowns.

New Eagle Haason Reddick offered his own scouting report of Sanders, whom he described as a “shifty back.”

“When I watched film on him [as an opponent], he’s a dual back,” Reddick said. “Someone who can hit the hole, go outside, he’ll make you miss, he has a good center of gravity. You’ve got to wrap up, break down and come to leverage, you have to make sure your tackling technique is proper because if not, he can make you miss and that can be a big play. Once he beats the first defender, he always has a chance to make it a big play.”