Philadelphia Eagles: Free agency and draft targets

The World Champs enter a vital offseason. Can they maintain a strong roster and become a long-term power, or will they fade quickly?


(Photo credit: Keith Allison)

2017 was a magical season for the Philadelphia Eagles. All year long they were one of the best teams in the NFL, both offensively and defensively. Doug Pederson’s creativity and adaptability paired brilliantly with both Carson Wentz’s talents and Nick Foles’ bravery to create an almost unstoppable offense, while Jim Schwartz’s defense was deep up front and filled with talent to attack rather than react.

The roster was one of the most talented in the league thanks to some very savvy moves from general manager Howie Roseman, and he will have to make even more this year as roster is extremely close to the salary cap at the time of writing.

So where is Roseman likely to invest this offseason?

Cornerback

At $9 million over the salary cap, there are likely to be some serious cuts, nevermind making it almost impossible to re-sign Patrick Robinson, who was so crucial to their success last year.

While the Eagles will bring Ronald Darby back they will also have 2017 second-round pick Sidney Jones who missed the entire 2017 season with an Achilles tear. He saw a few snaps in the final week of the regular season, but to lean on him to not only play brilliantly but also the full year would be foolish.

given their lack of cap space, the Eagles are going to need to shop at the bottom of the market in free agency, limiting them to the likes of Bene Benwikere and Brandon Boykin, but given that they got an extremely unlikely All-Pro level of play from Robinson, they could well identify the perfect signing again.

Come draft day, the Eagles lack of day two picks means they are likely to shop their #32 selection. If they can recoup some mid-round selections then the likes of Mike Hughes or Jaire Alexander become potential picks for them.

Wide receiver

The Eagles pulled off a revolution of the wide receiver position last year by landing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith on cheap free agent deals. While Jeffery’s production earned him an extension, Smith is likely to be leaving town as he has a $5 million option with no dead money. Alongside those two, 2015 first-round pick Nelson Agholor arrived on the scene at last with 62 catches, 768 yards, and eight touchdowns.

Free agency is full of potential for adding depth to the position. Terrelle Pryor is coming off a one-year, $6 million flop in Washington and could be available on an extremely cheap deal. Cody Latimer flamed out quickly in Denver, but there is talent there to be uncovered by the right coaching.

With a strong offense and a young quarterback to throw passes, the Eagles are in a good place to convince players to take a low-ball “prove it” deal, which is what they did with Jeffery.

Depth

Philadelphia’s success was built on a remarkably deep roster in basically every position, but there is a bill for gathering so much talent, and this season it is due. Philadelphia have to make some serious cuts and they will lose a lot of talent in doing so.

The likes of Vinny Curry, Torrey Smith, Mychal Kendricks, Brent Celek are all likely to be cap casualties, meaning that Howie Roseman is going to have to find replacements for all of them either late in the draft or when other teams have made cuts and the available player pool is re-stocked.

For Eagles fans losing some rotational pieces may not be overly important, but being able to rest the stars like Brandon Graham and Malcolm Jenkins through the regular season reduces their risk of injury and keeps their legs fresh for vital moments and big third-downs. Finding the pieces that can share the load over the regular season is key in keeping the Eagles at the top of the NFL.

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Toby Durant

Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.

 

I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.

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