Eagles

Eagles Mailbag: Free agents to-be; 5 players they can't lose

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Eagles Mailbag: Free agents to-be; 5 players they can't lose

It's hard to believe we're already through a quarter of the 2017 season. Time is flying. 

And thanks to the Thursday night game in Carolina next week, the Eagles will be through six games by this time next week. 

Let's hop into your questions: 

https://twitter.com/EBHszn/status/916322377759412224

Yeah, it's a little early for this. But so far, it looks like the Eagles will be interested in signing both of these players long term. Sure, Alshon Jeffery's numbers haven't been great but he's gone against some great corners and he hasn't really clicked with Carson Wentz just yet. The Eagles tried to downplay the issue of their chemistry all summer, but now it looks like there was something to that. Jeffery still has the skills to be a top receiver in this league. 

Meanwhile, Jernigan is playing so well, he might price himself right out of Philadelphia. If he continues to have a big season, the Eagles are going to have a tough decision to make because he might demand some big money on the free agent market. He has proven he can play in a passive 3-4 system as well as an aggressive 4-3 like Jim Schwartz runs. 

If either of these two guys walk after the season, the Eagles will need to replace them. Beau Allen is also set to become a free agent, so the Eagles will definitely need help at defensive tackle. That's tricky, though, because their other defensive tackle, Fletcher Cox, will have a $17.9 million cap hit in 2018. 

With LeGarrette Blount on a one-year deal, the Eagles might need to bring in another running back. Another key free agent will be linebacker Nigel Bradham. He played very well in 2016 but is off to a rough start this season. 

"Why do we fall, Bruce?" 

I get why some fans want to forget about last season and move on, but it's important for the Eagles to learn from their mistakes. This week, there has been a lot of talk from last year and it's not hard to figure out why. For the second straight season, the Eagles started with a 3-1 record. This is about the time of the year where things went downhill in a hurry in 2016. The Eagles obviously need to avoid that type of free fall this year. 

This time around, it looks like they'll have Lane Johnson for the entire season. That makes a big difference. Don't overlook the fact that since the start of the 2016 season, the Eagles are 8-2 with him and 2-8 without him. 

Well, Cox is already out right now, so that's why I'm leaving him off the list. But the five aside from him: Wentz, Jason Peters, Zach Ertz, Jordan Hicks, Malcolm Jenkins. 

It was tough leaving Brandon Graham off this list. He was the toughest omission because he starts so much of their pass rush, but the team can replace him with a first-round pick. That wouldn't be awful. 

Wentz is the obvious one. Nick Foles is a good backup quarterback but the Eagles can't lose Wentz. Peters is defying everything we know about age. He continues to play at a high level. If they lost Peters, Lane Johnson could fill in but then Big V would be at right tackle. Ertz is the best tight end in football right now and everything on offense has been running through him. Hicks is a very good middle linebacker and is responsible for the calls on defense. And Jenkins never gets enough credit. He's a leader on the back end. He's a great safety and can even come down and play in the slot. Those are my five. 

Yeah, that's the way it works. When a team is forced to forfeit their pick, it just goes right to the next one. I guess that is unfair to potential draft picks but there's always fluctuation in the number of draft picks because of the compensatory selections. 

Undrafted players and late-round draft picks don't really get paid much differently. The real difference is the amount of guaranteed money, which isn't a little thing. But undrafted free agents have the ability to choose their destination. So if two teams want to sign them, they can pick the better fit. They'd obviously rather hear their name called, but it's not the end of the world if they don't. 

Yeah, Graham didn't have his best game against the Chargers. But he wasn't bad either. I think we've all just become used to him constantly getting pressure. He'll have a real chance to get something going this weekend. The Cardinals' right tackle, Jared Veldheer, has struggled and Carson Palmer has been sacked an NFL-high 17 times (see 5 matchups to watch)

A backup again? Life after Super Bowl has Nick Foles more than happy

A backup again? Life after Super Bowl has Nick Foles more than happy

The question to Nick Foles was how long did it take to fully understand exactly what he had accomplished.

For the reality to really hit him.

“Still working on it,” he said. “You know, I don’t know if it’ll ever really set in. I don’t know if it’s ever really meant to.”

Foles, who replaced an injured Carson Wentz in December and then led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl championship with a record-setting postseason performance, met with the Philly media Tuesday for the first time since the Wednesday after the Super Bowl and spoke about what the last few months has meant to him.

“To be part of and to do it in the city of Philadelphia with the guys I did it with after everything that had gone on, it’s something that’s very humbling and very special,” he said. “I feel undeserving to be a part of it.

“There’s times where I wake up and I’ll walk in [the next room] and see the banner and I’m like, ‘Wow, did that really happen?'"

Foles completed an NFL postseason-record 73 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and one interception that plopped right out of Alshon Jeffery’s hands during playoff wins over the Falcons, Vikings and Patriots.

At some point, he’ll go back to backing up Wentz and next year he’ll likely be starting somewhere else. But he said Tuesday he’s not thinking about the future right now. He’s just grateful to be an Eagle.

“I look in my locker and I see the Eagles colors in my locker and part of me is like, ‘I’m a part of the Philadelphia Eagles,’ because once I wasn’t here,” he said. “So I’m still adjusting to all that.

“It’s really special for the city and it was really special for me to be a part of it. It’s really special for everyone in that locker room. It will be forever.

“I’ve run into so many people across the country — because I live in California in the offseason, that’s where my wife’s from, that’s probably where we’ll raise our kids — and still there’s Eagles fans everywhere.

“Grown men coming up to me at dinner when I’m with my father, pretty macho guys, that all of a sudden break down crying and you see the emotion and the heart of it.

“They’ve waited their whole life, their father waited his whole life, their grandmother, and I know when we won the game all of us in this locker room realized this, and that’s why it was so special, because we did it in such a unique, special city.

“That’s why like when everyone wants to talk about, ‘Hey, do you want to go start [somewhere else]?’ Yeah, I have aspirations to lead a team.

“Do I wish I could play my whole career here? Absolutely. But I know the situation and I am grateful to be in this locker room at this moment to be here because I genuinely do love the city.”

Brandon Brooks restructuring deal for Nick Foles a 'no-brainer'

Brandon Brooks restructuring deal for Nick Foles a 'no-brainer'

A few days ago, the Eagles and Nick Foles agreed to rework his contract.

The restructured deal included a $2 million signing bonus and incentives based on whether Foles starts and reaches certain goals, plus a mutual option for 2019 (see story). Monday, it became clearer how the Eagles were able to get Foles more money up front when Pro Bowl offensive guard Brandon Brooks tweeted this:


Brooks restructured his current deal last Friday to help out his quarterback (see story)

NBC Sports Philadelphia had Brooks and RT Lane Johnson on Quick Slants Monday. Brooks had this to say about the restructure and his tweet:

Whenever it comes to a restructure, I just wanted to throw it out there — one, to clarify as far as exactly what happened and then two, probably the most important thing is look at what Nick did. I literally did whatever it took to get him extra money. I mean, everything he’s done for us as a team, for us as a city. The Super Bowl MVP. You know, going out there, launching that thing every week. The leader he is. The high character guy he is. And when they approached me about it, it was kind of like, 'Nah,' but then after understanding it was for Nick Foles, then I said, 'Without question, let’s go ahead and get it done.' He deserves it, he brought the first championship to the city, so it was a no-brainer, without question for me.

Brooks' close friend and linemate Johnson added:

The man was thrown into the fire and came out on top. I mean, he was really thrown into a tough situation and only had two weeks the last part of the season to kind of get in a rhythm, and you know how those games went. The guy went out there and delivered. I’m just so proud of him. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy. We’re all happy for him.

As it gets closer to the 2018 NFL draft, the rumors continue to swirl that Foles could be traded. If it happens, a number of his teammates have told me Foles deserves his own team.

Will Foles be in Eagles green come September? Only time will tell, but whether he’s here or elsewhere, Foles will always have the respect and admiration from a group of guys who completed a magical season.