Eagles mailbag — Top priority, surprise cuts, Jeffery's shoulder

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Eagles mailbag — Top priority, surprise cuts, Jeffery's shoulder

More questions and answers today. This has been an Eagles mailbag marathon this week. 




And here's today: 

There are a few. Howie Roseman obviously has to figure out a way to get the team under the salary cap by the time the new league year starts on March 14. But there are ways to do that and he's really good at it. 

The biggest thing I think the Eagles need to figure out is how to keep Nigel Bradham. Of all their pending free agents, he's the one who is most important to bring back. I'm not sure what it will cost and the Eagles obviously don't have a ton of room to work with, but this is worth getting done, especially as Jordan Hicks returns from that Achilles tear. 

Bradham's performance in 2017 after Hicks went down was really important to the team's success. He's still 28, so he'll be able to play at a high level through another contract. But this is really his first shot (and maybe his only) to sign a big deal, so the Eagles can't expect him to offer a discount. 

I'm not listing Torrey Smith, Brent Celek or Vinny Curry here because we know those guys make a lot of money and I'm not sure how surprised anyone would really be if one or more of them is released. 

A couple surprise names might be Chris Maragos and Chance Warmack. For clarity, I think both will be on the team, but if the Eagles cut Maragos, they'd save $1.5 million and Warmack would save them a little over a million. But Maragos is still a great special teams player and Warmack is still their top backup guard. 

It'll be a little tight. Jeffery is expected to need about six months to fully recover. I wouldn't expect to see much of him in training camp or in the preseason. So the Eagles might not have Carson Wentz throw a pass to Jeffery again until — at the earliest — Week 1. That's a little troubling. But if I had to bet, I'd bet that Jeffery is ready for the opener. After all, he just played an entire season with a torn rotator cuff. 

Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

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Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

The Eagles pulled off trades and signed a few free agents after the new league year began on March 14 ... and it's shortened their Super Bowl odds. 

The Eagles' odds to win Super Bowl LIII improved from 9/1 to 17/2 between Feb. 5 and March 22, according to Bovada. Despite beating them in Super Bowl LII less than two months ago, the Eagles still trail the Patriots, who stood pat at 5/1. 

Here's the full top 10: 

1. Patriots: 5/1
2. Eagles: 17/2
3. Vikings: 9/1
4. Steelers: 12/1
5. Packers: 14/1
5. Rams: 14/1
7. Saints: 18/1
8. Falcons: 20/1
9. Texans: 22/1
9. Jaguars: 22/1
9. Raiders: 22/1

As for the rest of the teams in the NFC East, the next closest to the Eagles are the Cowboys, but their inactivity this offseason gave them longer odds, going from 18/1 to 28/1. The Giants' odds stayed at 50/1, while the Redskins' odds went from 50/1 to 66/1. 

And here's a fun prop bet: The over/under for Michael Bennett sacks in 2018 is set at 8. Last season, he had 8½ with the Seahawks. Now, he's playing on a dynamic defensive line but also figures to play less because of the Eagles' rotation.

Chris Long leaning one way with decision to return

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Chris Long leaning one way with decision to return

It seems like Chris Long is going to be back with the Eagles in 2018 — at least he’s leaning that way. 

The Eagles gave Long a significant raise for next season, increasing his base salary from $1 million non-guaranteed to $2½ million guaranteed, but Long was still reportedly thinking about walking away (see story)

After all, money probably isn’t going to be the only deciding factor for a guy who gave all of his salary away last season. 

But after less than a day of speculation, Long’s Waterboys charity had an event in St. Louis on Wednesday night and the veteran defensive end was asked about his future in the NFL. 

“For me, at my age, every year is important to make a decision and to take self-inventory,” Long said. “Is your body there, is your mind in it, do you have the passion? Because it takes a lot. For me, every year I’m one year at a time from here on out. For however long I play. Philly’s been awesome, like I said. They kind of adopted me like family, so that definitely factors into everything. The chance to repeat. 

“I’m still supposedly mulling it over, but I’m leaning on going back and playing. So yeah. I mean, I hadn’t even answered any questions about that, but there you go.”

Here’s the video, clipped by Bleeding Green Nation, to hear Long say it for himself: 

Long will turn 33 on March 28 and clearly has plenty going on outside of football, so it wouldn’t be shocking if the former first-round pick decided to walk away. But if he did, the Eagles would clearly miss him. 

During the 2017 season, Long picked up five sacks in a limited role and helped the Eagles win Super Bowl LII, a year after helping the Patriots win Super Bowl LI. If Long does indeed return to the Eagles this season, he has a chance to make it three in a row.