Eagles mailbag

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 mailbag — Thinking about trades and 1st-round LBs

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Eagles mailbag — Thinking about trades and 1st-round LBs

So many questions. 

We got to the first bunch Monday and the second on Tuesday

I understand the thought process here. Suddenly, the Eagles have a stable of young cornerbacks and can maybe flip one for a pick. But it's a good thing to have depth like this and there are still some questions. While I really think Sidney Jones is going to be the real deal, it's too early to tell and we didn't get enough of a look at him late in the year after he came back from his Achilles surgery. It'll be interesting to see him in OTAs and training camp. 

The other part of this is Patrick Robinson's impending free agency. If he leaves, the Eagles will have to basically start three of those four players, leaving just one on the bench. And, remember, Ronald Darby is entering a contract year, so the Eagles will probably try to extend him. Until that's done, the future isn't clear.

For a long time, I thought Darby and Jones outside with Mills inside made sense. But I don't know how the Eagles can possibly take Mills off the field. Maybe Mills could play outside in base and move inside in nickel. Or maybe Jones could play inside. If I'm the Eagles, I don't turn a strength back into a possible weakness again. 

The Eagles would probably love to trade Vinny Curry, but like you said, I'm not sure there's much value. And it's not because Curry isn't a good player. In fact, I think he's coming off the best season of his career. I'm just not sure what team would be willing to take on his hefty contract. If there was a team out there, they won't give up much, especially with the knowledge the Eagles will likely cut Curry if they can't trade him. 

I'll be honest. One of the downsides of the Eagles' run to the Super Bowl is I'm now way behind on draft prep; I'm watching a ton as I try to catch up. But I had already watched plenty of Evans in passing (and I liked what I saw) so I turned my attention to Vander Esch. 

I heard NFL Network's Mike Mayock say how impressive Esch was in the Las Vegas Bowl, so I watched that game. Mayock was right. The thing that impressed me the most was the linebacker's athleticism. Watching him break to the ball and even drop in coverage stood out. We know the Eagles have had trouble in the past covering backs out of the backfield, but this kid seems to have that type of ability. I'm now really interested to see what kind of numbers he puts up at the combine. 

There seems to be a decent chance that neither player will be on the board when the Eagles are on the clock at 32. I think Evans will definitely be gone and Esch might be a quick riser. 

Oh, yeah, let me actually answer the question. Right now, I'd probably go with Evans. I think he's more of a sure thing and might be able to start right away. 


Eagles mailbag — Who are 5 best players from Super Bowl team?

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Eagles mailbag — Who are 5 best players from Super Bowl team?

We got to the first few of your questions on Monday (see story), but there are still plenty more to go. 

Let's not waste anymore time: 

The Eagles could certainly stand to pick up an offensive lineman or two during this year's draft, but they're in a great position this year. They have most of their starters coming back this season. And coming off a Super Bowl title, they are in a position in which they really can draft best player available. That's obviously something most teams say every year, but coming off a championship, it's a lot easier to do. Now, they're obviously not going to draft a quarterback and it would be a little surprising if they went with a corner. But there are a bunch of positions they can go after — O-line, defensive tackle, linebacker, receiver. There are a lot of ways they can go. 

This isn't easy to narrow it down to just five, but here's what I came up with: Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins and Zach Ertz. 

I had to include both quarterbacks. Wentz was on his way to being the NFL MVP and then Foles went on to win Super Bowl MVP. They don't hoist the Lombardi Trophy without both of them. From there it got a little tougher. I still think Cox is the best non-QB on the team and he raised his level in the playoffs. Jenkins is overlooked way too much. He's so important to the team. I gave Ertz the nod over Alshon Jeffery because Ertz was more consistent and he did score the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. He's also higher on the list of the best tight ends in the league than Jeffery is on the list of best receivers. 

The biggest omissions were Brandon Graham, Jeffery and the offensive linemen. It's hard to pick one of the guys on the line, but you could make an argument for any of the three guys on the right side. 

I actually agree that DL, specifically DT, is an underrated need for the Eagles, especially if Beau Allen leaves in free agency and if Vinny Curry doesn't come back. The problem with signing guys in free agency is that overpaying is the norm and the Eagles already have a ton of money invested in their defensive line. Including Curry, the Eagles have $47.2 million tied up in cap space with just their top six defensive linemen. It's hard to see adding to that number. 

I think they ought to try really hard to bring him back. What Nigel Bradham did last season was huge for the Eagles and it's getting overlooked too much. His filling in as the defensive signal caller once Jordan Hicks went down was huge. He's also super comfortable in Jim Schwartz's system. Bradham is coming off his best season as a pro, so he might be in demand, but I agree that the Eagles really need to bring him back.