Predicting new teams and contracts for Eagles' free agents

Predicting new teams and contracts for Eagles' free agents

We've spent so much time during this run-up to free agency looking at who the Eagles might add, but there's also a flip side to the equation. And that's the guys they might lose.

The Eagles have 15 unrestricted free agents, including Nigel Bradham, who is technically a street free agent, since the Eagles released him before he officially became a free agent.

Unlike most years, none of their own free agents are guys it's imperative for them to re-sign.

Six of them started at least eight games last year - Rodney McLeod, Jason Peters, Ronald Darby, Nelson Agholor, Tim Jernigan and Jalen Mills.

Jordan Howard, Kamu Grugier-Hill and Hassan Ridgeway were also starters before they got hurt, and Vinny Curry and Halapoulivaati Vaitai also got plenty of snaps.

Some guys who've definitely made big contributions to this team. But there isn't one the Eagles HAVE to re-sign as Howie Roseman tries to build a younger, faster, healthier roster.

Free agency is still scheduled to open with the legal tampering period at noon Monday, followed by the open signing period at 4 p.m. Wednesday. 

The NFL may delay free agency (see story), but when it does start, here's a look at the Eagles' free agents, where they may wind up and some wild guesses at what their next contract might look like.

Nelson Agholor: Tough one to figure. After a disastrous 2020 season will anybody really be willing to give him significant money? I doubt it. I think there’s a good chance Agholor will wind up taking an incentive-laden one-year prove-it deal with a small bonus that gives him a chance to resurrect his career and make real money next year if he has a decent season but also keeps his new team off the hook as far as future cap implications if he doesn’t pan out.
RANDOM GUESS: Ravens, 1 year, $2.2 million

Nigel Bradham: Bradham should do OK in free agency, but he’s not going to make the $8 million he was on the books for if the Eagles kept him. He’s 30, and it’s a crowded linebacker free agency market. I do think Bradham will get a deal in the $4 million per year range.
RANDOM GUESS: 49ers, 3 years, $12 million

Vinny Curry: He’s 31 but did have five sacks so he has some value. Vinny still wants to play, but I just can’t imagine anybody paying him more than $2 million on a one-year deal.
RANDOM GUESS: Lions, 1 year, $1.8 million

Ronald Darby: I know one thing, if anybody else pays him $5 million for one year they’re nuts. He played 31 of a possible 54 games the last three years and how can you pay him if you can’t count on him? And he wasn’t even very good last year when he was healthy. Note to whoever signs Darby: He’s going to get hurt. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
RANDOM GUESS: Vikings, 3 years, $10 million

Kamu Grugier-Hill: Grugier-Hill has started 16 games over the last two years, but I think the league sees him as a special teamer who can spot start, and the market for those guys is a few mill a year.
RANDOM GUESS: Patriots, 3 years, $9 million

Jordan Howard: One of the trickier ones to figure. Howard has certainly produced whenever he’s had the opportunity, and he’s only 25, but he’s coming off a serious injury, he’s had a very heavy workload and running backs just aren’t getting big free agency deals anyway. Howard has the 3rd-most rushing yards in the NFL the last four years, but he’s not getting the 3rd-most money. I could see someone giving him $4 million on a one-year deal and revisit if he produces. The more his price tag comes down, the better the chance the Eagles re-sign him for a year or two.
RANDOM GUESS: Bills, 1 year, $4 million

Tim Jernigan: Like so many of these Eagles UFAs, Jernigan has shown flashes but has a limited body of quality work that’s going to keep his value on the open market down. He’s only 27 but his career has been all over the place.
RANDOM GUESS: Chiefs, 2 years, $5.5 million

Josh McCown: My gut instinct is that he comes back to the Eagles as a No. 3 behind Carson Wentz and a Joe Flacco or Case Keenum type on a one-year minimum-deal:
RANDOM GUESS: Eagles, 1 year, $1.05 million.

Rodney McLeod: He’s not the best safety on the market, and he does turn 30 this summer, but McLeod is a quietly consistent safety who should do pretty well in free agency. I actually think he re-signs with the Eagles.
RANDOM GUESS: Eagles, 3 years, $15.5 million

Jalen Mills: Corners are going to be cleaning up in free agency, and the top guys are going to be getting deals averaging $15 million per year if not a little more. Where does Mills fit in? Not at the top but not at the bottom either.  I have a hunch NFL teams think more highly of Mills than most Eagles fans. I could see a multi-year deal worth $5 million a year.  
RANDOM GUESS: Browns, 3 years, $15 million

Jason Peters: A one-year deal makes sense for J.P.. He’s 38 but when he’s healthy he’s still a top-12 left tackle. I’d guess something in the $6 or $7 million range with incentives for games played and snaps.
RANDOM GUESS: Vikings, 1 year, $6 million.

Hassan Ridgeway: He was giving the Eagles some solid defensive tackle snaps before he got hurt. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles feel like Ridgeway can be a capable third tackle and bring him back at a reasonable number.
RANDOM GUESS: Eagles, 3 years, $6 million

Richard Rodgers: Minimum wage for a guy like Rodgers according to the new CBA proposal is $910,000 in 2020 and $1.075 million in 2021, and that’s just about what he can expect if he finds a new team. More likely he’ll start the season on the street until a team has a couple injuries and gives him a call.
RANDOM GUESS: No immediate contract.

Nate Sudfeld: There’s going to be so much movement among quarterbacks it’s anybody’s guess where Sudfeld winds up. I keep going back and forth on whether the Eagles might want him back. Would he be content making $3 million as Carson Wentz’s backup? Will the Eagles want a more experienced No. 2 considering Wentz’s injuries? I’m thinking yes.
RANDOM GUESS: Jaguars, 3 years, $7.5 million. 

Halapoulivaati Vaitai: I know there’s been speculation that Big V will be getting something in the neighborhood of $10 million a year.. I do think Big V will do well in free agency but I think something in the $7 1/2- to $8 million-dollar range is more likely. Either way Big V is going to be very wealthy.
RANDOM GUESS: Cards, 5 years, $37.5 million

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Ever Wonder: Why can’t the Eagles wear kelly green?

Ever Wonder: Why can’t the Eagles wear kelly green?

In our latest installment of Ever Wonder, we’re taking a look at one of the most puzzling questions for all Eagles fans: 

Why can’t the Eagles wear kelly green? 

It’s not for lack of effort. While the Eagles haven’t worn kelly green as their primary uniform since they switched to midnight green in the mid-90s, owner Jeff Lurie has been on a mission to bring back kelly green jerseys as an alternate. It’s a mission many Eagles fans and even players support. 

So far, no luck. 

The basic reason is an NFL rule that allows just one helmet per player for safety and quality control reasons. It’s an antiquated rule but it’s the main holdup for the Eagles. 

The Eagles’ helmets are midnight green and Lurie doesn’t want midnight green helmets and kelly green jerseys. 

“To make it look really right, you should have matching helmets,” Lurie said once said. 

The Eagles even went as far as to propose a rule change during the 2017 offseason. But they withdrew the proposal before owners could vote on it because of advice from the NFL’s competition committee. It wasn’t going to pass. 

During those owners meetings, competition committee chairman Rich McKay told me he was hopeful that the rule would eventually get changed. 

A possible workaround would be for the Eagles to use decals on their existing helmets like some other teams, but Lurie doesn’t like that idea. For him, it’s kelly green helmet or bust. 

“We want a kelly green helmet to go with the kelly green jerseys,” he said. 

So, for now, the Eagles wait. 

And they’ll have to wait at least one more year. But there’s some hope for the 2021 season. 

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Is Dallas Goedert the Eagles’ most underrated player?

Is Dallas Goedert the Eagles’ most underrated player?

The folks over at ProFootballFocus recently put together a list of the most underrated player on each of the 32 NFL rosters and the choice for the Eagles wasn’t a very surprising one. 

For the Eagles, they listed tight end Dallas Goedert, the former second-round pick who will enter Year 3 of his career in 2020. 

Here’s what PFF said about Goedert: 

When you enter the NFL in the shadow of one of the league’s best tight ends, it’s easy to be somewhat overlooked. That is the case with Goedert, who was immediately thrust into a role as TE2 despite being taken in the second round out of South Dakota State. The Eagles have run a heavy dose of two tight end sets to get both him and Zach Ertz on the field, and it’s pretty clear from those snaps that Goedert is a top-end TE in the NFL.

“Since 2018, Goedert actually ranks fifth among qualifying tight ends in overall grade, ahead of Ertz. A big reason — outside of the obvious mismatch threats he poses as a receiver — is his elite play as a blocker for the position. Goedert’s 81.4 run-blocking grade sits sandwiched between Maxx Williams and George Kittle for second at the position over that same span. He is a complete tight end who would be a high-level primary option on most rosters in the NFL.

All of that is fair. And from a national perspective, I’m sure Goedert is very underrated. I don’t think he’s as underrated in Philadelphia, where Eagles fans get to watch him every weekend. 

In his first two seasons, Goedert has 91 catches for 941 yards and nine touchdowns. He made a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2 and he’s one of the better blocking tight ends in the league. So he’s a really well-rounded tight end. 

And his numbers aren’t that far off from what Zach Ertz did in his first two NFL seasons: 

Ertz: 94 catches, 1,171 yards, 7 touchdowns

Goedert: 91 catches, 941 yards, 9 touchdowns 

Heck, Goedert has been so good that he has some fans wondering if the Eagles should move on from Ertz at some point. 

So maybe from a national perspective, Goedert is underrated. But here in Philly, I don’t think he is. 

The two players I think are underrated locally are Isaac Seumalo and Derek Barnett. Neither guy is a star but both are better players than they get for. 

Seumalo has had two horrendous games in his career and it has really tainted the perception of his play. But aside from those games, he’s been a solid player. He’s still  just 26 and has become a pretty good starting left guard. 

And Barnett hasn’t lived up to his draft status as the 14th pick but he’s been better than you think when he’s on the field. The injuries are a concern, but since Barnett was drafted in 2017 he’s third on the team in sacks (14) behind Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox and second in QB hits (49) behind just Cox. And he is still just 23!

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