We’ve officially reached wacky season in the NFL.
There were some really fun trades this past week and things are only going to get crazier once free agency kicks off early next week with the legal tampering period on Monday and the start of the league year on Wednesday.
The Eagles are in a decent salary cap situation and they can afford to make some splashes if they choose.
For this mailbag, let’s start there:
There are absolutely some big names who will hit the market that the Eagles should be willing to spend money on. Of course, free agency is a time when players get overpaid so not everyone is worth it.
If I had to look at positions to spend on, the top one for the Eagles ought to be safety. Not only is that a desperate need with Rodney McLeod and Anthony Harris set to become free agents, but this is a pretty deep group that will hit the open market in a couple days. Maybe the Eagles can’t afford someone like Marcus Williams from the Saints, but even if they can’t, there are other options. My top pick would be Justin Reid from the Texans. Reid got off to a great start in his career but has taken a step back since then. But he’s still just 25 and they could get him for around $6-8 million per season. If not him, then there are other relatively young players like Jordan Whitehead and Jayron Kearse who will be available. Also, keep an eye on Marcus Maye, who is coming off an injury but has played at high level before and has played under DBs coach Dennard Wilson. Plenty of options. It kind of feels like back in 2014 when the Eagles had their choice of a few guys and nailed it with Malcolm Jenkins.
Other than that, the two positions where they might spend money are receiver and pass rusher. Typically, those are positions that really get overpaid in free agency but they also happen to be needs for the Eagles and positions they value a ton. At receiver, Allen Robinson stands out. But if the Eagles don’t want to take that big of a swing, they can go after someone like D.J. Chark or JuJu Smith-Schuster.
And pass-rushers always get overpaid. Watch how much Derek Barnett gets paid next week. But we heard whispers of the Eagles being interested in Harold Landry before the Titans locked him up and now there’s a report of interest in Chandler Jones. Edge rusher is their top need so it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Eagles spend in free agency and double down with a first-round draft pick. Former Temple star Haason Reddick could be a name to watch.
If I had to put them in order of most to least likely, I’d go: 1. Andre Dillard, 2. Gardner Minshew, 3. Fletcher Cox. But I will say that all three are possible. The salary/salary cap implications of a Cox deal creates a pretty big hurdle.
Between Dillard and Minshew, I think Dillard has the most value. He is a starter in the NFL. Maybe he’s not a top-level starter but there are teams in the NFL desperate for offensive line help. The nice thing is that the Eagles value depth on the line so they don’t feel the need to give him away for nothing. I think the Eagles will be able to get a decent late Day 2 or early Day 3 pick for Dillard.
In this case, I think fair has different meanings to different people. Last November, CBS Sports reported that the Eagles were looking for at least a third-round pick for Cox, so I’m guessing that’s where they stand now too. His contract makes it very tricky because the Eagles would have to take on a bunch of dead money if they trade him. Because of that, they won’t let him go for cheap.
Collins has been a good player in the league, but he’s not a fit. The Eagles need rangier safeties that can cover and excel in Jonathan Gannon’s Cover 2 scheme. There will be other better fits available in free agency.
It’s very possible. I don’t have any outside names for you yet, but the Eagles have done this plenty in recent years. They have some positions to fill after this offseason. They lost both of their directors of player personnel (Brandon Brown and Ian Cunningham) this offseason. The Eagles have some depth in the front office so they’ll probably look internally for those hires. On the coaching staff, they lost Jim Bob Cooter, who had been serving as a consultant in 2021. It’s not a job they necessarily need to replace but I think they might.
It really is a stacked division. I’ll still stick with the Chiefs for now but watch out for the Chargers, especially if they are really going as all-in as the Khalil Mack trade suggests.