We answered the first batch of your mailbag questions to kick off the weekend.
Thanks for all your great question. My apologies if I didn’t get to yours.
Let’s wrap up the mailbag today with plenty more:
It really is a shame for the Eagles that Calvin Ridley got suspended because he would have been a nice fit. And since they were going to trade for him, they weren’t going to have to compete money-wise with other teams on the open market. The problem with going big in free agency on a receiver is the price. We just saw the Chargers lock up Mike Williams on a massive $60 million contract. He would have been my top pick in free agency but that price is scary.
Still, the Eagles should be in on some of these free agent receivers. There are some good ones available, including Allen Robinson, Christian Kirk, D.J. Chark and others. Robinson might be the most expensive of the bunch because of his track record. Yes, he had a down season in 2021 but that Bears offense was a complete mess. Robinson would be an ideal complement to Devonta Smith. But someone like Chark (6-4, 200) would work because he’s had one big season and a lot of potential. Chark is still just 25 and could grow into a top role here in Philly across from Smith. He might be my personal pick.
And if the Eagles swing and miss at the top guys, they can sign a slot receiver like JuJu Smith-Schuster (they had interest last year) or bring in Sirianni’s favorite player Zach Pascal. Pascal wouldn’t be a splash move but he would at least add a veteran presence and do things exactly the way Sirianni wants.
In any case, after watching this offense in 2021, the Eagles need a veteran receiver. They might not break the bank but I’d be really surprised if they don’t sign at least one vet. And signing an experienced received does not preclude them from drafting a receiver in Day 1 or 2.
The Eagles have more pressing needs this offseason but tight end is definitely a sneaky need for them. After the Eagles traded Zach Ertz, undrafted rookie Jack Stoll played a ton and did a nice job as a blocking tight end. But he caught just four passes for 22 yards all season. Even conceding that the Eagles weren’t working to throw him the ball, that’s a pretty low number for a team that was in 12 personnel more than most NFL teams (25%) last year. The Eagles like Tyree Jackson but he tore his ACL late last season so he won’t be ready for a while.
With Goedert already on a big deal, it’s hard to imagine the Eagles spending major money on a free agent. The Patriots signed two pricey free agent tight ends last year but that’s rare. If you’re looking for one option on the free agent market, pending Colts free agent Mo Alie-Cox makes a ton of sense. The former VCU basketball player became a legitimate NFL tight end in Indianapolis under now-Eagles TEs coach Jason Michal and Alie-Cox also has familiarity with Nick Sirianni. He’s also still just 28 and learning the game.
But if the Eagles want to go to the draft, this is a pretty good class for tight ends. I doubt there will be one to go in the first round — there’s no Kyle Pitts this year — but I expect many to go in the mid rounds this season. The Eagles will have their choice of some pretty good ones from Rounds 3-6. Some of my favorite mid-round options include Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert, UCLA’s Greg Dulcich and Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar.
The Eagles have a stable of young and cheap cornerbacks: Zech McPhearson, Josiah Scott, Tay Gowan, Kary Vincent Jr. and Mac McCain. But none of them should prevent the Eagles from drafting a cornerback in the first round or in Day 1 or 2.
By the time the draft gets here, I’d bet on Sauce Gardner from Cincinnati being the top cornerback selected. For a long time, people thought it would be Derek Stingley — and maybe it will be — but some teams will be scared off by the last two years. Stingley was incredible as a freshman but there’s a gamble in selecting him after the last couple of seasons, playing a total of 10 games. He’s someone who could start to slide; if he does, the Eagles should keep an eye on him.
If you’re looking for a cornerback in the Eagles’ range at 15, 16 and 19, there are a few options. The best of the bunch might be Andrew Booth from Clemson but Washington’s Trent McDuffie has become a much more popular option recently.
You can’t punish him for the schedule. There’s no grading on a curve for an entire NFL season. If he has one great game against a pushover team, maybe you take it with a grain of salt. But if we’re talking about the body of work over a 17-game schedule, you have to take it as that.
After the 2022 season, Hurts will have just one year remaining on his rookie contract and isn’t even eligible for a contract extension until next offseason. In 2023, his base salary is still a very manageable $1.3+ million. Typically, you’re right, quarterbacks don’t want to enter a lame duck season.
All last season, I heard people tell me that the decision about Hurts would be an easy one after watching him for an entire year. Well … that didn’t happen. The Eagles find themselves in this weird middle ground. And unless Hurts really proves himself as a franchise quarterback (which is possible) in 2022, then I can’t see them forking over a mega contract to lock him in before they have to. But if he does enough to show them that he’s their guy, then they might be aggressive to get the deal done early; that’s a typical Eagles move.
It seems unlikely. Heck, there’s not even a guarantee the Eagles will make three first-round selections this year. Howie Roseman will probably be fielding calls to pick up future draft picks. But if there’s one spot where it’s kind of possible, it’s on the defensive line. I could envision a scenario where they draft a defensive tackle and a defensive end in the first round. Heck, that’s what NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah had them doing in his last mock draft. He had them taking Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo at 15 and Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt at 16. Doesn’t seem crazy to me.
For those who don’t remember, Raheem Mostert was with the Eagles back in 2015 as an undrafted free agent out of Purdue. The Eagles cut him and got him to their practice squad but then he was signed away and eventually went on to have some success with the 49ers. From 2018-2020, Mostert had 1,554 yards and averaged 5.7 yards per attempt. But now Mostert is 29 and coming off a knee cartilage injury. Early word is that he’s expected to be able to play in 2022.
First off, NBC Sports Bay Area reported that the 49ers might bring him back for 2022 to continue to play in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. And even if they don’t, he’s not the ideal complement to Miles Sanders. Mostert is a one-cut, speedy runner. So many of his yards in San Francisco came before contact. The Eagles need to try to replace Jordan Howard with someone who can gain tough yards and fill in if Sanders misses some time.
Hmm, good question. Adding Wentz definitely makes Washington better than they were with Taylor Heinicke. The now-Commanders finished with a 7-10 record last year. The Eagles went 9-8 but weren’t trying to win the last game of the regular season.
No NFC East team has repeated as division champions since the Eagles from 2001-04. So it’s been a very long time. Still, the Cowboys are the team to beat.
Right now, here’s how NBC Sports betting partner PointsBet has the division odds:
I’d still have the Eagles above the Commanders but the Wentz trade definitely closed the gap a little bit. As much as Wentz’s career has tanked in recent seasons, he’s still at least an average quarterback and Washington didn’t have that last season.
Rutgers receiver Bo Melton did grow up in South Jersey and went to Cedar Creek. Not sure if he grew up as an Eagles fan, but he has been gaining steam in the pre-draft process.
If only there was someone chronicling his journey to the NFL. Oh, wait! I am. Check it out here.
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