Eagles

Eagles Stay or Go 2021: Some important decisions to make at DT

Eagles

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro bring back Stay or Go in 2021, trying to figure out the futures of every Eagles player on the roster.

Today, we’ll look at defensive tackles:

Javon Hargrave

Roob: It took Hargrave a while to get going, but he was decent the second half of the season, although he certainly didn’t play up to expectations based on that three-year, $39 million contract. Now Hargrave will be playing in his third scheme in three years and hopefully the transition doesn’t take as long because he’s on the books for a $15.2 million cap hit, so he’s not going anywhere just yet.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: It took a while for Hargrave to transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense in 2020, but once he did, he finished the year really strong. Remember, he had an injury in training camp too. The good news for him is that the Eagles are going to keep a 4-3 under Jonathan Gannon. Hargrave just turned 28 and is under contract in 2021. He has an expensive cap hit but the Eagles are tied to him in 2021.

Verdict: Stays

Treyvon Hester

Roob: Hester never got onto the field in his second stint with the Eagles, and he’s still best-known for getting a hand on the Cody Parkey field goal attempt at the end of the 2018 Eagles-Bears playoff game. Hester is going into his fifth NFL season now and I’m sure he’ll wind up on a practice squad or the bottom of a roster somewhere at some point, but it’s hard to envision a scenario where he wins a job in training camp.

 

Verdict: Goes

Dave: The Eagles brought back the Double Doink hero in November and signed him to a futures deal in January. But he never got a chance to play. If anything, Hester is a deep rotational defensive tackle and the new coaching staff can probably find their own guys to fill those roles.

Verdict: Goes

Fletcher Cox

Roob: If the Eagles really are heading into the extended rebuild that Jeff Lurie warned about then there will be a point where it’s fair to wonder about Cox’s future. He’s 30 and not quite the player he was a couple years ago, although he’s still very good. But we’re not there yet. Cox is one of the few sure things on this roster at this point as he goes into his 10th season with the Eagles. He’s a sure-fire future Eagles Hall of Famer and it would be nice if the Eagles can figure out a way to have him finish his career here.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: I realize Fletcher Cox has a cap hit of nearly $24 million in 2021, but I think the Eagles will be able to give him a modest extension and lower his cap hit in the coming season. I guess there’s a chance the Eagles could explore trade options for Cox — that has to be on the table — but he still has good years left and should return as the Eagles’ top defensive player in 2021.

Verdict: Stays

Malik Jackson

Roob: All in all it’s been a disappointing two years for Jackson, who missed most of 2019 with a foot injury and muddled through a mediocre 2020 season. All for just over $20 million. Jackson is 31 now, four years removed from his only Pro Bowl season and he’s really made very little impact since coming here. Once the Eagles restructured his contract in January, it seemed pretty clear his days in Philly were over.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: The Eagles already restructured Jackson’s deal reportedly with the goal in mind to release him. This is going to happen. Jackson was hurt in 2019 and after a fast start in 2020, really slowed down. The Eagles have enough money invested in Cox and Hargrave and they really can’t justify keeping a third expensive defensive tackle in a transition year.

Verdict: Goes

T.Y. McGill

Roob: McGill has bounced around the league for six years - his list of career transactions is 41 lines long. He gave the Eagles a few good snaps as a practice-squad call-up this past season, but a 28-year-old journeyman who’s been released over a dozen times in his career isn’t the direction the Eagles need to go right now as they try to rebuild this thing with youth.

 

Verdict: Goes

Dave: The Eagles kept McGill on the practice squad in 2020 but kept bringing him up for game days. In the end, he played in seven games and gave them a decent rotational player. But he’s 28 and has never really established himself in the NFL. My guess is the new coaching staff will want to move on.

Verdict: Goes

Hassan Ridgeway

Roob: Ridgeway is an interesting case. He’s played fairly well as a backup the first half of the last two years, but he’s suffered a season-ending injury in Week 8 both seasons. He’s a free agent now, but he’s only 26 and has a background with the new coaching staff — he was with Nick Sirianni and Jonathan Gannon in Indianapolis in 2018. The Eagles could use some experienced depth at DT, but Ridgeway hasn’t played more than seven games since 2017 and I don't know how you can count on him at this point.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: This is a tough one because Ridgeway has struggled to stay healthy. He has played just 14 games in two years with the Eagles and that came after a season when he played just 5 games in Indianapolis. But when he’s been on the field, he’s played well and he’s still just 26. He also has a connection to the current coaching staff from his time in Indy. I think the Eagles can sign him for a veteran minimum deal and if it doesn’t work out, no harm done.

Verdict: Stays

Raequan Williams

Roob: Williams played OK with some fairly regular late-season reps, and I’d like to see what the Michigan State product can do with a full offseason and training camp. He has a chance to be a decent rotational interior lineman. Williams is 23 and making minimum wage, and that means minimal cap hit. These are the kind of guys the Eagles need to build around.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: The UDFA from Michigan State played in six games and did some nice things. But there are probably some better options coming. The Eagles could use a draft pick on a DT or bring in another UDFA in this year’s class. Williams will have a shot in camp, but I don’t think he sticks on the active roster.

Verdict: Goes

Stay or Go: Wide receivers

Stay or Go: Cornerbacks

Stay or Go: Running backs

Stay or Go: Linebackers

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