They’re going to lose a lot. We know that. The combination of players who just played on the final year of their contract, veterans on one-year deals and the impending Jalen Hurts contract have turned this into quite a challenging offseason for Howie Roseman.
The team that just went to the Super Bowl won't exist in 2023.
But one important thing to remember: The cupboard isn’t bare. Not by a longshot.
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And there’s no reason to think the Eagles won’t be able to field a competitive team – a very competitive team – in 2023.
There are a couple positions that are potentially thin depending on who Roseman is able to re-sign, but there is really a ton of talent on this roster before we even get to the draft and free agency.
Consider this: The Eagles may be losing a lot, but they have eight players who’ve made a Pro Bowl since 2020 under contract for 2023. And several others who could make that jump this year.
Here’s a look at each position’s worst-case scenario looking only at players currently under contract. There will be plenty of reinforcements on the way, but the current reality isn’t that bad.
Quarterback: Even if contract talks totally break down, which isn’t likely, the Eagles still have Hurts under contract in 2023 and could franchise him in 2024 if they have to, so the bottom line is the most important player on the team isn’t going anywhere.
Running Back: Miles Sanders may be gone, but by the postseason, for whatever reason, Kenny Gainwell sure appeared to be RB1, and whether or not you believe he can be a bellcow runner he’s certainly a talented kid who will play a major role in this offense no matter who else is here. Then the Eagles have Trey Sermon, who the 49ers liked enough to draft in the third round in 2021, and Kennedy Brooks, who had a monster career at Oklahoma. They will certainly add here, but even with just this group the Eagles have the nucleus of a talented young running back room.
Wide Receivers: At a minimum the Eagles have two returning superstars in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. Now, you can sure make a case that they should replace Quez Watkins – I think they should – and I’d expect them to draft a WR in the middle rounds. But when you can start with Brown and Smith you’re in pretty good shape.
Tight End: Dallas Goedert is under contract for three more seasons, and that’s huge. He’s a top-five tight end and you can make a case he’s a top-three tight end. Whether or not the Eagles try to upgrade their depth at tight end, they already have one of the best in the league. Goedert is one of 14 tight ends in NFL history to average 40 yards per game and 12 yards per catch. We’ll see about Jack Stoll and Grant Calcaterra – both have shown flashes – but Goedert isn’t going anywhere.
Offensive line: Here’s the worst-case scenario: Jordan Mailata at left tackle, Landon Dickerson at left guard, Cam Jurgens at center, Sua Opeta or Jack Driscoll at right guard and Lane Johnson at right tackle. The Eagles could lose a Hall of Fame center and a right guard who’s been part of two Super Bowl teams and still have the best offensive line in football.
Edge Rusher: Brandon Graham’s future remains up in the air, but at worst the Eagles have Haason Reddick, who had 16 sacks plus 3 ½ more in the postseason, and Josh Sweat, who had 11 sacks plus 1 ½ more in the postseason, and that’s a pretty good place to start. The only other team bringing back two outside rushers who had 11 sacks in 2022 is the Patriots with Josh Uche and Matt Juden.
Interior Defensive Line: Here’s the crazy thing: The Eagles could possibly lose Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh, who are all free agents, and still have a formidable 1-2 punch inside with Milton Williams and Jordan Davis. Both are 23 years old and both will have to make a big jump in snaps next year – Williams averaged 23 per game and Davis 17. But you couldn’t miss the talent both have. Williams played really well when he was on the field, and Davis showed signs that he’s going to be a beast. Pro Football Focus ranked them 27thand 29th among all interior linemen this year as part-time players, and whatever the Eagles get from Marvin Wilson, Marlon Tuipolotu or whoever else they bring in, Davis and Williams are a legit 1-2 punch.
Off-Ball Linebacker: Even with starters T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White slated for free agency, the Eagles have Nakobe Dean waiting in the wings and the Eagles are super high on him. And while there isn’t a whole lot else of note under contract, keep an eye on Christian Ellis, who the Eagles definitely want to get a long look at in training camp.
Safety: Similar to linebacker, both starters – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps - are free agents, with a second-year player ready to make the jump to starter. Reed Blankenship, undrafted last year, was terrific in four starts with Gardner-Johnson hurt, and acquitted himself very well in 291 total defensive snaps. Pencil him now as a starter at one of those two spots and then hope for the best with CJGJ. K’Von Wallace is under contract too, and he’s got seven starts under his belt.
Cornerback: Darius Slay is one of seven Eagles who made a Pro Bowl in either 2021 or 2022 who is under contract in 2023 and despite a late-season dip in productivity, he remains one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks. With James Bradberry likely gone, the next outside corner on the depth chart who’s signed is Zech McPhearson, who’s played 278 defensive reps over the last two years at outside corner and held his own. We all expect the Eagles to draft a corner, but if not you can do worse than Slay and McPhearson.