Eagles

Figuring out likelihood Eagles’ free agents return in 2021

Eagles

The Eagles have plenty of pending free agents and have just another few weeks of exclusive negotiating rights with them.

Free agency begins on March 17 and the legal tampering window opens on March 15.

Here’s a look at all the Eagles’ free agents as Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro try to figure out which ones will return:

Jalen Mills

Roob: Mills actually wasn’t bad last year bopping back and forth between cornerback and safety. He’s not a star, but he’s OK. The thing is, Mills was a Jim Schwartz favorite, and Schwartz is gone. Plus the Eagles don’t have a ton of money and Mills at this point in his career — only 26 but going into his sixth season - may be looking for the kind of big-money long-term deal the Eagles can’t offer. 58 percent

Dave: Mills wasn’t great in 2020 but he showed legitimate signs of improvement as he switched to safety and even showed off his versatility, playing corner in a pinch. If the Eagles get him at a decent price, then it would be worth bringing him back but they overpaid for him last year ($4 million) and they shouldn’t do that again. I’d like to see K’Von Wallace get a chance to be a starter. 45 percent

Jason Peters

Roob: He’s already damaged his legacy enough. Hopefully, J.P. understands his best days are behind him - well behind him - and hangs ‘em up. If he does play again, it won’t be here. 1/2 percent

 

Dave: The Eagles were able to use the excuse of injury to bring back Peters last year but no excuses this time: They can’t bring Peters back again. He’s an all-time great and will one day be an Eagles Hall of Famer, but it’s time. 2 percent

Nate Sudfeld

Roob: When you start a national firestorm of controversy because everybody thinks the coach was tanking the game because he put you in, that’s probably not good for your career. But Sudfeld is smart, coachable and has a big arm. He’ll get a job somewhere. 4 percent

Dave: It’s not a good look when everyone accuses the head coach of tanking when he puts you in the game. That said, I still don’t know how good Sudfeld can be, but he has some talent. The Eagles also need a veteran backup but I doubt that guy will be Sudfeld. Maybe he’ll end up in Indy with the rest of the gang. 9 percent

Nickell Robey-Coleman

Roob: What a disappointment. One of the Eagles’ biggest disappointments this year. No way he’s back. 2 percent

Dave: I had high expectations for Robey-Coleman and he didn’t deliver. He got a little better as the season went on but he was billed as one of the top nickel corners in the league and he certainly wasn’t that in 2020. The Eagles should move on. 5 percent

Vinny Curry

Roob: If Howie starts bringing back 33-year-old backup pass rushers, you know this “youth movement” is about as youthful as the last one. Vinny’s been a good Eagle for a long time. His second stint here is likely coming to an end. 11 percent

Dave: The Eagles need to get younger, which means it’s time to say goodbye to Curry. If he still wants to play, he could be a nice piece on a contender. Hope he gets that shot. 8 percent

Hassan Ridgeway

Roob: Makes sense in some ways - former Colt, productive rotation guy, doesn’t cost much. But the injuries two years in a row are a concern. Could be back but I’m guessing he’s not. 31 percent

Dave: Ridgeway has struggled to stay healthy and maybe the Eagles can’t rely on him. But when he’s on the field, he’s productive and the Eagles can bring him back for a veteran minimum. He also has familiarity with the new defense and as a cheap third DT option, he’s pretty good. 62 percent

Cre’Von LeBlanc

Roob: Nice player but injuries have limited him to just 13 games the last two years. My hunch is LeBlanc and the Eagles part ways. 26 percent

Dave: Strap is a fan favorite but he’s another guy who has struggled to stay healthy. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring LeBlanc back but they were already willing to risk losing him last year and now there’s a new coaching staff. Something tells me they move on. 32 percent

 

Richard Rodgers

Roob: Makes sense for everybody for the Eagles to re-sign Rodgers. With Zach Ertz days here numbered and no other experienced tight ends on the roster, even if the Eagles draft a TE they’re going to need someone like Rodgers, a receiving specialist. He was really good when Ertz was hurt. He’s been around forever but he’s only 29. 72 percent

Dave: Rodgers ended up having a really nice season in 2020 and if the Eagles want to bring him back, that would be OK. But Rodgers is also 29 now and my thought is that the Eagles’ new coaching staff would rather have a veteran tight end who has more familiarity with their new scheme. 41 percent

Nate Gerry

Roob: I keep forgetting he’s still on the team. He’s actually a decent special teamer, but probably best if he moves on. 36 percent

Dave: Gerry is probably the least popular Eagle from the 2020 season but I think that really falls on the coaching staff for making him a three-down linebacker when he clearly wasn’t good enough for that role. If he was just a backup and a special teamer, that would have been fine. But I think they need to let him walk. 20 percent

Duke Riley

Roob: Riley is the same deal as Gerry. Good enough special teamer, played too much at linebacker. Probably best if he moves on as well. 37 percent

Dave: I was on the fence about this one. I think the Eagles need to improve at the linebacker position but Riley wouldn’t be a bad guy to keep around. He’s a good special teamer and has been a special teams captain for a couple years. I generally think the coaching staff would prefer to have their guys in these roles but it’s close. 49 percent

Corey Clement

Roob: We’ll always have Super Bowl LII, but Clement’s days here are probably over. He was a Doug/Duce guy. I’d expect him to look for a team where he can at least have some role on offense, which he wouldn’t have here. 19 percent

Dave: The Eagles barely used Clement on offense in 2020 and while he’s a solid special teams contributor that shouldn’t be enough to keep him around. Hopefully he gets a chance to continue his career elsewhere. 9 percent

Rudy Ford

Roob: Another talented but off-injured special teamer. With a new staff he’s another one I’d expect to find a new home. 22 percent

Dave: Ford is an excellent gunner on the punt team but he’s struggled to stay healthy. That’s a shame because he’s very good but the Eagles just can’t rely on him. And he’s really been a last resort on defense. 27 percent

 

Josh Perkins

Roob: Reserve tight end who spent the year on Injured Reserve. Hard to imagine Perk finding a role with the new coaching staff either. 14 percent

Dave: Perk is coming off an IR season and is 27 now. He’s a converted receiver who has ability as a pass-catcher but doesn’t offer much as a blocker. I guess he has an outside chance but it seems unlikely. 6 percent

Cameron Johnston (RFA)

Roob: Johnston was a little shaky late in the season, but overall he’s very good. The Eagles aren’t going to tender him but I think there’s a better than average chance they’ll be able to come to an agreement on a cheaper deal that keeps Cam around. 62 percent

Dave: The Eagles aren’t likely to tender Johnston because of the price tag associated with it, so they’ll probably let him become a free agent and then try to sign him to a cheaper deal. Might they bring in some competition? Maybe. But I still think Johnston will be their punter in 2021. 84 percent

Alex Singleton (ERFA)

Roob: All the exclusive rights free agents are guys whose rights the Eagles control. Singleton is the Eagles’ best linebacker, which is damning with faint praise. But no reason not to bring him back. Not like the Eagles are going to draft any linebackers. 94 percent

Dave: As an exclusive rights free agent, Singleton will basically be back at a minimum deal if the Eagles want him back. They’d better want him back. Even if Singleton never plays as well as he did in 2020 again, he’s still worthy of a roster spot as a special teamer and rotational player. 99 percent

Boston Scott (ERFA)

Roob: I think Scott’s a pretty good No. 2 back. He didn’t play much since the No. 1 back didn’t play much. But a tough runner and capable receiver who seems to mesh well with Miles Sanders. No reason not to bring him back. 88 percent

Dave: Scott is a solid player who has really shined when Miles Sanders is out of the lineup. I do wonder about the possibility of Nick Sirianni’s wanting to bring in a back he knows better. But I still think Scott is back. 82 percent

Greg Ward (ERFA)

Roob: In our Stay or Go series, I had Ward going, so I guess I have to have him below 50 percent. Ward has made the most out of his limited size and speed, I just think the Eagles may try to find more explosion out of the slot. 49 percent

Dave: There’s a chance the Eagles might add a veteran receiver in free agency but if they don’t, that’s reason enough to keep Ward around. I know he doesn’t have a ton of experience but he has more than the other young wideouts. And he might be someone limited but Ward is at least a reliable option in the slot and is worth keeping around. 85 percent