Eagles

Figuring out which free agents Eagles will keep

Figuring out which free agents Eagles will keep

It’s never too early to start thinking about what the Eagles’ 2020 roster might look like.

The Eagles have 18 projected unrestricted free agents. Some the Eagles would love to have back. Some have very little shot. We aren’t including late-season additions Shelton Gibson and Richard Rodgers here, but they are technically UFAs. Corey Clement is a restricted free agent.

The legal tampering window starts March 16, and players are free to start signing two days later.

Let’s take a look at the Eagles’ unrestricted free agents. These are essentially players who’ve spent at least four years on an NFL roster.

Nelson Agholor

Age: 26
Eagle Since: 2015
2019 Base Salary: $9.387 million
Current Contract: 1 year, $9.387 million
What’s Next: Nobody is in more need of a new home than the Eagles’ 2015 first-round pick. The Eagles need to revamp the entire wide receiver position next year and Agholor won’t be a part of that. Somebody will look at what he did in 2017 and 2018 and pay him a few million per year. It won’t be the Eagles.

Nigel Bradham

Age: 30
Eagle Since: 2016
2019 Base Salary: $930,000
Current Contract: 5 years, $40 million
What’s Next: Bradham isn’t technically a free agent, but the Eagles hold a club option so they can get out from under his $8 million base salary for 2020. Bradham is a solid player, and the Eagles would like to have him back but not at anywhere close to $8 million. If he wants to come back, he’ll have to agree to a dramatic pay cut.

Vinny Curry

Age: 31
Eagle Since: 2019
2019 Base Salary: $1 million
Current Contract: 1 year, $2.25 million
What’s Next: A month ago, I would have said there’s no chance Vinny will be back, but he played well down the stretch and finished with 5.0 sacks. He likes it here, he’s not looking for big money, and he wants to keep playing. No reason not to bring him back as a depth guy if you can get him cheap.

Ronald Darby

Age: 25
Eagle Since: 2017
2019 Base Salary: $1 million
Current Contract: 1 year, $6.5 million 
What’s Next: The Eagles seem to like Darby more than they should. He’s always hurt, and when he’s been healthy over the last couple years he’s struggled. They do have a blind spot with him, but you would think they’ve learned their lesson and won’t bring him back again.

Kamu Grugier-Hill

Age: 25
Eagle Since: 2016
2019 Base Salary: $720,000
Current Contract: 4 years, $2.34 million (signed with Patriots)
What’s Next: Injuries limited Kamu to just 10 games, and he didn’t make a huge impact. If Grugier-Hill is willing to come back at a near-minimum deal as a special teamer and depth linebacker, you may as well bring him back. That’s the role he’s best suited for. If he wants to start or wants starter money? Time to move on.

Jordan Howard

Age: 25 
Eagle Since: 2019
2019 Base Salary: $2.025 million
Current Contract: 4 years, $2.58 million (signed with Bears)
What’s Next: Howard seems to like it here, but what would his role be on an offense with Miles Sanders and Boston Scott? He’s used to getting 15-17 carries a game and that won’t happen here. Even with the time he missed this year, he’s 3rd in the NFL in rushing yards over the last four years. Really good player. But why would the Eagles pay him big-time RB money when he’d be only a role player? They have too many other needs. And why would he come back here knowing he’d have a smaller role than somewhere else? I just don’t see him being back.

Timmy Jernigan

Age: 27
Eagle Since: 2017
2019 Base Salary: $1 million
Current Contract: 1 year, $2 million
What’s Next: Jernigan finally played at a high level the last month of the season, but his value will be limited on the open market because of his frequent injuries and the fact that he’s essentially a 25-snap type of guy. If he’ll agree to another bargain deal, sure. But with Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson projected as DT1 and DT2, there’s no reason to overpay.

Josh McCown

Age: 40
Eagle Since: 2019
2019 Base Salary:
Current Contract: 1 year, $2 million
What’s Next: After listening to McCown talk after the Seahawks game about the sacrifices his family has made during his 18-year career, I can’t imagine he wants to continue playing. And with all due respect to McCown, who’s a total pro, probably shouldn’t be counting on a 41-year-old backup QB in 2020.

Rodney McLeod

Age: 29
Eagle Since: 2016
2019 Base Salary: $1.5 million
Current Contract: 5 years, $31.25 million 
What’s Next: This is a tricky one. McLeod has been solid in his four seasons playing opposite Malcolm Jenkins, but he’s at the age where he’s going to be looking for that last long-term contract, and the Eagles could elect to go younger and cheaper. I’m guessing McLeod will be elsewhere in 2020.

Jalen Mills

Age: 26
Eagle Since: 2016
2019 Base Salary: $2.02 million
Current Contract: 4 years, $3.730401 million
What’s Next: I expect Mills to be back. He’s not the fastest or flashiest corner out there but he’s smart and tough, and the Eagles are 26-12 when he starts. The Eagles have a lot of questions at cornerback, but I’d guess Mills is back in some role.

Jason Peters

Age: 37
Eagle Since: 2009
2019 Base Salary: $3.5 million 
Current Contract: 1 year, $6 million
What’s Next: It’s tough moving on from a Hall of Famer and an all-time great Eagle, but that’s where this seems to be headed. Peters wants to keep playing, but Andre Dillard has shown he can handle left tackle, and the Eagles need to get younger (and cheaper). Maybe they keep him around to play left guard, but I doubt it. If Peters wants to play an 18th season, it will likely be somewhere else.

Hassan Ridgeway

Age: 25 
Eagle Since: 2019
2019 Base Salary: $720,000
Current Contract: 4 years, $2.9 million (signed with Colts)
What’s Next: Ridgeway was playing well before he got hurt, and a defensive tackle rotation with Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson and Ridgeway — if the Eagles can get all three healthy at the same time — is a formidable one. Ridgeway won’t break the bank and for a couple million bucks a year he provides good value.

Nate Sudfeld

Age: 26
Eagle Since: 2017
2019 Base Salary: $3.095 million
Current Contract: 1 year, $3.095 million
What’s Next: The Eagles say they’re still high on Sudfeld, and they liked him enough to tag him at $3 million. But the fact that they never moved him back ahead of McCown, even after he was healthy, says that might not be the case. Sudfeld may want to go somewhere where he at least has a chance to compete. But with McCown expected to retire, who’s the backup? Kyle Lauletta possibly. My gut feeling is Sudfeld is back.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Age: 26
Eagle Since: 2016
2019 Base Salary: $2.025 million
Current Contract: 4 years, $2.565124 million
What’s Next: The Eagles would probably be happy to keep Big V around as a backup, but I’m guessing there are going to be teams out there who want him as a starter and are willing to pay him considerably more than the Eagles. Would expect him to be somewhere else next year.

More on the Eagles

NFL Draft Betting: Will LSU's Justin Jefferson go before No. 24?

NFL Draft Betting: Will LSU's Justin Jefferson go before No. 24?

With the 2020 NFL Draft just weeks away, now is the time to start scouting your first round bets - if you haven't already.

LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson had a breakout 2019 season, teaming up with Joe Burrow for monster numbers - 111 catches, 1,540 yards, 18 TD - and a national championship.

But where will he fall in the 2020 NFL Draft?

With Jefferson's over/under set at 23.5, NBC Sports Philadelphia betting expert Brad Feinberg thinks you should take the under on Jefferson going before the 24th overall pick.

It's a combination of talent and circumstance, according to Feinberg. He expects this draft class's top three wideouts - Jerry Jeudy, Ceedee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III - to be gone in the first 15 picks. 

After the big three are off the board, Jefferson is almost unanimously the top choice for teams in need of young, talented pass-catchers like the Raiders (No. 19), the Eagles (No. 21), and the Vikings (No. 22).

"I think 23.5 is a great bet for the under," Feinberg said, "because I fully expect one of those three teams to snag [Jefferson] up in those picks."

Earlier this week, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Michael Gatti looked at the betting lines surrounding the Eagles' No. 21 pick, and found Jefferson as the odds-on favorite at +170.

In what's expected to be one of the most loaded WR drafts in recent memory, four wideouts going in the top 23 isn't a reach. In fact, it's starting to feel like a safe bet.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Why Adam Schefter won't guarantee Eagles draft WR in first round

Why Adam Schefter won't guarantee Eagles draft WR in first round

The Eagles need better wide receivers in 2020 if they want to return to the Super Bowl. 

With the 2020 NFL Draft loaded at that position, and the Eagles' inactivity at wide receiver in free agency, all signs point towards GM Howie Roseman targeting a star pass-catcher in the first round.

But what if... they don't?

During a Twitter AMA on Thursday, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter didn't exactly sound convinced the Eagles are going to take a wide receiver in the first round, and floated a few other possibilities for their No. 21 pick: 

And here's the answer, transcribed:

Jack, that is the most logical thing, is to see Philadelphia go wide receiver in round one. But what if there's a good linebacker there? What if there's a good defensive player there? What if they decide to trade the pick for a defensive player? There's a lot of different things they can do.

I would never say the Eagles are guaranteed to get a wide receiver in round one. What I would say is, that they're guaranteed to get some wide receivers in this draft, one way or another. They just might not be in round one.

It's a quick hit from Schefty, but there's plenty to unpack.

"What if there's a good linebacker there?"

The Eagles need to start valuing the linebacker position, especially considering their current roster of LBs, and if a name like Patrick Queen is high on their draft board, maybe he's a surprise pick. Eagles fans might not like it.

"What if there's a good defensive player there?"

There are some very interesting defensive prospects who could last until No. 21. Edge rusher K'Lavon Chaisson and DT Javon Kinlaw are two notable talents who would probably pique Roseman's love for first-round defensive linemen.

"What if they decide to trade the pick for a defensive player?"

This feels like a pretty obvious allusion to the Eagles' rumored interest in trading for Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. The price for Ngakoue begins with a first-rounder, and the No. 21 pick might start an interesting conversation.

Schefter ending by saying the Eagles will leave the draft with at least one wide receiver is certainly intriguing, and might spell a second-round pick going towards a wideout if Roseman is otherwise tempted at No. 21. Could Clemson's Tee Higgins fall into the second round? Will K.J. Hamler still be available at pick No. 53?

So many question marks - but in three weeks, we'll have answers. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles