After what Howie Roseman classified as a “disappointing” 2019 season, the Eagles have plenty of work to do this offseason. Free agency begins on March 18.
Here’s an early look at five defensive ends for the Birds in free agency:
The Eagles had an opportunity to trade for Clowney during the 2019 season. They didn’t and eventually he pretty much ended the Eagles’ season when, as a member of the Seahawks, he knocked Carson Wentz out of the wild card game in January. Clowney has never had a double digit sack season but he’s still just 26 and is one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL. Fair or not, there have always been questions about Clowney’s commitment to his craft and he’s going to command a major contract this offseason. Spotrac has his market value at six years, 120 million ($20M per season).
He already has four NFL seasons under his belt and he won’t turn 25 until March 31. He has been a Pro Bowler just once and is about to get PAID on the open market. In his four seasons in Jacksonville, Ngakoue has 37 1/2 sacks, 14 forced fumbles and 42 TFLs. He’ll be expensive too. Spotrac sets his market value slightly under Clowneys: five years, $89 million ($17M per season). But he's still young and might still be getting better.
He’ll turn 31 in May and Ansah is coming off a season in Seattle where he had just 2 1/2 sacks in 11 games. The negative here is that he might be cooked. The positive is that he might be cheaper than expected. And we can’t overlook the fact that when Ansah was a first-round pick back in 2013, the head coach of the Lions was Jim Schwartz, the Eagles’ defensive coordinator who wields a lot of power when it comes to bringing in players for the Eagles’ defense.
Dante Fowler Jr.
It just so happened that Fowler’s best season came in a contract year with the Rams. The former No. 3 overall pick had just 16 career sacks in his first three seasons but had 11 1/2 in his first full season with the Rams in 2019. At 6-3, 255, Fowler has played as a 4-3 end and a 3-4 outside ‘backer so he’s not limited by scheme. There’s a chance the Rams will tag Fowler but if they don’t, he’ll be an attractive option on the open market. And the Rams also have decisions to make on Michael Brockers and Cory Littleton — they probably can’t keep all three.
At 6-7, 292, Armstead doesn’t exactly fit the mold of what the Eagles like in their defensive ends. For reference, Brandon Graham (6-2, 265) and Derek Barnett (6-3, 259) are closet to the usual prototype. But Armstead is coming off a 10-sack season in San Francisco, where they started to use more Wide 9 this season. And he’s so big he could just as easily line up inside in Philly. Not sure what it would cost or if his size would cross him off immediately, but he could be a unique piece to add this offseason.
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