At the end of every season, players lament the fact that it’s the last time this exact NFL team will be together. That holds true for the 2018 Eagles. There’s going to be plenty of turnover going into next season.
We’ve already explored the Nick Foles situation (see story), but the Eagles also have 17 players who will become unrestricted free agents on March 13 at 4 p.m. The Eagles will have exclusive negotiating rights with these players until March 11.
Here’s a rundown of every Eagles player set to become a free agent in March:
We all know about Graham. He’s probably the most high-profile free agent the Eagles are going to have. He’ll be 31 by next season after spending the first nine of his NFL seasons in Philadelphia. The Eagles would probably like to have him back but the price needs to be right. This is his last chance to earn some real money in this league, so he might not be willing to give a big discount. He had just four sacks this season and has never gone over 9 1/2, so not sure exactly what type of market he’ll see. Spotrac estimates his market value at five years, $80 million, which breaks down to $15.8 annually. That might be too much for the Birds.
On Monday, Tate said he would like to be back in Philadelphia. He liked it here during his 10 games in an Eagles uniform, but his production didn’t exactly match what a lot of us expected. Another 30-year-old player, Spotrac estimates he’ll get a contract worth around $10 million per season. With Alshon Jeffery under contract for a $14M cap hit this year and Nelson Agholor right now on his fifth-year option, it’s hard to imagine the Eagles spending that much on Tate. I guess there’s a chance, though.
Of all the free agents on this list, Hicks might be the toughest to figure out. When he’s on the field, he’s a good player. But he can’t stay on the field. His entire four-year career has been riddled with injuries and I don’t know how any team can really commit to him. If the Eagles want him back, they will probably be able to get a bargain. But can they really depend on him? It’s a tricky situation.
Even when the Eagles traded for Ajayi during the 2017 season, there were already serious concerns about his knees. Now, he tore his ACL and is set to become a free agent. He was a good player in Philly, but they need to upgrade the RB position and I’m not sure this is the way to do it. They have a few of these guys coming back from injuries.
Darby is another one. When healthy, he was probably the Eagles’ best cornerback, but the Eagles can’t just sign a bunch of guys who are hurt. Of the injured free agents, though, I’d probably feel the most comfortable with Darby returning. I know the Eagles shored up their cornerback group with Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox and Cre’Von LeBlanc and Jalen Mills should be back next season, but adding Darby couldn’t hurt. We’ll see how much other teams are interested. Maybe if a market doesn’t develop, he can come back on a prove-it deal.
He was here on a one-year deal worth $3 million in 2018. He had a slow start to his season but did play better down the stretch. The Eagles need to upgrade the DT position and Ngata is about to turn 35.
He was supposed to be the speed guy opposite Jeffery, but he didn’t get a single catch before breaking his fibula. At 33, he made $4 million last season. The Eagles still need a speed receiver, but I have my doubts it could be Wallace. But he really seemed to enjoy being here and if he still wants to play, maybe the Eagles see if they can get him on the cheap.
An injury kept him out of a good portion of the end of the season, but he did return for the New Orleans game. He didn’t play on defense this year but was a big special teams guy. He was a special teams Pro Bowler with the Chiefs back in 2016. The Eagles claimed him off waivers earlier this season. He’s still just 27.
Our old friend Jordan Matthews came back during this season and actually made an impact. He had a few big plays. I don’t think he did enough to warrant a big contract, so maybe he’s back. The problem is that he’s not much of a special teamer. But he and Carson Wentz seem to play well together.
I think if Sproles wants to come back next season, the Eagles will bring him back. It’s really up to him. He has to decide if he wants to give himself one more season to end his career better. If the Eagles bring him back, they can’t rely on him to be anything close to a featured guy. He just needs to be a role player who can still help the offense when healthy.
The Eagles have Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert established as their top two tight ends, so unless they draft another one, they’ll need a veteran to fill out the room. Rodgers is a possibility. Maybe Will Tye, who was on the practice squad, could also fill that role.
A big special teams contributor who played sparingly on defense. There’s a chance he’s back, but he’s also 28. We’ll see if the Eagles draft any linebackers this season. That could be bad for him or Alexander even if they sign a minimum deal.
He barely played in 2018 and was inactive for a lot of the season. This hasn’t been the reclamation project the Eagles hoped it would be. The former first-round pick got paid a lot of money to sit on the bench in 2018. With Brandon Brooks’ injury, the Eagles might need to get an interior lineman, but I think the Warmack experiment might be over.
Everyone is going to remember that 4th-and-15 in Tennessee, but Graham actually played pretty well down the stretch. He almost retired after the 2017 season, so I have a feeling he’s going to hang ‘em up this time.
He tore his ACL in the Spring but stayed around the team all year. He was a staple of early, early pregame warmups, running around the field. He wasn’t a lock to make the roster last year. The Eagles have some decisions to make at linebacker.
We don’t know the extent it, but Maragos had another knee surgery late in this season and missed the entire 2018 season. He’s a great leader and a great guy to have around the team, but there seems to be a good chance his playing days (at least with the Eagles) are over.
The Eagles' long-snapper did a good job this year and should be back for the 2019 season. No reason to split up that group of specialists.
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