Top faces in new places Eagles will see in 2018
Redskins: Alex Smith
Washington has signed wideout Paul Richardson and corner Orlando Scandrick, but its switch at quarterback was the bigger news. The trade to bring Smith to town actually happened during the week before the Super Bowl. Smith then signed an extension.
The former No. 1 pick is now 33 years old and was expendable in Kansas City as the Chiefs are set to ride with Patrick Mahomes. Smith will replace Kirk Cousins, who played well in Washington and especially against the Eagles but had been franchised the last two seasons. We’ll get to Cousins a bit later. (All pics from USA Today Images)
Giants: Nate Solder
The Giants' biggest weakness last season was probably their offensive line, so they went out and signed the veteran tackle to an insane four-year, $62 million that includes nearly $35 million in guarantees. They overpaid, but at least they don’t have to trot out Ereck Flowers at left tackle anymore.
Solder, 29, was drafted by the Patriots in the first round in 2011 and won two Super Bowls with New England. The Giants had to pry him away with money.
Cowboys: Jamize Olawale
The Cowboys’ new fullback makes the list because the Cowboys haven’t really done anything this offseason. They haven’t signed anyone in free agency, but they did get a new fullback. They did it by swapping a fifth-round pick for the Raiders’ sixth-rounder.
Olawale, 28, is a pretty good fullback. He played in 77 games during his six years with the Raiders.
Panthers: Dontari Poe
After losing Star Lotulelei to the Bills in free agency, the Panthers replaced him with another former Pro Bowler. Poe might be older than Lotulelei, but he’s also a little cheaper. The Panthers gave him a three-year deal that’s worth a reported $27 million.
The Panthers also brought in WR Jarius Wright from the Vikings. The Eagles will host Wright, Poe and the Panthers at the Linc sometime this season.
Falcons: Brandon Fusco
Another offensive lineman? Another offensive lineman. And he’s not the last on this list. The Falcons haven’t made many moves this offseason, but they did add a veteran offensive guard to the mix. Fusco spent six seasons in Minnesota before one year in San Francisco last season.
The Falcons weren’t able to repeat their impressive 2016 season last year; protecting Matt Ryan would go a long way in getting back to where they want to be. The Eagles will host the Falcons this year.
Texans: Tyrann Mathieu
After some public recruiting from J.J. Watt, the "Honey Badger" decided to go to Houston. Mathieu said he could have signed elsewhere for more money but wanted to join what should be a scary defense in Houston. He’ll join Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and others. If this group can stay healthy ... watch out.
Mathieu is one of the more unique players in the NFL and has been during his five years in the league. He can play at multiple positions and offers plenty of flexibility. He’ll be on the road to face the Eagles in 2018.
Colts: Eric Ebron
The tight end from North Carolina has never lived up to the hype. His best season came in 2016, when he caught 61 passes for 711 yards. His highest touchdown total was five in 2015. That’s not bad, but it’s not top-notch TE production. Still, Ebron and WR Ryan Grant should help Frank Reich construct his offense in Indy.
A reminder: Ebron was picked 10th overall in 2014, just before Taylor Lewan, Odell Beckham Jr. and Aaron Donald. Oops.
Vikings: Kirk Cousins
If Sheldon Richardson went to just about any other team instead of the Vikings, he would have made this list; he must not have cared about that. Because Cousins was the biggest free agent of the offseason and he landed in Minnesota on a mega three-year, completely guaranteed deal.
Is Cousins the best QB in the NFL? No. Obviously no. But he’s a good quarterback and it’s not surprising he got paid. He’s had success in the past against the Eagles and he’ll reportedly get another crack at them at the Linc in the season opener.
Saints: Demario Davis
We know Patrick Robinson landed in New Orleans and we know Drew Brees stayed, but we’ll give the nod to the linebacker who had a good year for the Jets in 2017. Davis ought to at least improve the Saints’ run defense.
The Eagles will be traveling to New Orleans in the 2018 season to face the team that was one disastrous play away from facing them in last year’s NFC Championship Game.
Bucs: Ryan Jensen
You already know about Vinny Curry and Beau Allen heading to Tampa Bay, so we decided to give this nod to Jensen, who became the highest-paid center in the NFL on the four-year deal. Jensen, a former sixth-round pick, has played just 35 games with 25 starts in his four years in the NFL. He did play and start all 16 last season for the Ravens.
This game will be played in Tampa Bay.
Jaguars: Andrew Norwell
The Jags handed out a huge deal for an offensive guard, but Norwell is a very good one. The deal is five years for $66.5 million with $30 million guaranteed. Maybe this wasn’t the Jags' biggest need, but we know how good that defense was in 2017, so adding an All-Pro guard on the other side can only help.
Jacksonville ought to have a good running attack in 2018, but the Eagles had the best run defense in the league last season. This matchup in London next season should be fun.
Titans: Malcolm Butler
Finally, Butler will get a chance to face the Eagles; it just comes well after Super Bowl LII. The last time the Eagles saw Butler, he was watching from the sideline in a move that has never really been explained.
Anyway, Butler demanded a huge salary from the Titans but he will fill a big need. The Eagles will see him in Nashville in 2018.
Rams: Marcus Peters
Peters grew into one of the best cover corners in the NFL during his three seasons in the NFL, but the Chiefs had enough of him and shipped him to Los Angeles. Sure, there might be questions about what kind of personality the Rams are adding, but there shouldn’t be questions about the type of player he is.
Peters is just 25 and has 19 interceptions in three NFL seasons. He’ll join Aqib Talib, also acquired in a trade, in the Rams’ secondary.