The Philadelphia Eagles entered the free agency signing period with 13 unrestricted free agents. Their plan was to re-sign linebacker Nigel Bradham, which they did (five years, $40 million), and let the rest go so that they can collect compensatory draft picks next year.
They have addressed one of their biggest depth issues — linebacker — by signing Corey Nelson and Paul Worrilow. The addition of those two could mean the subtraction of Mychal Kendricks. The Eagles have put a “for-sale” sign on Kendricks, who is one of the league’s most athletic linebackers, but has a $7.6 million cap number in 2018.
The Eagles traded for defensive end Michael Bennett and released Vinny Curry, who is younger but less productive than Bennett and had an $11 million cap number. Bennett also can line up inside or outside.
They also traded wide receiver Torrey Smith to Carolina and signed Mike Wallace. The Eagles are hoping Wallace will be a more productive deep receiver than Smith was last year.
Here is a closer look at where the Eagles are, how they got here and a shot at what they should do with their first pick in the draft.
2017 finish: 1st NFC East (13-3)
TOTAL OFFENSE: 365.8 (7th)
RUSHING: 132.2 (3rd)
PASSING: 233.6 (13th)
TOTAL DEFENSE: 306.5 (4th)
RUSHING: 79.2 (1st)
PASSING: 227.3 (17th)
- Tight end: Zach Ertz is one of the league’s top tight ends, but the Eagles didn’t re-sign Trey Burton and released veteran Brent Celek. They are high on practice-squadder Billy Brown, who has a similar skill-set to Burton, and could end up bringing Celek back at a lesser salary. But they almost certainly will draft a tight end who will compete for the No. 2 job.
- Safety: Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod are one of the league’s better safety tandems. But Jenkins is 30, both have large cap numbers and there is no depth behind them. This will be another draft priority.
- Offensive line: Halapoulivaati Vaitai did a surprisingly good job after nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters tore his ACL last year. Peters, who is 36, is returning for at least one more season, which means Vaitai will back up the two tackle spots. But the Eagles still need to add more depth to their line for the post-Peters era.
KEY PERSONNEL TRACKER (As of April 6)
–LB Nigel Bradham: Potential UFA; $40M/5 yrs, $14M guaranteed ($6M injury only at signing, $5M SB).
–CB De’Vante Bausby: FA; $1.2M/2 yrs.
–DE Michael Bennett (trade Seahawks).
–LB Corey Nelson: UFA Broncos; $1.6M/1 yr, $600 SB.
–DT Haloti Ngata: UFA Lions; $2.6M guaranteed/1 yr, $250K SB.
–TE Richard Rodgers: UFA Packers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
–WR Mike Wallace: UFA Ravens; $1.915M/1 yr, $1M SB.
–CB Daryl Worley (trade Panthers).
–LB Paul Worrilow: UFA Lions; 1 yr, terms unknown.
–DT Beau Allen: UFA Buccaneers; $15M/3 yrs, $7.25M guaranteed ($750K injury only at signing, $2.75M RB/$1.5M RB 2019).
–RB LeGarrette Blount: UFA Lions; $2M guaranteed/1 yr, $1M SB. Up to $2.5M incentives for playing time/yards/TDs.
–TE Trey Burton: UFA Bears; $32M/4 yrs, $22M guaranteed ($4M injury only at signing at signing, $7.5M SB).
–TE Brent Celek (released).
–DE Vinny Curry (released).
–LB Najee Goode: UFA Colts; terms unknown.
–WR Marcus Johnson (traded Seahawks.
–P Donnie Jones (retired).
–CB Patrick Robinson: UFA Saints; $20M/4 yrs, $10M guaranteed ($2M injury only at time of signing, $5M SB).
–WR Torrey Smith (traded Panthers).
–K Caleb Sturgis: UFA Chargers; $4.45M/2 yrs, $1M SB.
*NFLDraftScout.com analysts suggest (No. 32 overall)
Rob Rang (April 5 mock draft):
–Ronnie Harrison, SS, Alabama. The Super Bowl champs boast one of the more complete rosters in the NFL but could use an intimidator in the back end. Harrison remains better against the run than the pass at this point, but he could be afforded a “redshirt” year with veterans Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod already in place in Philadelphia.
Dane Brugler (April 6 mock draft):
–D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland. When you win the Super Bowl, you can draft luxury players in the first round. And that is what Moore would be in Philadelphia, providing a dynamic inside-outside threat.
Agree? Disagree? Still shopping?
Based on the team’s current status, those are our suggestions for that first pick. To double check or find another candidate see full mocks and ratings at NFLDraftScout.com.