The Eagles have had a very stressful offseason so far, but it might only be a taste of what’s to come at the end of next season. Over 25 players will be entering their final contracted years in Philadelphia in 2016 which could result in some shock moves and big decisions for the birds. However, by signing these players to new deals sooner rather than later, it avoids the risk of watching the player enjoy a career season and rightfully demanding a more lucrative deal. These are the five players who the Eagles can’t afford to lose to free agency in 2017.
5) Chris Maragos
Maragos might not come up with huge plays on Defense, but he is the heart and soul of the Eagles special teams unit. He led the team in special teams tackles in 2014 and was second this year to Trey Burton. Maragos is the definition of an impact player and losing him would see a huge decline in the performance of what has been such a vital unit over the last few years.
4) Bryan Braman
This is one that’s going to surprise a few people..but under Jim Schwartz, Bryan Braman might finally get the playing time he deserves. Out of 443 snaps this season, 428 have been on special teams. In the fifteen snaps he has played at linebacker, Braman has a sack on Drew Brees, a NEARLY incredible blocked field-goal attempt and a few tackles. With a lot of movement expected to occur in this new 4-3 Defense, Braman will be a man to watch in training camp for sure..but if it’s aggression Schwartz wants, Braman will give it to him in relentless fashion. An extension wouldn’t cost much and would see some very talented depth secured at a position that’s going to need it.
3) Bennie Logan
The Eagles Nose Tackle has been a brute force since his arrival in 2013 and already has 139 career tackles to his name. A big body who’s effective at tearing holes open for the linebackers to rip through and is extremely effective at pressuring the Quarterback. A solid front line is absolutely crucial for the future of Jim Schwartz’s Defense, and securing Bennie Logan would be the first step in creating one for the future.
2) Malcolm Jenkins
Jenkins was arguably one of the best players for the Eagles season, if not the best. Effective all over the field from interceptions to diving through the trenches to stop a big run..Jenkins took the new look Secondary on his shoulders and the result was spectacular. He’s already hinted that he would like a new contract and who could blame him? Two interceptions, three forced fumbles and a career high 109 tackles. Jenkins was exceptional in 2015 and without him, it’s easy to say that this very young Secondary would not have been anywhere near as intimidating to opposing Offenses. If last year is anything to go by, Jenkins is primed for another big one and the Eagles would be smart to secure him on a short-term deal before other teams come knocking at the end of next year.
1) Fletcher Cox
The only other real contender for the Eagles MVP this season, Cox was “a man dog” as he was accurately described earlier this year. The Defensive End won the NFC East Defensive Player Of The Year award yet again after a career year. 9.5 sacks still don’t do the man justice..3 forced fumbles and 71 tackles..don’t do the man justice. Cox exploded as one of the best in his position throughout the NFL and in a 4-3 that panders to aggressive pass-rushers and a very attacking Defense, Cox is set to thrive. Like Jenkins, the 25 year old has hinted at wanting a new contract and reports suggest that the wheels are already in motion..but this is a no brainer. Nothing could stop Cox in 2015 and under Jim Schwartz and a system that just screams “Man-Dog”..J.J Watt could face some stiff competition for a lot of awards next season.