Free agency is rapidly approaching and for the Eagles, it’s a crucial time of year. Not only are they set to lose some key players from the last few years, with limited cap space on their side, but the lingering Nick Foles drama isn’t exactly helping matters. Big contracts decision and some emotional goodbyes may be in order, but what about additions?
In this video (and readable version below) we’ll look at some names, using Howie Roseman’s FA prototype of a player around 28-years old on a prove-it contract or a longer deal with less money up front.
DT, Sheldon Richardson
Sheldon Richardson is almost a household name at this point. The former New York Jet was out to prove he was worthy of a big investment in 2018, signing with the Vikings on a one-year, 8m deal. He was able to establish a dominant pairing with Linval Joseph, but he was relatively quiet all things considered and his presence as a three-tech run defender really heightened. What was interesting through is that The Vikings fell from #3 overall vs the run to #15 overall vs the run with Richardson. Tom Johnson, a backup at that point, tallied the same number of sacks as Richardson, which may, just may, have slightly hindered his free agent value.
His fit in Minnesota is evident, but he could also be the perfect replacement for Jernigan. If the Eagles shift Jernigan due to his durability concerns, they’ll save a whopping $13M cap hit. That’s more than enough to get cheaper at the position while still retaining pro bowl talent, incentivizing Richardson for a bounce-back year.
LB, K.J Wright
To me, K.J Wright is one of the best linebackers in the NFL, period. His ability to fly around the field, be aggressive at the catch-point and more importantly, communicate clearly with the defense to help defuse some potentially explosive situations, is second-to-none. Wright spent most of last year sidelined with a knee injury and if we look back at how the Seahawks have previously treated guys in Wright’s spot…the future doesn’t look too good (ahem, Earl Thomas).
There isn’t much depth at the position outside of Kamu Grugier-Hill and Nate Gerry as of right now and if MLB Jordan Hicks walks into free agency, positional depth will be just as scarce.
Seattle’s ‘Walter Payton Man of The Year Award’ nominee is a standup guy on and off the field and what the Eagles love to do more than anything is sign savvy veterans which allow draftees and younger talent to marinate and grow into their future roles. Wright wouldn’t just provide that with a sense of leadership, but his production on the field is rivaled by very few. With four consecutive season’s of 100+ tackles, he is arguably the most underrated linebacker in the league…and the Eagles would be wise to do whatever it takes to bring him in.
RB Tevin Coleman
Coleman is a perfect fit for the Eagles…but it all comes down to one thing: Does Coleman want out of Atlanta, or more importantly out of Freeman’s shadow? You could argue that while his role with the Eagles would give him more exposure, he still wouldn’t be the back he’s capable of being, which is a true featured rusher. However, his versatility to hurt defenses as an elusive, well-balanced decision-maker between the tackles, and an explosive receiving option outside of them, make him a very strong fit for an Eagles team that could be finally saying an emotional goodbye to Darren Sproles.
Coleman has done nothing but impress every single year and his skillset matches up perfectly with what Pederson implements…but will the price tag be just as dreamy? Only time will tell…
WR, John Brown
Smokey was on a mission this season to prove he still has it and setting a new career high in yards per reception, John Brown proved a lot of the neigh sayers wrong. One of the most lethal deep threats in the league, Brown’s campaign was more than enough to leave Baltimore fans purring…but perhaps Eagles fans even more-so. You see, the Eagles have tried, and failed since Pederson’s arrival to find the next big ‘deep threat’ receiver. After DGB, Torrey Smith and Mike Wallace were all unable to deliver, maybe it’s time to add some smoke into this west-coast system.
S, Tre Boston
It was criminal that Tre Boston didn’t receive a long-term extension after posting such a strong season with the Chargers where he picked off five passes, the market for safeties just dried up without warning. Boston was left to sign a 1.5M 1-year deal with the Cardinals on the eve of training camp, but proved his 2017 success was no fluke.
The Eagles need Safety depth and Boston is a dreamboat here. Fluid in his movement, a leader off the field and somebody that plays the free-safety position with the instinct needed for Schwartz to keep one safety back home while the rest of the defense wreak havoc, at the very worst, he’d be a player groomed until such a time as Malcolm Jenkins calls it a day. At best, he’s McLeod’s new stud running-mate while Jenkins causes a whirlwind in the box.