Unlike the Ted Thompson run Packers, Philadelphia under Howie Roseman is one of the most active teams throughout the offseason and that includes the late summer months. The Eagles’ roster is one that stays fluid up until — and often beyond — Week 1 of every season. Howie and his scouts are always looking to add players to the back end of the roster, and even with all the moves already made this year, it should be no different. Even Jim Schwartz has mentioned that he expects some shakeup before the season begins. Therefore, it’s never too early, nor too late to look at some remaining free agent options for the Eagles.
Immediately, you may be surprised by the fact that there are no cornerbacks or linebackers on this list. Put simply, the Eagles seem to be content letting the guys on the current roster duke it out for rotational roles. The truth is that both of those positions have relatively entrenched starters and the players left on the free agency ticket are bound to come in as backups at their respective positions. Sure, Jalen Mills may not be the number one corner we’d all hoped and dreamed, but he’s undoubtedly a better — and cheaper — option than any of the 30+ year old vets that are still unsigned. Blake Countess seems to be the “late” addition to the secondary, and it appears as if no more will be made; barring a trade. The team’s track record with bringing in starting caliber free agent corners has not been stellar, and it seems as if the organization is much happier to develop their own.
Thus far the linebacker position has been relatively solidified as well. Kamu Grugier-Hill has deservedly won the respect of the coaching staff and L.J. Fort has been given every opportunity to do the same. There aren’t many names left on the list that have been as dependable as Paul Worrilow over their careers either. Adding another man to the roster to eventually cut seems like a waste of time and energy, unless they decide to cut Fort to recoup a compensatory selection in next year’s draft.
For a more in-depth overview of the linebacker position, you can check out the link below:
Nevertheless, Coach Schwartz’ comments are telling and with depth certainly thin along the defensive front, it makes sense to start taking a closer look at the free agents who could bolster the trenches.
DT Bennie Logan
A reunion with the former Eagle makes a lot of sense on paper. Logan wasn’t the same player after leaving Philly and a homecoming could be in both parties’ best interests. At only 29, he definitely has some quality reps left and won’t cost an arm and a leg. Now, there will be a bit of a transition from nose to a 1-tech DT, but the Eagles won’t need him to be versatile. A big stopgap across from Fletcher Cox when Timmy Jernigan is on the sideline is a position that has not yet been filled for the Birds, and one that Logan fits seamlessly. He’d likely have to settle for less than the $4M per year he got from the Titans, something he may not be willing to do.
DT Evander “Ziggy” Hood
At this point in his career Hood is no longer a starting caliber play disrupter like he was in his time in Pittsburgh. Nevertheless, he still has the motor and savvy to make contributions as a rotational player for a contending team. This is the type of move that could cement Philadelphia as one of the league’s premier defensive lines. The Eagles have had a history of squeezing the last drops out of former high picks on the back nine of their career. Since he entered the league Ziggy has been known as a high energy player and would gel well with the existing locker room. His 2018 deal with Miami worked out to be approximately $1M/1 year.
DT Ethan Westbrooks
Westbrooks is far from a household name unless you were watching a whole lot of LA Rams games in the last three years. He essentially lost his position when the Rams picked up Ndamukong Suh last season. Before that, he started 11 games from 2016-2017 in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme. The transition from 3-4 to 4-3 doesn’t always work, but one of Westbrooks’ greatest boons is his versatility. He played both NT and DE for the Rams and fared well as a rotational pass rusher at both positions. He’s only 28 and his price tag will be around $1M a year — enough to entice the Eagles to take a good look.
DE Michael Johnson
Due $6.1M at the age of 32, Johnson was an understandable cap casualty for the Bengals, especially with Carl Lawson waiting in the wings. His production has dropped off, quite sharply last year, but he still managed 9.0 sacks over the last three seasons. Similar to the Chris Long timeline, a move to a rotational pass rusher for a pass rusher friendly team may be best for Johnson. He’s got unreal length at 6’7″ and still has some burst despite getting up in age. The price tag is a bit difficult to figure, but the Eagles may be able to net him for something similar to what Carolina gave Bruce Irvin ($4M/1 year).
DE Connor Barwin
This is a bit of a cop-out, because the man himself has already publicly stated — multiple times — he’d like to return to the team. He’s not the same player he was when he left the Eagles, but he will leave his heart and soul out on the gridiron. The City of Philadelphia would no doubt welcome him back with open arms. The Eagles could use some experience in what is a very young defensive end rotation outside of Brandon Graham. As much as the city, myself included loves the man, it may be more of a sentimental signing than a functional one. He may be willing to sign for around $1M/year or less, depending on how badly he wants to be here.
DE Dion Jordan
The Eagles have been connected with Jordan since he entered the league and now finally have an opportunity to bring him on board. 2018 was a bit of a down year for the DE and he’s been anything but consistent so far in his career. Nevertheless, in 2017, he earned an 83.6 pass rushing grade and 80.9 grade against the run according to PFF. That’s about as good as you can ask for from a late free-agent addition. The Eagles don’t need him to be a consistent starter, but could use the flashes of talent Jordan does show when given the opportunity. He got about $2M per year from the Seahawks and might be willing to join a contender for cheap.
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