With the season now over halfway through, the Eagles are coming off a big win against the Chicago Bears. The outcome of the remainder of the season will have a huge impact on what could be one of the more important offseasons in recent memory. With the grand gesture to cement Carson Wentz the face of the franchise being made this summer, the Eagles will have to do their best to capitalize on his prime years. To do this, the team has three options; outlined in the intro article to this series below:
This article will be diving into the train of thought that the Eagles have the pieces to contend now; they simply need a redo.
Over the past two seasons, the Birds have been struck with terrible injury luck. This year, both of the team’s major offseason acquisitions have been lost for long periods of time after tantalizing glimpses of what they can bring to the team. Fortunately, both players are locked up for the immediate future and will have another swing at a full season next year. That is also the case for some of the Eagles young budding stars.
As we saw from the most recent back-to-back wins, this is still a team that knows how to push through adversity and seal the deal. At full potential, there is no doubt that this team can make the playoffs and compete. However, there have been two major hindrances to success.
The first is offensive consistency. Some games, like the win over Buffalo, the offense hums. The offensive unit has been at its best when they can run the football and Carson can limit his mistakes. The young signal-caller has been relatively efficient this season, however, as, throughout his career, his mistakes tend to come in bunches. Nevertheless, Wentz is among the top in touchdown passes and hasn’t had to rack up numbers to put his team on a winning path. He has also done so with some very suspect performances from his receiving corps.
Therefore, perhaps the solution is a simple tweak in personnel. Welcoming a healthy DeSean Jackson into the fold may be all that’s necessary…but that won’t be an eventuality in 2019 anymore, it seems. We saw just how much of an impact he can make against the Redskins in week one. With bated breath and the trade deadline behind us, it’s just a matter of how long the team can wait for deep threat help. Far from having a clean bill of health, counting on a full season from Jackson moving forward may also be a fool’s game.
The second major issue for the Philadelphia Eagles has been the pass defense. We won’t limit it to simply the secondary as the pass rush hasn’t been as formidable as we are accustomed to either. Again, in both of these cases, hoping for help from returning players may be all that’s necessary. Immediately with the return of Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills to the lineup, the Eagles defense held the Bills to just 169 yards through the air and were extremely productive in keeping the Bears offense quiet. But Buffalo isn’t exactly a high-flying offense and…Mitchell Trubisky exists.
The pass rush was better as well, mostly containing a very mobile Josh Allen and registering four-team sacks. The Eagles welcomed back Timmy Jernigan to the lineup on Sunday, which will only strengthen the rotation. Add a recovered Malik Jackson and Hassan Ridgeway to the mix and all of a sudden a relative weakness becomes a strength once again.
Overall, it is reasonable to believe the Eagles’ main concern is less about performance and more about the availability of their best players. There aren’t many other early Super Bowl favorites that have dealt with quite so much adversity. However, it’s still plausible Howie Roseman will want to make some offseason moves to upgrade the team. It would be weird if he didn’t, honestly. With some big contracts on the books and some well-known names coming off the books for 2020, he won’t have much room to work with. That’s never stopped the cap-wizard himself from working some magic. So, let’s dive into the options, keeping in mind the goal is to retain as much of the current squad as possible.
Re-sign/ Let Walk
It’s always a difficult task to estimate when teams are willing to shell out to retain certain players. Deals made around the league can set the market and inflate otherwise reasonable offers. Therefore, the numbers below are simply ballpark estimates based on similar contracts and are rounded to the nearest $0.5M to keep it simple. The explanation for each decision is found below.
|Estimated 2020 Cap Space (Spotrac)||$38.5M|
|Corey Clement (RFA)||Walk||—|
|Nigel Bradham*||Opt in||[$9.7M]|
|Jake Elliott (RFA)||Re-sign||$2.5M|
|Remaining Cap Space||$2.0M|
*Club option [salary included]
The Eagles think highly of Nate Sudfeld and will likely offer him a similar contract to last season. Even though he only played in one preseason game this year, there will be other teams interested in his services. The front office may have to pay a little extra to keep their backup of the future in town.
Josh McCown was already retired and the assumption is that he will return to retirement after the season is over.
Comparatively, Jordan Howard’s asking price will be similar to that of Devonta Freeman. Both backs play similar roles in their respective offenses and had early success in their careers. Really, Howard was a more productive back over the first three seasons of his career, but it hasn’t been in the Eagles wheelhouse to invest heavily in their running backs. $8M per year for 3 years with some backloading and a team option seems ideal, but the 5th year back may want to look for more elsewhere.
Again plagued by injuries, this wasn’t the comeback season Darren Sproles had planed. Expect him to retire at the end of the season.
Corey Clement simply can’t stay healthy and Boston Scott has finally gotten some run in the 3rd running back role. The Eagles will have a chance to match any offers from other teams, so it will depend on what Clement is offered. He’s been a hometown favorite in Philly since his rookie year but hasn’t been able to stay on the field since.
With fans calling for his head already, it’s not hard to tell how Philly feels about Nelson Agholor’s performance this season. After an electric third season, everyone was hoping Agholor was finally showing his true colors. Instead, he has fallen back into a routine of drops and a lack of effort; not a great look for a young player in a contract year. With Willie Snead getting $6M from the Ravens for one season, it would be hard for the Eagles to convince Nelson to bet on himself and take a one-year prove-it deal. Some team out there will be willing to take a chance on his potential.
Similar to Darren Sproles, Jason Peters’ swan song hasn’t gone as planned. Andre Dillard is entering his third start in his place and has looked good in relief. At this point, Peters should take the time to relax poolside while he waits for his gold jacket in the mail.
It’s always had to tell how much of a market swing tackles and backup guards will get. The Eagles due tend to value depth along the line and may be willing to overpay to keep Vaitai in Philly. In this scenario, he gets a little less than former first-round pick Ereck Flowers.
Continued on the page below.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
25 year old Eagles writer from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.