Coming off their 2019 bye week, the Eagles are staring down a tough home-stay in which they will welcome the 8-1 New England Patriots and 8-2 Seattle Seahawks in successive weeks. With four of five of the final games of the season being played against division rivals, the playoff picture for the Eagles is quickly materializing.
The next two weeks will undoubtedly shape the pathway Philadelphia must take to return to the playoffs for a third straight season. The “three-peat” would be the first time since 2010 the Birds have made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.
2010 was also the year that the team bid farewell to longtime Eagles Jason Babin (for the second time), Jeremiah Trotter (for the third time), Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb; going to show that even successful teams need to adapt to stay competitive. To head the changes, the front office promoted current GM Howie Roseman to his post, and the new age Eagles began to take shape. That year, with multiple players looking for new deals, the team retained their key playmakers and trimmed the fat, preparing for another run at a title. This season, the team faces a similar juncture.
My last article outlined what would need to happen for the Eagles to retain as many players as possible and still be competitive in free agency. You can check out that article here:
This week, we take an early approach to the offseason that mimics that of 2009-2010: with some tough financial decisions to be made, the Birds can’t keep everyone. In an attempt to harness Carson Wentz’ prime years, the Eagles could make some quick swaps to revitalize the team without making any controversial or high-risk moves. Let’s begin with the names already on the roster with expiring contracts.
Re-sign/ Let Walk
|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||$12.5M|
*Club option [salary included]
Even with limited minutes to his name, the Eagles see Nate Sudfeld as the backup of the future and will likely offer him a similar contract to last season. Undoubtedly, there will be other teams interested in his services and offering him a contract doesn’t necessitate another year in Philly. The front office may have to pay a little extra to keep their backup of the future in town. The underlying value is that he could make a very valuable trade piece if the Eagles do decide to bring in a veteran ringer.
Josh McCown was already retired before the Eagles picked up the phone and the assumption is that he will return to retirement after the season is over.
As much of a revelation Jordan Howard has been in midnight green this season, the Eagles’ track record of spending on running backs is working against him. With Miles Sanders showing his wings, it’s difficult to justify spending starter money on a rotational piece. Add that to the fact that the Birds just brought back Jay Ajayi and the future outlook for Howard is looking a tad grimmer.
While it’s likely Ajayi isn’t on the team at the start of next year’s season, it goes to show that Howie believes he can bring in an early-down back off the street and squeeze him into the rotation without much fuss. Truthfully, Howard could be a starter for many teams across the league and should have no trouble being financially compensated as such. According to reports, he wants to be in Philadelphia, but whether he will take less money to remain an Eagle is yet to be seen. My guess is that the bruiser has played himself out of Howie Roseman’s budget.
Again plagued by injuries, this wasn’t the comeback season Darren Sproles had planned. He’s a gamer and will likely go into retirement kicking and screaming, but he’s earned it. Ending his career on IR is a true shame and one hopes it won’t tarnish his legacy as he bids for a Hall of Fame jacket.
Corey Clement simply can’t stay healthy and Boston Scott has played himself into the 3rd running back role. The Eagles will have a chance to match any offer sheets from other teams, so it will depend on how Clement is valued. He’s been a hometown favorite in Philly since his rookie year but hasn’t been able to stay on the field since. Now with some extra cash, do the Eagles give him one last chance at redemption?
It’s hard to see how Nelson Agholor turns his season around enough for the Eagles to justify keeping him around. After an electric third season, everyone was hoping Agholor was finally realizing his potential. 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’s very unlikely Agholor’s price tag would be any less. Some team out there will be willing to take a chance on his potential.
Akin to Darren Sproles, Jason Peters’ season hasn’t gone as planned. Andre Dillard has looked good in relief, although Peters is still “the starter”. The fight he has shown to stay on the football field is admirable, but at this point in his career, he has nothing left to prove. He too has earned his retirement.
The Eagles value depth along the line too much to let Halapoulivaati Vaitai walk out the door. After an on-again-off-again relationship with Stefen Wisniewski, Philadelphia seems to have found their next space filler. In this scenario, he gets a little less than former first-round pick Ereck Flowers, which seems like a reasonable price for both parties. With a reasonable contract, the young versatile lineman may make a nifty little trade piece.
Continued on the page below.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
26 year old Eagles writer from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.