Five remaining free agents who may interest the Eagles

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The NFL Draft is in the rear-view mirror and now all eyes turn to a Summer that promises to present very unique sets of challenges for NFL teams. Howie Roseman made it very clear that he’s not done adding talent to the roster after injecting a sense of youth to the team, so here are five remaining free agents who may interest the team.

CB Prince Amukumara

The 30-year-old cornerback is no stranger to Eagles fans, but neither is the fact that their secondary has needed a strong foundation to allow its young players to marinate. Darius Slay solves half the problem, but if there are any remaining doubts over players like Sidney Jones, Amukumara is the ultimate insurance policy.

At 6’0, 216 lbs, Amukumara is similar to Byron Jones. He’s physical at the line of scrimmage and is an absolute technician in coverage, rarely being caught off-guard and always a threat to peel off his assignment and make a play.

In 2019, he was the fourth-least targeted CB in the league and allowed one reception in every 14.5 coverage snaps…which is really good. Many considered 2019 to be a drop-off in performance after his scintillating 22 passes defensed in 2018, but the tape says otherwise.

The Eagles may need a contingency plan at corner and Amukamara is by far the best option.

DE Vinny Curry

Curry’s return to the Eagles after a hiatus in Tampa Bay was quiet on the surface, but then, out of nowhere, there was an explosion. Curry amassed four of his five sacks in the final five games of the season and would end up tying T.J Watt for pressure rate per PFF, getting to the QB on 16.8% of snaps, ranking fifth in that metric out of 99.

After playing in 55% of snaps during the Super Bowl run, that number dropped to 38% in 2019. However, it’s clear that Curry is still of value to the Eagles, both in terms of on-the-field production, and leadership away from it.

Now 31-years-old, the Eagles know Curry better than most and depth is very thin at the defensive end position, even with the versatility of names like DT Malik Jackson. Bringing him back makes too much sense to keep the pressure off of names like Josh Sweat and Shareef Miller.

OT James Hurst

A former backup tackle of the Baltimore Ravens, Hurst would get to reunite with Marty Mornhinweg after being released this offseason. Hurst can play both guard and tackle (something the Eagles covet in their offensive linemen) and allowed 1 sack on 194 snaps last year.

He started all 16 games in 2017 at left guard. He’s started 19 at the position in total, 16 at left tackle, 7 on the other end of the book shelf, and 2 as an extra tight end.

The 6’5, 310 lbs, lineman is actually suspended for the first quarter of the 2020 season due to violating the league’s PED policy. The good news for the Eagles here is that they may not need him right away, anyway. They ideally need a replacement for Halapoulivaati Vaitai and although names like Prince Tega Wanagho are intriguing options added through the draft, there’s nobody with NFL experience ready to step up in a pinch as Vaitai did so often.

There’s a unique problem facing the Eagles though in the way that OTA’s and Training Camp just might not be the same this year. If someone like Jordan Mailata or even Prince Tega Wanogho need those camp reps to develop, workouts at home might not cut it and the Eagles are without an experienced backup.

Hurst should be cheap, cheerful, young (28), and bring enough versatility to warrant at least examining the fit.

RB Isaiah Crowell

The Eagles may have their next star running back in Miles Sanders, but the committee currently behind him lacks a certain punch.

If Crowell has recovered from the torn Achilles he suffered in May last year, he would be a great fit for the hole left by Jordan Howard, and Jay Ajayi before him.

Crowell averaged 4.8 yards per carry in 2018, rushing for 685 yards and 6 touchdowns, bringing his five-year total to 3,803 yards and 27 scores.

This would go against Howie’s new ‘injury-free’ mindset, with Crowell suffering injuries in 2018 before the Achilles tear, but he didn’t miss a single game in the years before that.

Crowell would be a low-risk, potentially high-reward signing that packs a punch and runs extremely hard, willing to bowl into defenders just as quickly as he is to try an evade them. If that burst and explosiveness is still there, this move would be an excellent one.

LB Darron Lee

Another former Jet, Darron Lee never really lived up to the reputation as a first-round pick. In three years with the team, he hit 241 tackles, 11 sacks, 17 QB hits, and 11 passes defensed.

He was then traded to the Chiefs where he won a ring as a rotational player who only played in 14% of defensive snaps as opposed to the 57% he saw on special teams.

However…

He’s still only 25-years-old and is absolutely terrifying as a raw athlete. He ran a 4.47 40-yard dash, has a 35.5 inch vertical and stands at 6’1, 232 lbs.

The Eagles are clearly all about developing talent at linebacker and it’s not like the position is flooded with star power right now. If there is one team in the NFL that Lee has a shot to walk into and win a starting role, it’s this one…and that bodes very well for the ‘iron sharpens iron’ mentality that Doug Pederson works hard to instill every Summer.

At worst, he’s a camp body that doesn’t make the cut or can vouch for a special teams role. At best, he may have some remaining fuel in the tank to give Nate Gerry or T.J Edwards a run for their money.

Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

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