The Eagles are headed into the offseason with a flurry of questions to answer. The good news is that they should all yield exciting answers, but if we’ve learned one thing about this team over the past decade, it’s to expect the unexpected.
Here are five bold predictions for the upcoming offseason.
Goodbye Miles Sanders
I’ve been on this train for a while, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see a scenario in which the Eagles don’t try and shop Miles Sanders. Going into his contract year, the Penn State product has struggled to really add to his limited, but sporadically explosive skillset.
Sanders has buckets of home-run potential and he flashed it on several occasions this year. However, he still lacks the same vision he was without coming into the NFL, still hesitates too much before hitting the hole, and will often try to bounce a run outside when there is a clear lane in front of him.
It’s not that Sanders is a bad running back. He could easily be a top-10 rusher as a bonafide RB1, but much like Jordan Howard in Chicago, a brand new coaching staff and a shiny new rookie in 2021 might have put a glass ceiling on his career in Philadelphia.
If the Eagles want to continue their committee approach, cashing in on Sanders during his contract year and using that pick to potentially even bring in another candidate (CC: The Bears with Jordan Howard) makes a ton of sense.
At least one first-round pick gets traded
The Eagles have three top-20 picks going into the offseason and Howie Roseman made it clear in his recent presser that Jalen Hurts is going nowhere. That means that those picks can be used to surround Hurts with as many weapons as possible on both sides of the ball, but quality is better than quantity.
Drafting is a murky game. For every DeVonta Smith, there’s a…yeah I don’t need to finish that sentence. It’s not just the ability and potential of a player you’re banking on, but that the base translates to the NFL and can be developed by a competent coaching staff. Drafting square pegs into round holes did Roseman no favors in years past and this may finally be the offseason that things change.
‘Quality over quantity’ rings true here. The Eagles could feel very comfortable parting ways with a first-round selection, just as they did on draft night, knowing that they can plug the holes on their roster with some proven talent from other avenues, recouping more picks in the process.
Fletcher Cox stays put.
Fletcher Cox is an Eagles legend and a near-certain Hall of Famer. However, everything that has a beginning, has an end, and Cox’s contract could be the catalyst here…could being the operative word.
He could always restructure, as he’s been known to do frequently in the past. The Mississippi State product was nearly dealt at the trade deadline and some light assurance from Howie Roseman far from guarantees his return.
A $14M cap-hit is one thing, a $40M dead-cap number is something else entirely. Trading him could be tricky because of these factors, and if Cox wants to stay in Philadelphia, he may well take a pay-cut in order to do so.
He’s been a defensive mainstay since his arrival in 2012 and although Javon Hargrave may have the spotlight, Cox has a prominent role and it’s one that will still be very hard to replace.
A new cornerstone
The Eagles did a brilliant job of signing proven vets to long-term deals at the beginning of the Carson Wentz era, both internal and external. The arrival of Rodney McLeod was one such move but as a new era begins, McLeod may be facing an exit.
The former Los Angeles Ram has been an incredible character on and off the field for the Eagles, but two ACL tears in three years can be hard to truly bounce back from, and it would be unfair to expect that elite production he was once associated with.
However, there’s a shiny new free agent safety on the market by the way of Marcus Williams. The 25-year-old is the cream of the crop at his position as far as free agency goes and is just as productive as McLeod was before he first joined the Eagles.
Philadelphia could fortify the secondary with the presence of a player whose best days are still far ahead of him, and give the defense a new cornerstone in a unit that requires a playmaking safety to roam the field.
Jason Kelce returns
The Jason Kelce story has been one of the most remarkable stories in Eagles history. How one athlete can become so beloved at a position that so often gets overlooked is a true testament to his truly incredible level of play. A once-in-a-lifetime player, Kelce refuses to age and his play is as spicy as it ever was….but the looming cloud of retirement is growing larger.
The fact that Kelce didn’t miss a game in 2021 as a 34-year-old is one thing, but he allowed only one sack in 993 snaps. Remarkable.
Would Kelce really hang them up when he’s still arguably the most dominant center in the entire league? Would he hang them up when there’s a new era in his City that could potentially be just a few more steps away from another run at the Super Bowl?
He may not be on the team when it’s ready to go all the way, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Kelce will want to be around, pushing his teammates to be their very best so that very scenario becomes a reality.
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