Howie Roseman and the Philadelphia Eagles executed a near-perfect offseason in 2017. The acquisition of valuable free agents played a major factor in the team’s triumphant victory in Super Bowl LII in February 2018.
Roseman hasn’t quite recaptured the same stroke of genius since. While he deserves credit for keeping the organization competitive enough to reach the playoffs in three of the next four seasons, his approach to free agency has included its fair share of clunkers.
Over the past four seasons, 10 veterans with considerable previous track records have come to Philadelphia for “cup of coffee” stints that ultimately became forgettable experiences.
Wide receiver Mike Wallace hit the ground running to begin his NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009. He eclipsed 1000 yards receiving in his second and third seasons in the league and continued his role as an explosive receiver with three other NFL teams before joining the Eagles at age 32 in 2018.
He suffered an injury in his second game in midnight green and never played in the NFL again. Wallace never caught a pass for the Eagles, who struggled without a receiver who could stretch the field to keep opposing defenses on their heels in 2018.
The Baltimore Ravens nabbed Haloti Ngata with the 12th-overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. The Eagles, also in need of a defensive tackle, selected Brodrick Bunkley two picks later. They brought in Ngata 12 years later to replace the departed Beau Allen as a rotational player who could specialize in running situations.
Injuries decimated the 2018 season. Expected starting defensive tackle Tim Jernigan played just three games, and Ngata wasn’t at the stage of his career to step into a larger role. He made a few isolated plays down the stretch during an improbable playoff push, but nobody could contest that the five-time Pro Bowler played at a high level for the Eagles at age 34.
Can you appear on the same list twice? The Eagles signed Jordan Matthews in the middle of the 2018 and 2019 seasons because of their lack of wide receiver depth. Both instances made sense realistically, as Matthews provided a passable option as a target who had succeeded with the same franchise in 2015 and 2016. However, the necessity for a retread indicated a sense of desperation in back-to-back seasons.
Orlando Scandrick failed to make the Eagles final roster out of training camp in 2019, but injuries in the secondary forced Roseman’s hand to bring back a former nemesis who had spent nine seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
A defensive touchdown in his first game led to a misguided perception that Scandrick could be a solid temporary stopgap. He played two more games with the Eagles before getting released, only to air his grievances during an attention-seeking rant on Fox Sports 1 a few days later.
The Eagles’ social media team hilariously exposed Scandrick’s disingenuous comments about former teammate Malcolm Jenkins by releasing a video that didn’t exactly align with the criticism of Philadelphia’s star safety. The team immediately responded with an emphatic 31-13 road victory against the Buffalo Bills and recovered to win the NFC East in 2019.
The Eagles signed Andrew Sendejo as a rotational safety ahead of the 2019 offseason. Vernon Davis effortlessly shed off the former Minnesota Vikings starter en route to a 48-yard touchdown on the first possession of the season.
Sendejo lasted nine games, and his snap count dwindled gradually. Roseman elected to release him midseason largely because of the opportunity to recoup a compensatory fourth-round draft pick.
The Eagles signed Malik Jackson to a three-year, $30 million deal in March 2019 just one year removed from a Pro Bowl season with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017. A season-ending injury in his first game derailed his tenure. He returned to make six starts in 2020, most likely at less than 100% health, without playing an impactful role. He was released before the final year of his contract.
Nickell Robey-Coleman began his NFL career with the Bills during the tenure of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. A reunion in Philadelphia in 2020 didn’t go as planned. The organization had expectations for Robey-Coleman to play a role as a slot corner, forcing Avonte Maddox to the outside.
One of the best names in NFL history for a nickel-package player, unfortunately, couldn’t make up for the fact that the move created two positions of weakness for an underwhelming defense on a 4-11-1 team. Maddox made solid contributions from the slot in 2021 and proved that the departure of Robey-Coleman was addition by subtraction.
Roseman handed former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco an expensive contract to back up Jalen Hurts in 2021. The 36-year-old South Jersey native never took a regular-season snap for the Eagles. Luckily, Roseman was able to cut his losses and avoid paying Flacco his full salary with a trade for a conditional draft pick.
Four Pro Bowl appearances in 10 seasons meant very little for Ryan Kerrigan when he got to Philadelphia. After disrupting Philadelphia’s offense for years as an opponent, he recorded only three tackles in 16 regular-season games in 2021. An unexpected standout performance in a blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Wild Card Round did very little to change the perception of his lackluster career with the Eagles.
Chance Warmack helped the University of Alabama to three National Championships during his college career and earned the call as the 10th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. He is the only player on this list to play for the 2017 team, and he even stepped in for four snaps in Super Bowl LII.
His connection to offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland influenced Roseman to bring him back for the 2018 season. His individual career with the Eagles (and in the NFL overall) was forgettable, however. Veteran writer Reuben Frank even jokingly questioned whether it was possible for “Last Chance” Warmack to be washed up at age 27 when he played his final NFL game.
Roseman has also brought in his fair share of contributing veterans during this time period. Michael Bennett was Philadelphia’s best defensive end at age 33 in 2018 when they advanced to the NFC Divisional Round. Steven Nelson and Anthony Harris played valuable roles in the secondary in 2021. The Eagles are optimistic that Haason Reddick, James Bradberry, and Kyzir White can elevate their defense to a new level in 2022.
However, Eagles fans would like to forget these 10 free-agent busts post Super Bowl LII.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire