Eagles have some tricky decisions to make when it comes to 2023 free agents

Philadelphia Eagles’ Miles Sanders stiff arms Dallas Cowboys’ Donovan Wilson during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

As the Eagles continue to ride their undefeated high into the bye week, the front office will have its hands full of work. At the moment, Philadelphia has a big offseason ahead.

They will be entering the 2023 offseason with 19 players being eligible for free agency. 10 of those 19 players are starters and have played a pivotal role for the Eagles so far this season. Others will hold value at the NFL trade deadline. It’s time for Howie to work some more magic!

The Lifelong Eagles

It’s very possible that the Eagles only bring back one of this trio, with a low chance of all three returning. Who would’ve thought that Philly may have to say goodbye to Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Jason Kelce? While Kelce’s retirement is all but guaranteed, the futures of Cox and Graham are very much up in the air. 

Brandon Graham has enjoyed a big comeback season so far and he’s actually in a position of need for Philly. Keeping him as an Eagle until he retires would be the perfect way to ride into the sunset. As for Cox, it’s no secret that the front office loves him but how much does he love Philly? With Jordan Davis forcing his way onto the field, will Cox take a veteran’s pay cut to stay in South Philly?

The Budding Newcomers

It’s scary to think that the Eagles were able to sign James Bradberry and Kyzir White and then follow up with a huge trade for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson? A hell of an offseason by the cap wizard himself, but what happens now? James Bradberry will command top dollar in free agency once again but why not stay in Philly? He’s rebounded in a way that no one thought possible since playing alongside Darius Slay.

As for Kyzir White, I don’t believe the Eagles will let him slip from their grasp. He’s been terrific in a position that has plagued the Eagles’ defense for years and with Nakobe Dean possibly starting next to White next year, the Eagles could have a strong tandem in their hands.

Then there’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. CJGJ has already spoken about the effect that Philly has had on him. His trade from the Saints was a humbling experience and he’s playing the best football of his career. The Eagles would be wise to keep Gardner-Johnson as their ball-hawking safety.

We know where Zach Pascal stands with this offense and he’s been terrific. Stats aside, the Eagles brought in Pascal for his mental toughness and blocking. He’s been key on several of the Eagles’ big drives and his relationship with Sirianni can keep him in Philly for years to come but at what price?

Home is where the heart is

Isaac Seumalo is a player that’s been in Philly for all of his career. It’s where he’s developed into one of the better offensive guards in the league. With the Eagles’ confidence in their depth at the offensive line position, I would find it hard to believe that they’ll pay Seumalo big O-line money.

After being claimed by Philly, Marcus Epps has grown into one of the better defenders on the team. It’s no coincidence that he’s enjoying a big breakout season with free agency coming up but as the Eagles know, good safeties are hard to find. Fortunately, the Eagles could have a unique tandem on their hands if they can keep Epps and Gardner-Johnson. Together they have been able to keep the big plays away.

T.J. Edwards is enjoying a big breakout season after the  Eagles used a third-round pick on Nakobe Dean. While Edwards has been great against the run, he’s had his moments in pass coverage and though it would be a big blow to this defense, I can’t imagine the Eagles paying Edwards instead of White.

Let’s be honest for a second. Miles Sanders has a huge ceiling that has yet to be touched and I’m completely convinced that he could remain with the Eagles for another 3 years at a discounted price. While any team can overpay Sanders, Miles is tied to Philly due to his family being in Pittsburgh. It would be tough to see the Eagles move on from him but he may be too expensive for Philly.

Better off elsewhere?

Javon Hargrave has rebounded from his first season in Philadelphia. He was a monster for the Eagles during the first half of the season in 2021 and has been quietly effective here in 2022. While the numbers tell a different story, Hargrave is still one of the better defensive tackles in the league and blossom elsewhere after this season.

The first-round pick that the Eagles would love to keep but just can’t. Andre Dillard was meant to be the franchise left tackle but the growth and play of Jordan Mailata pushed Dillard out of the equation after his injuries. While the Eagles would be wise to cash in and trade Dillard this season, I would understand keeping him for depth in case he’s needed during a postseason run.

Boston Scott has gotten enough to really just shine in Philadelphia and while he can cash in anywhere else, the fact of the matter is that he loves Philly and he won’t cost much for the Eagles. He isn’t consistent enough to be an every-week starter but Scott has been a great change-of-pace player for the team.

The remaining five could be a mixed bag of moves for the Eagles. While I wouldn’t expect Gardner Minshew to stick around after this season, I would assume that the Eagles keep Sua Opeta, Rick Lovato, and Tyree Jackson. For Tyree Jackson, it will come down to health and consistency. Right now the tight end group is doing well in Jackson’s absence. 

Then there’s Janarius Robinson who the Eagles claimed from the Vikings. He may be a camp body but isn’t an exact “must sign”.

AP Photo/Chris Szagola