The opening few days of free agency have been nothing short of frantic. The Philadelphia Eagles had 20 free agents set to hit the open market, 21 if you include Darius Slay who was given permission to seek a trade. The Birds have been able to re-sign several big names, but there are plenty of their former players still exploring the open market.
Eagles free agents who signed elsewhere:
Javon Hargrave, Marcus Epps, Miles Sanders, T.J Edwards, Kyzir White, Andre Dillard
The first four of these stung in some way. We all knew that retaining Javon Hargrave would be impossible and he departs one elite defense for a long-term deal with another.
We also knew that Howie Roseman really doesn’t like paying running backs. Miles Sanders secured a four-year deal in Carolina worth around $6M per season. The Eagles are paying their entire committee for a similar price – an approach that has remained the same since the DeMarco Murray debacle.
Losing Marcus Epps was a tough blow. He’s like Tequila, you either love him or tolerate him because the end result is usually good as much as you hate to admit it. He was a starter and a vital part of the teams’ run-defense. Reed Blankenship looked good in relief of CJGJ last year, but the Eagles will need some reinforcements if the former Saint does sign elsewhere.
Re-signed in Philly:
Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Jason Kelce, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Boston Scott, Brett Toth
The fact that Howie Roseman was able to bring back both cornerbacks is absolutely huge, but it does create a clouded picture for the time being. With the 10th overall pick, the Eagles were absolutely in play for Christian Gonzalez or a multitude of top-tier corners. They still could be and may even opt to pick up more assets on a trade back. But if they do pick a corner, or a DT for that matter, they’re probably not going to start right away, which bring both a blessing or a curse.
Jason Kelce’s return gives the Eagles another guaranteed year of elite center play. He’s the highest-paid center in the NFL and for good reason. The offense will keep the majority of its key pieces going into 2023 and that’s dangerous news for the rest of the league.
Players yet to sign elsewhere
Gardner Minshew, Isaac Seumalo, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Tyree Jackson, Zach Pascal, Linval Joseph, Rick Lovato, Ndamukong Suh, Robert Quinn
Perhaps the most surprising name on this list is Isaac Seumalo. He’s 29-years-old, played the RG spot brilliantly last year and spent his entire career before that playing as a very serviceable LG. Could he return to the Eagles?
It’s a possibility, but not a probability. With Jason Kelce now back at the NovaCare Complex, the Eagles can’t afford to keep Cam Jurgens under wraps for another year. He’ll get a fair crack at the vacant RG spot, but signing Seumalo back if the market dries up would be a great insurance policy.
The other key name is obviously Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. He’s spent most of the last few days stressing out as many people as he can on Twitter but the market for safeties appears to be drying up. This could lead to CJGJ coming back on a much cheaper deal, looking to prove his worth once again before the big-time extension next year. But if we’re to go off of his series of rampant tweets, frankly anything is possible at this point and he isn’t happy about it.
Even so, the rest of these names are expendable. The Eagles have done a fantastic job in bringing back the players who they would’ve hated to see walk away (CJGJ aside), and all without too much in the way of cap-space.
Howie Roseman has earned his flowers after the opening week of free agency, but the party aint over yet!
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire