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March 16, 2015

Are the Eagles better or worse? A position-by-position look

Eagles NFL
031615EaglesTrainingCamp Matt Rourke/AP

"Put your hands up if you're still under contract with the Eagles. Not so fast, everyone except Dennis Kelly."

Over the last two weeks, the Eagles may have been the busiest team in the NFL, as Chip Kelly has turned the roster over to an extreme degree in his first offseason with full control over personnel decisions.


The Eagles likely aren't done, and we'll probably see them make some minor moves between now and the draft. But now that the initial free agency frenzy is over, let's take a look if the Eagles are better now than they were a a few weeks ago at each position.


The Eagles wasted no time making headlines minutes after the official new league lyear began at 4pm on March 10th, when they traded Nick Foles to the Rams for Sam Bradford. Here's a snapshot of the deal:

Eagles get Rams get 
 Sam BradfordNick Foles 
 2015 5th round pick2015 4th round pick 
 3rd or 4th round pick in 2016 if Bradford gets hurt 2016 2nd round pick 

#JudgeJimmy says: The Eagles traded their extremely cheap starting QB and a 2nd round pick for a QB coming off a pair of torn ACLs with limited success when he was healthy, who will cost about $13 million against the cap in 2015. Is Bradford better than Nick Foles? Maybe. But considering the difference in cap hits between the two players, the deal in its entirety makes the team as a whole worse.

...unless this move was a precursor to something else. Until then... Potentially better at QB itself, worse overall.

Running back

The Eagles traded LeSean McCoy to the Bills for ILB Kiko Alonso. They then signed former Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray and former Chargers RB Ryan Mathews.

In Out 
 DeMarco MurrayLeSean McCoy 
 Ryan Mathews 

#JudgeJimmy says: It's difficult to imagine trading an elite runner like LeSean McCoy, and somehow ending up better at running back, but that's what the Eagles did. Better.

Wide Receiver

Every year, there's some idiot team that wildly overpays for a wide receiver. This year that was the Chiefs, who handed Jeremy Maclin an asinine 5 year, $55 million deal. 

In Out 
Nobody Jeremy Maclin 

#JudgeJimmy says: The Eagles were right not to overextend themselves with Maclin, but the fallout is that the Eagles are left with Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, and Josh Huff at receiver. Maclin is certainly not an elite receiver, but he is a very good one and the Eagles currently don't have a replacement for him. Clearly worse.

Tight end

The Eagles' first noteworthy move of the offseason was to release TE James Casey.

In Out 
 NobodyJames Casey 

#JudgeJimmy says: Casey was mostly a special teams contributor, but he had his occasional moments in the regular offense. Worse, I guess, but we're not talking about a huge loss here.

Offensive line

The Eagles released long time Eagle Todd Herremans, and are rumored to have Evan Mathis on the trading block. They also targeted former Broncos OG Orlando Franklin, but lost out to the Chargers for his services.

In Out 
 NobodyTodd Herremans 

#JudgeJimmy says: The offensive line was already a big need before they released Herremans, and that will only accelerate if they trade Mathis. Worse.

Defensive line

This is the only position on the team where there was no action, unless you count restricted free agent Cedric Thornton being tendered at the 2nd round level.

In Out 
Nobody Nobody 

#JudgeJimmy says: No change.

Outside linebacker

The Eagles released long time Eagle Trent Cole, but they were able to agree to a long term deal with Brandon Graham.

In Out 
Nobody Trent Cole 

#JudgeJimmy says: There was no way the Eagles were bringing Trent Cole back at his cap number, so they did the right thing by letting him go, but the Eagles are now thin at OLB. Worse, but Cole was a declining player. 

Inside linebacker

The Eagles received Kiko Alonso in return for LeSean McCoy. They also signed former Packers ILB Brad Jones.

In Out 
 Kiko AlonsoNobody 
 Brad Jones 

#JudgeJimmy says: The Eagles are now stacked at ILB. They have a Alonso, Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans, and Jones under contract. The Eagles will have a decision to make on Kendricks and Ryans. Do they bring back Ryans in 2015? If not they'll save $6.9 million off their cap. If so, I would imagine the Eagles will look to re-do Ryans' deal, and then trade Kendricks. Whatever way they go, they have talent and flexibility here. Better.


Byron Maxwell was clearly a primary target of the Eagles, and they pounced on him quickly when the "legal tampering" period of free agency began. They also signed former Oregon Duck Walter Thurmond to compete with Brandon Boykin and Nolan Carroll on the outside, or so Chip Kelly says.

In Out 
 Byron MaxwellCary Wiliams 
Walter Thurmond Bradley Fletcher 

#JudgeJimmy says: Maxwell is an upgrade over Williams, and a tackling dummy is an upgrade over Fletcher. Better.


The Eagles targeted Devin McCourty in free agency, but came up empty, and then seemingly sat on the sidelines for the rest of the free agent safety options. They also lost free agent Nate Allen to the Raiders.

In Out 
Nobody Nate Allen 

#JudgeJimmy says: Oof. The lack of a free agent safety to this point hurts, but the market for safeties is completely out of control. For example, Allen signed an absurd 4 year, $23 million deal. Meanwhile, Ron Parker has three career INTs and he signed a 5 year, $25 million deal. That just goes to show how desperate teams are for safeties, as it is perhaps the worst performing position in the NFL. It seems unimaginable that the Eagles could get worse at safety, but when you consider that they didn't add anyone, and the market has shaped up the way it has, the Eagles may actually be worse off than they were before. Worse.

Total tally (although to be fair, they're probably not done)

Better: 4

Worse: 5

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski