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March 09, 2016

Eagles free agency rumor tracker

Eagles NFL
030916HowieRoseman Michael Perez/AP

This is Howie do it.

A year ago, almost immediately after free agency kicked off, reports emerged that that the Eagles were making a major trade to acquire Sam Bradford. Shortly thereafter, the Eagles announced that they had dealt Nick Foles, a second round pick, and other draft pick compensation to the Rams for Bradford. 

At 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, expect a frenzy of activity around the league, as the NFL's free agency period will begin. Here are the rumors surrounding the Eagles on the morning of free agency, which we'll update as the day wears on. So bookmark!

Eagles sign a third Buffalo Bill, CB Ron Brooks (8:11 p.m.)

It's Billadelphia, I suppose. The Eagles announced they signed CB Ron Brooks to a three year deal. Brooks was mostly a special teams player in Buffalo, with 18 special teams tackles over the last two seasons, and is known as a big hitter. A mild concern was that the Eagles might begin to neglect special teams with Chip Kelly gone, but the Eagles have signed two special teams standouts - Leodis McKelvin and Brooks - by the end of the first day of free agency.

This makes special teams coach Dave Fipp happy.

Eagles reportedly agree to terms with LB Nigel Bradham (7:58 p.m.)

According to Peter Schrager of FOX Sports, the Eagles have brought in Buffalo Bill number two, after signing CB Leodis McKelvin a day ago. That would be LB Nigel Bradham.

Like McKelvin, Bradham had his best season under Schwartz in 2014 when he had 104 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, an INT, and 7 pass breakups. He'll replace Kiko Alonso, and will likely play the SAM position in the new Eagles 4-3 defense.

Full story here.

Fletcher Cox checks in (5:36)

It would appear Fletcher is enjoying watching players not as good as him getting paid record deals.

Sam Bradford is will not just be handed the starting quarterback job (5:14 p.m.)

Well this is interesting. According to Albert Breer of NFL Network, Chase Daniel will have an opportunity to win the starting quarterback job.

Chase Daniel will have a built-in advantage in training camp too, seeing as he already knows Doug Pederson's offense. Do you enjoy every day over-analysis of quarterbacks in training camp? If not, apologies in advance.

Eagles reportedly sign Texans OG Brandon Brooks (3:53 p.m.)

The Eagles keep loading up on positions of need, as they have agreed to terms with former Texans OG Brandon Brooks on a five-year deal worth $40 million, per Ian Rapoport on NFL Network.

Offensive guard was as glaring a need as you'll find on the Eagles' roster, and they find an immediate starter in Brooks, who who likely play at RG for the Birds.

Full story here.

The Eagles can still trade Sam Bradford (2:45 p.m.)

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Eagles could still trade Sam Bradford and essentially transfer his contract to another team with no penalty:

Per a source with knowledge of the deal, the first $5.5 million installment of Bradford’s $11 million signing bonus isn’t due until March 18, 2016. The second is due on or before September 1, 2016. So the Eagles have yet to pay Bradford a penny; they could transfer his entire contract to a new team.

It’s not unusual for contracts to contain a lag between the signing of a contract and the payment of the signing bonus. But with the Eagles reportedly reaching a deal with quarterback Chase Daniel and with the terms of Daniel’s deal on complete and total lockdown until 4:00 p.m. ET at the earliest, it’s entirely possible that the Eagles will do what Bradford feared they’d do if he had signed an extension after arriving via trade a year ago — abruptly flip him to another team, like the Browns or the Texans or the 49ers.

I'll also add that the Eagles just moved up to the number eight spot in the draft, which would obviously increase their chances of landing one of the top two quarterbacks in this draft, Cal's Jared Goff or North Dakota State's Carson Wentz.

This scenario wouldn't be all that different from the concept of a tag-and-trade, which we hypothesized on earlier this offseason.

Obviously, the chances of anything like this actually happening are extremely low, but let's just go ahead and squeeze every last bit of life out of the Bradford story-line as we can.

Eagles agree to terms with Rams S Rodney McLeod (1:14 p.m.)

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, McLeod will get paid.

McLeod, like Chase Daniel below, is one of 15 free agent targets we identified earlier this week. In my opinion he is an upgrade over Walter Thurmond at safety.

Full story here.

Eagles reportedly agree to terms with Chiefs QB Chase Daniel (12:32 p.m.)

This, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN:

Our full story is here.

First report of the trade compensation for DeMarco Murray (12:28 p.m.)

According to Geoff Mosher, the Eagles will be swapping fourth round picks with the Tennessee Titans in return for trading DeMarco Murray.

The Titans select second in the fourth round. The Eagles' original pick is 15th in the fourth round. That is a move, if my math is on point, of 13 spots. If indeed Mosh has the compensation correct, the Eagles will have the advantage of a full night to consider their options, as they'll have the second overall pick on Day 3 of the draft.

The Eagles getting anything in return for DeMarco Murray and his hideous contract is a major win. 

Byron Maxwell's agent announces he is cleared by doctors (10:59 a.m.)

Alvin Keels of Paramount Sports and Entertainment, the firm that represents Byron Maxwell, has tweeted that the Miami Dolphins' staff has cleared Maxwell.

That will clear the way for the Eagles-Dolphins trade to commence. We have the full story here.

Conflicting reports on Eagles-Dolphins trade (10:04 a.m.)

Albert Breer of NFL Network (who is stationed at the NovaCare Complex) says the deal is still likely to go through in some form:

However, Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel says the deal is falling apart.


Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel is still in play

The Eagles may have re-signed Sam Bradford to a two-year deal, but they may still have interest in Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports.

Because of his history with Doug Pederson in Kansas City, Daniel was previously thought to be a logical target if Bradford did not return to the Eagles. However, he may still make sense as a backup option if he does not find much in the way of solid opportunities around the league to be a starter.

In that scenario, from Daniel's perspective, he could look at the injury-prone Bradford and reason that the Eagles are the most likely path to playing time. As an added bonus, in Philly, Daniel would not have to learn a new playbook under former Chiefs offensive coordinator and current Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.

Speaking at the Combine, Pederson was asked about Mark Sanchez's standing with the team.

"He’s another veteran guy that you’d like to have at the backup quarterback position," said Pederson. "We had a guy in Kansas City that was a backup in Chase Daniel. I was a backup years ago. In today’s football, it helps to have two guys because of the attack style of defenses and the fact that quarterbacks sometimes can’t stay healthy for 16 games. So having a guy like that on your roster gives you that cushion."

Pederson not only said nothing positive about Sanchez, he mentioned Daniel. Sanchez is scheduled to count for $5.5 million against the Eagles' salary cap in 2016. They would save $3.5 million of that if they cut him, $4.5 million if they were able to trade him. Even with Howie Roseman successfully dumping DeMarco Murray and (possibly) Byron Maxwell's contracts, I wouldn't hold your breath on Roseman finding a sucker to trade for Sanchez.

Eagles will take 'next to nothing' for RB Ryan Mathews?

According to CBS' Jason LaCanfora, Howie Roseman is willing to deal RB Ryan Mathews for peanuts.

Roseman is motivated to pawn off running back Ryan Mathews as well, I continue to hear, and will probably take next to nothing to move him. They may be positioned to draft a back in the first round, and I would not be surprised at all if the takes the future cash and cap savings from shipping off Murray and Maxwell and invests it in an extension for Fletcher Cox and perhaps a free-agent corner as well (he’s dabbled in that market with some regularity).

Previously, Mathews was said to be on the trading block, but that was before the team was able to deal DeMarco Murray. LaCanfora's report comes after that deal was completed.

Mathews was good last season when he was healthy. He gained 539 yards and scored six touchdowns on 106 carries (5.1 yards per carry), and was far more effective than Murray. However, as he has over the entire course of his career, Mathews was unable to consistently stay healthy.

Mathews is scheduled to head into the season with a salary cap number of $4 million. The Eagles will save $2 million of that if they trade him. He would count for $2 million against the cap in dead money.

For a savings of just $2 million, you would think that the Eagles would have to get something more than "next to nothing" in return for Mathews for a trade to make sense unless there's something about Mathews we don't know.

Trade compensation for Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso is now known

The Eagles-Dolphins deal for Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso is in serious jeopardy after the Dolphins became concerned with Maxwell's shoulder. We'll be on that all day as necessary, but for now, let's discuss the return compensation.

Rumors started flying yesterday that the Eagles were swapping first round picks with the Miami Dolphins -- the Eagles would move to pick number 8 from pick number 13 -- and the Dolphins would also be sending a fourth round pick as well. Jeff Darlington on NFL Network reported that those rumors were partially correct.

That means that the trade would essentially look like this:

Eagles get Dolphins get 
 8th overall pick13th overall pick 
  Byron Maxwell
  Kiko Alonso

A move to pick number 8 would open up all kinds of possibilities for the Eagles if Roseman can work through this mess. A move from 13 to 8 is worth approximately a high 3rd round draft pick, according to the draft value chart.

Brandon Boykin interested in returning to the Eagles?

Appearing on a Sports Illustrated podcast, Brandon Boykin said he wouldn't rule out a return to Philly. Josh Paulnil of Birds 24/7 on the transcription:

"I wouldn't be opposed to going back to Philadelphia," Boykin said yesterday. "That's where I was drafted. We'll see what happens as far as the communication with them. Seeing as they got rid of their corner, Byron Maxwell, who I got to know a good amount before I got traded. I don't know what their M.O. is or what they're trying to do, but it wouldn't be something I would rule out for sure."

That would make sense. The Eagles can't really know what JaCorey Shepard will be in 2016 after tearing an ACL during 2015 training camp, and it's unknown how much the current regime will value him. From 2012-2014, Boykin proved to be a very good slot corner for the Eagles, and he is obviously someone who Howie Roseman once drafted.

Eagles may have interest in Bills LB Nigel Bradham

We've already seen the Eagles sign one former Buffalo Bill in Leodis McKelvin. They may also have interest in linebacker Nigel Bradham, according to Jeff McLane of the Inquirer.

Bradham, like McKelvin, had the best season of his career in 2014 playing under Jim Schwartz. He had 104 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, an INT, and 7 pass breakups that season. He would likely fill the SAM role vacated by Kiko Alonso, who is almost certainly not going to be a starter with the Eagles this season, even if his trade to the Dolphins falls through.

Another name to watch at linebacker is the Lions' Tahir Whitehead, who also played for Schwartz in Detroit.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski