March 20, 2020
Heading into free agency, it was thought that the Philadelphia Eagles would be spenders, and they have been, but there's still plenty of work to do.
On Monday, they agreed to terms with DT Javon Hargrave, a surprise (but reasonable) move that will pay Hargrave $13 million per season, at a position where they they already have heavy financial resources wrapped up in Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson. On Thursday, they made a splash move for CB Darius Slay, parting with a pair of draft picks for the talented corner, and then rewarding him with a contract extension that will result in the Eagles paying him roughly $15 million per season over the next four years.
They have shelled out premium financial resources for potential impact players, but still have glaring holes to fill. Here, we'll look at the work that remains to be done, and who would make sense at each position.
The wide receiver market has been very quiet, which makes sense, considering it's not a great group in free agency, and the 2020 NFL Draft is absolutely stacked with receiver talent. The only two receivers to have gotten lucrative deals so far were a pair of Cowboys, in Amari Cooper, who re-signed with Dallas, and Randall Cobb, who left for Houston.
Eventually, asking prices will come down, and you'll begin to see more movement there. Ideally, the Eagles would find a receiver with some speed, so they won't feel pressured into reaching for a speed receiver in the draft. The three receivers who would make the most sense on that front:
• Robby Anderson, Jets: Anderson's career is on an upward trajectory, despite playing on a Jets team that has had bad quarterback play. In four years, he has 207 catches for 3,059 yards (14.8 YPC) and 20 TDs. Since 2016, only seven receivers have 200+ catches and 14.5 or more yards per catch. They are Julio Jones, Mike Evans, T.Y. Hilton, Tyreek Hill, Brandin Cooks, Marvin Jones, and Anderson.
• Breshad Perriman, Buccaneers: Perriman has 4.24 speed, and he really came on at the end of the 2019 season after Mike Evans went down, catching 25 passes for 506 yards (20.2 YPC) and 5 TDs in the Bucs' final 5 games. He would be a more economical option than Anderson.
• Demarcus Robinson, Chiefs: We'll only note him here because a report from Jeff McLane of the Inquirer suggested the Eagles would have interest in the 25-year-old.
The Eagles re-signed Rodney McLeod, and are reportedly moving Jalen Mills to safety. If that's the plan at safety for the Eagles in 2020, it's shaky, at best, as McLeod was bad in 2019 and Mills' transition from corner to safety will be easier said than done.
Even if that's the case, the belief here is that the Eagles will still be in on safeties, especially since they still need a No. 3 guy. (Marcus Epps and Rudy Ford "ain't it," as the kids say.)
• Will Parks, Broncos: Parks is a Philly guy who the Eagles have reportedly checked in on. He would make sense as that third safety.
By my count, five off-ball linebackers have signed contracts for more than $10 million per year. They would be Kyle Van Noy (Dolphins), Cory Littleton (Raiders), Joe Schobert (Jaguars), Blake Martinez (Giants), and Jamie Collins (Lions). A few others have also found lucrative deals, like De'Vondre Campbell ($8.5M, Cardinals), Nick Kwiatkoski ($7M, Raiders), Christian Kirksey ($6.5M, Packers), and A.J. Klein ($6M, Bills).
The robust market for off-ball linebackers has been better than expected, and unsurprisingly, the Eagles did not overpay for one (though I thought Littleton was worth it, but whatever).
Scanning what's left, there isn't much in the way of players the Eagles could sign who you would immediately pencil in as a starter. The Eagles entered free agency thin at linebacker, and barring an unlikely trade for one, they're going to stay thin there. I would expect the Eagles to address linebacker in the draft, but don't hold your breath on it being with a super-early pick.
I could also certainly see the Eagles adding more help at the following spots:
Don't count on it: