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February 09, 2017

Eagles Mailbag: Could free agent WR Kenny Stills be more affordable than anticipated?

Eagles NFL

During our weekly Eagles chat, there were a lot of questions that I couldn't get to in time as well as some recent unanswered email, so let's do a chat overflow mailbag post.

Question from Alex: I saw a report from Miami beat writer that Stills is looking at a five-year deal worth 30M with 12.5M guaranteed. Think he is worth that for the Eagles?

Is Kenny Stills worth $6 million per year in comparison to what you'll have to overpay for really any wide receiver this year? Hell, yes, he is. Unfortunately, he's going to get offers far better than that.

Take Mohamed Sanu, for example. In 2015, he played all 16 games and had 33 catches for 394 yards and no touchdowns. The Falcons then gave him a five-year deal worth $32.5 million, with $14 million guaranteed. He was 26 at the time.

In 2016, Stills had 42 receptions for 726 yards and 9 touchdowns, and his overall career stats are much better than Sanu's. Stills is 24. He's going to get paid.

Question from Bill (via email): Why haven't we heard about a pay cut from Chase Daniel, second-highest paid backup just behind Romo? Just saying.

It's certainly a fair question, seeing as the Eagles are asking Jason Peters to take a pay cut, and Peters is probably a better football player than Daniel, right?

Daniel isn't taking a pay cut. The Eagles just signed him last offseason, and would have $7 million in dead money if they released him. They have no leverage. However, if they could find some team out there who wanted to trade for Daniel, that's a different story. If the Eagles traded Daniel, they would save $6 million, and would only have $2 million in dead money.

I'll also note that the "just saying" part really hammered home the point made in the question.

Question from Hinkie: Do you think the Eagles are set with Seumalo taking over at center, or is guard also a possibility? With the reports that both Kelce and Barbre are on the chopping block, Seumalo could potentially play either spot. It’s possible to get an immediate starter on the interior line, but it’s much easier if you’re not honed in on one position. In other words, you could have centers (Orlosky, Elflein) or guards (Lamp, Feeney, Pocic) in play instead of just one position. Sorry, this is a super long and specific question.

It’s not only super long and specific, but I cleaned it up quite a bit. ;)

It’s also a very good question. That’s the value of Seumalo. When you have a guy who can play multiple positions along the line effectively, it allows you to be more flexible in adding players to your roster. In this case, if you draft a center you think can be an out-of-the-box starter, he can just fill right in at the point with Seumalo staying at LG. If you draft a guard, Seumalo is your center. If a center is the best player on your board when you’re on the clock, you can just take him, as opposed to strictly going after a guard, and vice versa. It opens up more possibilities, as you noted.

Also, I’ll add that this approach isn’t necessarily contingent on moving on from Kelce and Barbre. You’re going to have to replace them soon enough even if they survive one more season.

Question from Dude: How much success of a draft pick is attributable to coaching (i.e. better coaches make players better / use them better)?

Look at Carson Wentz vs. Jared Goff. Wentz had Doug Pederson (former NFL QB, former QB coach, former OC), Frank Reich (former NFL QB, former QB coach, OC), and John DeFilippo (former/current QB coach, former OC).

Meanwhile, Goff had a defensive-minded head coach, an offensive coordinator who was former a tight ends coach, and a quarterback coach with no prior college or NFL experience.

Wentz is very clearly better than Goff, in my opinion, but he also has a far better coaching support system behind him.

Question from Hombre: What’s your opinion on Smallwood? Seems like some people love him, others think he’s not that great.

I'm somewhere in the middle. He has burst and catches the ball well (although they didn't use him much in that regard his rookie season). However, his pass protection has to improve, as does his ball security. He's a work in progress, which is to be expected of a fifth-round pick, but there's something to work with there.

And I’ll be honest. I partially picked this question because I wanted back-to-back questions from “Dude” and “Hombre.”

Question from "Eagles in NC": Rotoworld has Bennie Logan as the eighth-best DT available in free agency. Do you think this will help the Eagles re-sign him, or alternatively, maybe the Eagles make a play for some of those other guys (Hankins, Poe, Baker, Sly Williams, etc.)?

I’ll respectfully disagree with Rotoworld that Bennie is only the eighth-best DT available, but your point is right on that this is a very good group of free agent defensive tackles, unlike most of the other positions. That could hurt Bennie’s bottom line and perhaps help the cash-strapped Eagles get a deal done with him.

That said, I don't think the Eagles will spend on other DTs. It'll likely be Bennie, or nobody.

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