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March 24, 2022

What they're saying: Eagles get passing grades for offseason so far

Haason Reddick was the Eagles' biggest and only real splash on the market

Eagles NFL

It's been just over a week since the 2022 league year began and free agency opened. Most of the big signings and trades have already been made, as teams begin ramping up their focus toward the NFL Draft next month.

The Eagles made a big splash with their pass rush, signing Haason Reddick to a three-year contract, and made a series of smaller deals to keep the core of the roster intact. Plus one really confusing move that had Fletcher Cox get cut and then re-signed, but still to a massive cap hit...I don't know. Anyway, with three first-round draft picks, and 10 in total, to use next month, it's easy to argue that there really wasn't much reason to go all out in the free agent and trade markets (well, unless you bought into any of the rumors involving the available quarterbacks).

Our own Jimmy Kempski recapped what he considered a boring first week of Eagles free agency, which you can check out HERE. (Note that this article went up before the Zach Pascal and Derek Barnett signings.)

But how do the Eagles' moves look from a national perspective? Based on report cards from a handful of outlets, they grade out pretty modestly. You can even give the team a grade yourself down at the end of this article. 

Here's what they're saying about the Eagles' free agency moves (again, minus the Barnett deal):

An appetizer

Mike Tanier | Football Outsiders

Via the Football Outsiders, the Eagles made all solid moves, but the draft is really going to be where they do their damage. 

Improved Roster: B
Used Resources Well: B+
Coherent Plan: A
Overall Grade: B+

The Eagles added a top-tier edge rusher in Haason Reddick and a viable WR2/WR3 in Zach Pascal while restructuring Fletcher Cox and Darius Slay to stay solvent. The departures of Alex Singleton and Hassan Ridgeway won't matter much.

Free agency was just an appetizer for a draft where three first-round picks are the main course. The Eagles were wise to neither gorge themselves nor purge when it wasn't necessary. [Football Outsiders]

Cap magic

Vinnie Iyer | Sporting News

Over at the Sporting News, it was all about Howie Roseman working his salary cap magic, while still being able to afford Reddick.

Grade: B

Key re-signings: DT Fletcher Cox, RB Boston Scott, S Anthony Harris, WR Greg Ward

Key additions: EDGE Haason Reddick, WR Zach Pascal

Key losses: EDGE Derek Barnett, DT Hassan Ridgeway, LB Alex Singleton, DE/LB Genard Avery, G Brandon Brooks, S Rodney McLeod, CB Steven Nelson, EDGE Ryan Kerrigan

The Eagles had to work some good cap magic with extended GM Howie Roseman and still got one of the most impactful free agents in former Temple star Reddick. They also moved on from fading players.[Sporting News]

A splash is a splash

Patrik Walker | CBS Sports

The Eagles may have made the only splash in the NFC East (for the right reasons) with Reddick, but it's still a splash, right?

Eagles: C

Biggest acquisition: Haason Reddick, LB

Of the four teams in the division, the most impressive (and, really, the only) splash exists in Philadelphia. Their decision to award Reddick a three-year deal can only be viewed in the moment as a great idea, especially given the compensation vs. previous production formula, with Reddick still being one of the better pass rushers in the NFL. He'll join a defense that was able to release but then re-sign team legend Fletcher Cox to a smaller contract for cap reasons (well played, Mr. Roseman) and with Anthony Harris retained on a one-year deal -- keeping a starting safety in tow -- to make for a still solid defense in combination with Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham. 

The offense gets Zach Pascal and Boston Scott on paper to aid Jalen Hurts, and it just feels like while the Eagles aren't off to their usually explosive start to free agency, they're currently winning the race of the four one-legged horses. [CBS Sports]

A(-) for the pass rush

Connor Orr | Sports Illustrated

Again, Reddick is the biggest, and only real highlight to go over here. A definite boost to the pass rush for a team that struggled to get after the QB last season. Only thing is Derek Barnett will still be there, as we just found out.

GRADE: A–

The Eagles landed some pass-rushing talent to supplant the (chosen) loss of Derek Barnett in free agency. The former situational inside linebacker turned deadly outside rusher, who played on more than 80% of the Panthers’ snaps last year, adds a different dimension for the Eagles than they’ve had previously. In the era of simulated pressure, Reddick is athletic enough to approach the line and drift back into coverage to cloud throwing lanes. He’ll immediately improve Philadelphia’s prospects against a lineup of quarterbacks in the NFC East that are positively feastworthy outside of Dak Prescott (who is strangely one of the most-blitzed quarterbacks in the NFL). He could easily be in for his third straight double-digit sack season. Philadelphia was 21st in pressure percentage last season, and if the Eagles intend to continue blitzing at the paltry 16% rate they did a year ago, they’ll need a spark such as Reddick. [Sports Illustrated]

War chest intact

Sam Monson | Pro Football Focus

Reddick, once again, great move. Retaining depth players, all around solid. Bringing back Fletcher Cox, well, PFF doesn't exactly dance around the thought that he's on the decline. 

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: AVERAGE

The Eagles' lone significant addition thus far is edge rusher Haason Reddick, who signed a three-year, $45 million contract to bolster their pass rush. Reddick is a former first-round draft pick who was miscast as an off-ball linebacker early in his career before being reborn on the edge — where he always belonged. At just 6-foot-1 and a listed 235 pounds, Reddick is always going to be an undersized edge defender, but that gives him speed and quickness that is hard to match up with. He recorded 100 pressures over the past two seasons and helps replace some of the heat Philadelphia's defensive line has lost in recent years.

Retaining depth players, including tight end Richard Rodgers and offensive lineman Nate Herbig, doesn’t hurt, and the Eagles have also made late moves to re-sign Boston Scott in the backfield and Anthony Harris at safety. Overall, this is a team that has largely kept its war chest intact. 

Cutting Fletcher Cox was a move made inevitable by his massive salary and decline in play recently, but the team brought him back on a one-year deal. After a run in which he was arguably the best interior defender in the NFL after Aaron Donald, Cox has seen his PFF grade drop from above 90.0 to 74.1 in 2020 and then 68.7 in 2021. He notched fewer pressures in those two seasons combined than in 2018 at his peak. 

Philadelphia is also saying goodbye to a good portion of its defensive snaps from last season as of now, so more replacements should be on the way. [Pro Football Focus]

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