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January 23, 2019

Eagles stay or go: Defensive ends

Eagles NFL

The Philadelphia Eagles' 2018 season is over, and there will be a lot of interesting decisions made on the players currently on the roster, perhaps more so than in most years. Let's take a position-by-position look at who will likely be back with the team in 2019, and who won't. 

Previous stay or go positional analysis

Quarterback Running back Wide receiver | Tight end

Offensive tackle | Interior offensive line

Today we'll look at the defensive ends.

Brandon Graham

The last time Graham was a free agent, a strong market didn't develop for him, and he returned to the team. It's a good thing he did, as he produced the single greatest defensive play in the history of the franchise.

Graham is still a very good starter who plays a premium position. He is very likely to see much more attractive offers this time around in free agency, and it could be difficult for the salary cap-strapped Eagles to match them. It's possible that Graham isn't blown away by an offer, as there a number of good defensive ends set to become free agents this offseason, and maybe he takes a (small) hometown discount. 

Still, I believe that is wishful thinking, from the perspective of the Eagles.

#JimmyVerdict: Go. I think Graham does indeed get a lucrative offer elsewhere that the Eagles can't approach, and he walks.

Your verdict:

Derek Barnett

Barnett is a good, young, up-and-coming defensive end who was having a strong season before he injured his shoulder. He'll obviously be back for his third season in Philly, and has a chance to make a big leap.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict:

Michael Bennett

Bennett was the Eagles' most productive edge rusher last season (9 sacks, 2 forced fumbles), and he's under contract in 2019 with a cap charge of $7,000,000, which is a bargain, even at the age of 33.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict:

Chris Long

Like Bennett, Long is an aging, but still productive pass rusher. He'll turn 34 in March, but still managed to produce 6.5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles in a rotational role in 2018. At $5,600,000 in 2019, I think the Eagles would be more than happy to have him back. It's only a matter of whether or not Long decides to call it a career.

#JimmyVerdict: Since it's very difficult to predict if Long wants to keep playing, we'll look at it from the Eagles' perspective and say he'll stay.

Your verdict:

Josh Sweat

The Eagles drafted Sweat in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, as an athletic freak of nature with injury concerns. An ankle injury suffered in December was serious enough to land Sweat on injured reserve, when the Eagles were already light on defensive end depth. 

#JimmyVerdict: Stay. The Eagles will continue to develop Sweat, but his injury during the 2018 season did nothing to quell those concerns.

Your verdict:

Daeshon Hall

Hall was added to the roster after Sweat went on IR, and in very limited action, he actually made a few plays, both with the regular defense and on special teams. 

#JimmyVerdict: He'll be in camp in 2019, and will have an opportunity to make the team, but he's far from a lock.

Your verdict:

#JimmyVerdict Stay or Go Results

Green = Stay

Red = Go

Orange = Will be back in camp in 2019, but a roster spot is not guaranteed

(Note: Some mobile versions will not display colors.)

 QBCarson Wentz Nick Foles Nate Sudfeld  
 RB Jay AjayiCorey Clement Darren Sproles  
 RB (cont.)Wendell Smallwood Josh Adams Boston Scott  
 WR Alshon JefferyMike Wallace  Nelson AgholorGolden Tate 
 WR (cont.)Mack Hollins Shelton Gibson Jordan Matthews  
 TE Zach ErtzDallas Goedert Richard Rodgers Josh Perkins 
 OT Jason PetersLane Johnson Halapoulivaati Vaitai Jordan Mailata 
 OGBrandon Brooks Isaac Seumalo Chance Warmack Matt Pryor 
 C Jason KelceStefen Wisniewski   
 DEBrandon Graham Derek Barnett Michael Bennett Chris Long 
 DE (cont.)Josh Sweat Daeshon Hall   
 Head coach    
 Offensive coordinator    
 Defensive coordinator    

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