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March 18, 2020

Live NFL free agency updates: Another Eagles target, CB Chris Harris, is off the board

UPDATE [4:10 p.m.] — The new year has begin for the league, but due to coronavirus, signings may not trickle in as quickly as we are used to from previous seasons. That's because teams will not have results from physicals for a little while with many players and staffers working from home or self-quarantined.

Still, it hasn't stopped the NFL from producing some monster headlines this week. The Eagles have yet to make a big splash as far as acquisitions go (other than DT Javon Hargrave) — and they saw another one slip away as cornerback Chris Harris Jr. went to the Chargers shortly after the new league year passed.

Perhaps the team wasn't interested at all, despite reports, as the Eagles are clearly demonstrating they are abandoning their "old guy strategy" and trying to get younger. Harris is 31. We'll see if they pounce on anyone today or if they hang back and wait for some value later as free agency continues on.

Yes, we know, spending time thinking about the players a particular team did not wind up singing or trading for is a slippery slope and really is good for nothing. 

The Eagles are making controversial moves thus far in free agency, and it's a bit confusing to figure out why they, say, decided to let Malcolm Jenkins walk and didn't try and keep Jordan Howard at a reasonable number. Or why they ponied up $39 million for a defensive tackle they technically didn't even need.

However, one other abstention for Howie Roseman and the Eagles front office is harder to take. They were not willing, apparently, to make a move for Deandre Hopkins, who was traded to Arizona for just a second-rounder and David Johnson. They did inquire about Hopkins, however, but apparently didn't think it was worth the cost, both in terms of compensation to the Texans and in terms of the new deal that Hopkins will likely be getting from the Cardinals.

Here's more from Adam Schefter's appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic this morning:

“The Texans did speak to the Eagles at one point about DeAndre Hopkins. And I think the Eagles decided at this point in this time, with everything that you were going to have to do, you were going to have to pay the Texans, you were going to have to pay Hopkins a new contract, give up compensation ... I think they decided that that wasn’t the right move. Now, I don’t know if that’s because this is maybe the deepest draft at wide receiver there is ever, or if they liked what they had, or if they had other ideas in mind. I don’t know why. But for whatever reason, I think they believe it wasn’t worth it. So, they did have conversations there.”  [h/t]

Hopkins current deal, considering his talent, is quite reasonable — he has a cap hit of $12.5 million, with two more in the $13 million range remaining on his contract for 2021 and 2022. He is 27 years old.

One problem is the Eagles have a lot of money already tied up in the wide receiver position. They have cap hits of $15.7 million for Alshon Jeffery and $8.6 million for DeSean Jackson. This sobering fact is frustrating for fans, who are simply waiting for the team to suck it up and cut ties with Jeffery despite the money they'll lose in dead cap space. 

The other issue is what the Eagles would've had to give up in terms of assets, which would've included draft picks. With so many talented wide receivers expected to be available, perhaps Roseman simply didn't want to give up any of the draft ammunition he has collected and possibly plans to use to move up to get his guy.

The Eagles have a variety of needs as free agency officially begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday, including cornerback, safety, running back and of course wide receiver. Will they be the team to make headlines today, or will it be someone else?

Follow along all day with every piece of news during what is sure to be an interesting first day of the new league year right here with our open thread and live stream below:

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