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August 08, 2021

A look at the Eagles' 2022 free agents, and who could be in-season contract extension candidates

The Philadelphia Eagles have, by my count, 42 players playing on the final year of their contracts. Obviously, some of those players are more important than others. Here we'll put those 42 soon-to-be free agents into various buckets, and analyze which of them the Eagles should be interested in keeping in Philly, long-term.

Potential long-term pieces at premium positions

The Eagles have three young players at premium positions that would make sense for long-term contract extensions.

  1. LT Jordan Mailata (24)
  2. DE Josh Sweat (24)
  3. DE Derek Barnett (25)

At LT, the Eagles tried to find Jason Peters' long-term successor in the 2019 draft when they traded up for Andre Dillard. While Dillard hasn't panned out so far, Mailata, a seventh-round pick in 2018, has developed into starting-caliber left tackle who still hasn't reached his ceiling. Mailata has had a great training camp after an encouraging 2020 season. Should Mailata continue to show improvement during the 2021 season, the Eagles should seriously consider thinking of him as Peters' long-term successor instead.

At DE, Brandon Graham is now 33 years old, and Ryan Kerrigan will turn 33 next week. Barnett has had something of a disappointing start to his career, at least for a former 14th overall pick. If he can stay healthy and put together a productive season, the Eagles will try to get a contract extension done with him, like they did this past offseason, to no avail. 

Sweat, meanwhile, like Mailata, has had an outstanding training camp, and after a semi-breakout season in 2020 in which he had six sacks and three forced fumbles, he could be poised for a big year in 2021.

Potential long-term pieces at non-premium positions

The players in the bucket above are going to get premium dollars if they were to get an in-season deal done, because they play premium positions. The Eagles should be interested in extending non-premium position players as well, but only at reasonable, team-friendly costs.

  1. TE Dallas Goedert (26)

Goedert is a well-rounded tight end, but he has not yet had a big season as a receiver, at least statistically. He acknowledged that the team has engaged with him on contract extension discussions.

If the Eagles could get a deal done with Goedert sooner than later, based on his production the last three years, that might be the smart play, as he has the potential to be much more productive. 

Recent acquisitions playing for their next contract

These three players hit the open market this past offseason, and were likely disappointed with the interest they received around the league. They signed "prove it" one-year deals with the Eagles.

  1. LB Eric Wilson (26)
  2. S Anthony Harris (29)
  3. CB Steve Nelson (28)

In 2017, Alshon Jeffery signed a "prove it" one-year deal at a discount rate, had a good start to the season, and received an in-season contract extension. I believe that could be on the table for any of Wilson, Harris, and Nelson if they prove to be valuable players. 

Useful role players perhaps worth extending by a year

This bucket consists of players who aren't ever likely to break the bank in free agency, but the team likes them and would theoretically like to have them around a little longer. 

  1. CB Craig James (25)

James is a good special teams player who was playing on the last year of his deal last year, when he signed a small one-year contract extension in September that included some guaranteed money. That could happen again this year, on the assumption he makes the team (which is not a guarantee).


In this bucket, you have a group of players who are very unlikely to warrant an in-season contract extension, and their status with the team will be reevaluated at the end of the season.

  1. CB Avonte Maddox (25)
  2. S Rodney McLeod (31)
  3. LB Genard Avery (26)
  4. DT Hassan Ridgeway (26)
  5. TE Richard Rodgers (29)
  6. OL Le'Raven Clark (28)

I struggled with where to put Maddox, but settled on this group.

One-year Band-Aids

The Eagles felt like they needed these guys to fill out their roster, but at their older ages, are not destined for a long-term stay.

  1. QB Joe Flacco (36)
  2. DE Ryan Kerrigan (32)

I would say that Kerrigan's chances for a second year in Philly are better than Flacco's.

Just trying to stay in the league

Roster bubble players:

  1. QB Nick Mullens (26)
  2. RB Jordan Howard (26)
  3. RB Kerryon Johnson (24)
  4. CB Kevon Seymour (27)
  5. S Andrew Adams (28)
  6. DT T.Y. McGill (28)

Of that group, I like Johnson's chances the best in terms of making the team.

Restricted free agents worth tendering, depending on 2021 production

RFAs are players with only three accrued seasons with expiring contracts. If the team tenders them, they will get a modest bump in pay for one season, before becoming unrestricted free agents. 

  1. LB Alex Singleton (27)
  2. LB T.J. Edwards (24)
  3. OL Nate Herbig (23)
  4. WR Travis Fulgham (25)
  5. WR Greg Ward (26)
  6. RB Boston Scott (26)

The above six players should warrant at least a tender discussion at the end of the season, but they are not candidates for long-term contract extensions.

Restricted free agents, unlikely to be tendered

More accurately, these guys aren't likely to make the team.

  1. S Obi Melifonwu (27)
  2. OL Ross Pierschbaher (26)

Exclusive rights free agents

ERFAs are players with only two accrued seasons with expiring contracts. The team can opt to keep them for an additional year at the end of the season, and continue to pay them peanuts.

  1. OG Sua Opeta (24)
  2. CB Michael Jacquet (24)
  3. C Luke Juriga (24)
  4. S Elijah Riley (23)
  5. OT Brett Toth (24)
  6. DT Raequan Williams (24)
  7. S Grayland Arnold (23)
  8. OT Casey Tucker (25)
  9. TE Caleb Wilson (25)
  10. WR Michael Walker (24)
  11. WR Andre Patton (27)

These guys aren't even eligible for a long-term contract extension.

Trade bait

We continue to wait.

  1. TE Zach Ertz (30)

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