May 10, 2022
We didn't have a chat last week, but I solicited questions and comments from Twitter and via email so that we could still have our weekly mailbag. Let's just get right to it.
Question from Brian Wiora: Given the addition of A.J. Brown, and the presumed development of the rest of the Eagles' offense, what is the minimum that Jalen Hurts has to do to keep his job in 2023?
On paper, the Eagles' offense has a chance to be special in 2022.
The Eagles will need to see drastic improvement in Hurts' accuracy, and to a lesser degree, making the correct reads and getting the ball out more quickly.
More importantly than whatever his numbers are, is he helping maximize the talent around him? If so, the Eagles' offense should be really good and he'll deserve to be crowned as "the guy" in 2023. Or is he still leaving plays on the field that most NFL quarterbacks would make? Obviously those two first-round picks are going to be earmarked for a quarterback if the Eagles think they can upgrade that position, like we saw this offseason when they tried to trade for Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson.
Question from Anthony Ricciuti: What are your thoughts on how realistic it is for the Birds to sign James Bradberry? After giving A.J. Brown big money, is it less likely?
Because the Giants cut Bradberry in May, after free agency and after the draft, a whole lot of teams that previously had needs at cornerback have already filled them. He kind of got screwed. My guess is that he will want to sign a one-year contract with a team that has an open starting spot available so that he can raise his value and hit the open market in 2023. The Eagles found a similar mutually beneficial situation with Steven Nelson a year ago.
Because his pool of potential suitors is narrower than it would have been if he were a free agent in March, Bradberry likely won't break the bank. He was due a salary of $13.4 million in 2022 before the Giants cut him. No teams around the league wanted him at that price, or they'd have ponied up a conditional seventh-round pick to get him. So that's the absolute ceiling for him on a one-year contract. My bet is that he won't cost more than $10 million.
According to the NFLPA's public salary cap report, the Eagles are about $9.3 million under the cap. They need less than $1 million to sign their two lone unsigned draft picks, Cam Jurgens and Nakobe Dean, as explained here. And of course, there's a good bet that if the Eagles signed Bradberry, even if only for one year, the 2022 cap hit would be low, with dummy years tacked onto the end of it.
So yes, they can comfortably fit him in under the cap if they have interest.
Question from Zach Teutsch: There is a lot of talk of odd-man fronts. How would you see that working? With the addition of guys like Jordan Davis and Haason Reddick, how do you see the defense changing?
Brandon Graham was asked that very question last week. Emphasis mine:
"I feel like our run defense has gotten a lot better with a lot of the additions that we have made," he said. "On top of that, we want to get after the quarterback. You got Haason who came in, you got in the draft you got the big boy up the middle, because in the 34 defense you need someone in the middle that can [take on double teams and triple teams]."
That was at the tail end of Graham's presser, and the last couple of questions did not follow up on his mention of the 3-4 defense.
The next time Nick Sirianni spoke, he was asked if the base defense would be a 4-3 or a 3-4, and he declined to answer.
I think that additions like Haason Reddick, Nakobe Dean, and most certainly Jordan Davis make sense for a 3-4, as do some of the long-term players already in place, like Josh Sweat, Milton Williams, and Javon Hargrave. We'll get a better look at the defense in training camp. They won't be able to hide it then.
Question from Michael Ruzzi: After drafting Davis, what odds do you put on the team re-signing Hargrave after this season?
We'll be publishing a look ahead to the Eagles' 2023 free agents soon, but Hargrave is at the top of that list, in terms of importance to the Eagles. He is probably the best candidate on the team for an early contract extension, not just because he's a good player, but also because he currently has the biggest cap number on the team at just under $18 million and a new contract certainly would lower that.
Question from Patrick Yacovelli: Who is more likely to win defensive ROY, Jordan Davis or Nakobe Dean?
I'll take Dean. Even if Davis is a more impactful player, Dean has a better chance of putting up eye-popping numbers.
Question from Reagon: I have an annoying 2023 draft question: Reading the tea leaves of the QB situation around the league, what is the likelihood the Eagles trade up to draft either C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young? If so, will it be even possible given the teams most likely owning top 5 picks need QBs and what will it cost?
I think that one of the under-discussed things that happened in the draft (or perhaps better stated, didn't happen in the draft), was that none of the five teams that have multiple first-round picks in 2023 drafted a quarterback until the seventh round. Those five teams:
There's a good argument to be made that all five of those teams either need a quarterback now, or could in 2023. And yet, those five teams selected a grand total of one quarterback in the 2022 draft. Miami took Skylar Thompson with 235th overall pick.
It feels pretty clear that those teams are stockpiling for a quarterback class in 2023 that is projected to be much better than the 2022 class.
And oh by the way, the Lions, Texans, and Seahawks are all very likely to be bad in 2022. So if Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud are stud prospects likely to go top 5, I'm not sure the Eagles will be a great position to get either one. Their best hope is if the Saints are terrible in 2022.
Question from MassEagle: The front office lost a lot of people. Some are spinning this as the Eagles' front office's ability to "develop talent." In any other business, this would look like everyone is abandoning ship. Why aren't any of these people choosing to stay? Is this really a sign of dysfunction?
I don't think it's "spin," really. The people who left by choice found higher-ranking jobs with other teams. I think there would be a bigger concern if they made lateral moves to other organizations.
Question from Matthew Pecor: I'd like to see a ranking of UDFAs in potentially sticking on the final 53 man roster. I have an unrealistic belief in Reed Blankenship.
My top 6:
Question from Dave Fash: How is the team planning to address the punter situation? Are they aware that you must have a punter competition complete with hang time and downing inside the 20 metrics? Is Donnie J'Owns still not returning your calls?!?
I'm not at all surprised that the team didn't draft a punter, especially after they traded a bunch of their Day 3 picks to move up for Jordan Davis. There were four (!) punters drafted, so perhaps the Eagles are just waiting for those teams to cut the veterans that those rookie punters are replacing.
I still can't imagine they're going to entrust Arryn Siposs as their punter this season after the way he fell apart at the end of last season. But also, yes, the Eagles won a Super Bowl mainly because of Donnie J'Owns, and they should bring him back.
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