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January 03, 2019

Mailbag: A look back at the Eagles' free agency signings of Malcolm Jenkins and Brandon Brooks

Eagles NFL
010318BrandonBrooks Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

What were the Houston Texans thinking?

In our Eagles chat this week, there were a lot of questions that we could not get to in time or other questions we did answer but could use more color. And so, let's do a mailbag post to answer some of the overflow.

Question from Matt: At the time, not much was thought of the Brandon Brooks and Malcolm Jenkins signings, but how great were they?

Two of the best in Eagles history.

Back in 2014, most Eagles fans wanted the team to spend anything for Jairus Byrd, a ball hawking safety at the time. A comparison of Jenkins’ and Byrd’s careers since:

• Malcolm Jenkins: 80 games (80 starts), 418 tackles (26 TFL), 11 INTs, 4 TDs, 50 pass breakups, 8 FF, 5 FR, 3 sacks, Super Bowl title.

• Jairus Byrd: 45 games (32 starts), 167 tackles (5 TFL), 3 INT, 8 pass breakups, 2 FF, 1 FR, 1 sack, out of the NFL.

There was also T.J. Ward, who, like Byrd, went to college at Oregon, so some folks made the Chip connection.

• T.J. Ward: 53 games (46 starts), 265 tackles (12 TFL), 3 INT, 22 pass breakups, 5 FF, 3 FR, 5 sacks, out of the NFL.

Jenkins has become the heart and soul of the Eagles' defense, a durable constant who makes plays and has unmatched versatility. He should be viewed in a similar light as Brian Dawkins, in my opinion.

In 2016, I don’t recall people being upset with the Brooks signing, but the hot name at the time at guard was Chiefs OG Jeff Allen, who made sense for the Eagles with Doug Pederson having just been hired by the Eagles from Kansas City a few months prior.

As it turned out, the team that let Brooks walk in free agency, the Texans, signed Allen to a four year deal worth $28 million. Brooks has made the Pro Bowl the last two seasons, while Allen played in 26 games for the Texans (all starts) before being released off the PUP list earlier this season. He’s now back with the Chiefs as a backup. What a mis-evaluation by the Texans of one of their own guys.

Question from Abel: OK, I'll be that guy. Should the Eagles try to trade for Antonio Brown this offseason?

No. The Steelers can't trade him. He'd cost them $21,120,000 in dead money. That's not happening. Beyond that, if the Steelers could trade him, he'd go to a team that can fit him under their cap, which the Eagles cannot. We don't even need to get into all the character red flags that have emerged.

Question from Terry Yaki: Given how important backup quarterbacks appear to be with Carson Wentz as the starter, do you think Nate Sudfeld is acceptable for the future, or do they need to use a mid-round draft pick to groom one?

I am a big Sudfeld guy, and would feel comfortable with him as the backup. I think he has a chance to be a good player. I liked a lot of what I saw from him both in training camp this year, as well as the preseason. Back in August, we published a cut-up of his preseason throws, with analysis.

That said, drafting and grooming quarterbacks can often be a good idea as well. Sudfeld won’t be eligible to be an unrestricted free agent until 2021, so he’ll likely be under the Eagles’ control at a low cost until then. The Eagles might be wise to groom that next guy in anticipation of Sudfeld moving on in two years. It’s never a bad thing to have a pipeline of quarterbacks in the system that you can use as backups while they’re on the roster, and flip for greater assets down the road.

Question from Mark M: Who wins in a race, Zach Ertz or Dallas Goedert?

Goedert didn't run the 40 at the Combine, but his athletic measurables destroy Ertz's. Here's Goedert:

And here's Ertz:

I'll take Goedert on that one.

Question from JPP's Index Finger: Who would you prefer: DeSean Jackson or John Brown?

If I were a building team, I'd take Brown. With a team built to win right now and Jackson being an absolutely perfect fit for what the Eagles' offense is missing, I'd take him.

Question from Norn Snead: Would you sign Darren Sproles to a one-year deal in 2019 equal to his 2018 contract, assuming he’s healthy and does not retire? Same question for Mike Wallace.

Sproles' cap number in 2018 was $1,433,750, so yes, I would absolutely bring him back at that number.

As for Wallace, no, I would prioritize the importance of a field-stretching receiver this offseason. I think they can do better than him.

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