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March 13, 2022

Three free agents who make sense for the Eagles, version 5.0

Eagles NFL
031322ChandlerJones Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

Chandler Jones is good.

Last offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles were forced to sit out the fun part of NFL free agency, as they were mired in "salary cap hell." In 2022, the Birds still face challenges in becoming cap healthy once again, but with the salary cap expected to rise substantially in 2023, they can be a little more aggressive in adding talent on the open market. 

We were going to end this at "Version 4.0," but there were a few more players I wanted to get in there, so what the hell... Here are a final three free agents that I believe make sense for the Eagles. 

Previous Eagles free agency targets

Version 1.0 | Version 2.0 | Version 3.0 | Version 4.0

Chandler Jones (Age: 32), Edge, Cardinals (6'5, 265)

Jones might not have made this list if not for a report that the Eagles have interest, so we're cheating a little bit here. However, after having digested the idea of Jones in Philly and watching him a bit, the idea of it is growing on me.

Jones has been one of the most underrated players in the NFL over the last decade or so. He racked up 72.5 sacks during a five year span from 2015 to 2019, and he has 107.5 sacks over a 10-year career.

A biceps injury cost Jones most of the 2020 season, but he rebounded in 2021 with 10.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles.

Yes, he's 32 years old which isn't ideal, but if the Eagles were to sign Jones, he would immediately become the most impactful player on the defense. For example, watch his highlights from Week 1 of the 2021 season, during which he absolutely wrecked the Titans' Taylor Lewan all day. 

This guy can still be a dominant player.

The Eagles had 29 sacks as a defense last season, which was good for second-worst in the NFL. With a DE rotation of Jones, Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, and likely a first-round round pick, a weakness last season would instantaneously turn into a major strength. Pair that edge rusher group with Javon Hargrave, Milton Williams, and either Fletcher Cox or another high pick, and the Eagles' defensive line would have a chance to become a legitimate force once again.

Justin Reid (Age: 25), S, Texans (6'1, 203)

When Reid came out of Stanford in 2018 as a do-it-all safety, the Eagles showed heavy interest in him, as they had him in for a pre-draft visit. He unexpectedly slipped into the third round, where the Texans took him.

Reid had an outstanding rookie season, when he collected 88 tackles, 3 INTs (including a pick-6), and 10 pass breakups from his safety position. His numbers haven't been quite as good the last three seasons, but he has solidified himself as a solid starting NFL safety.

Reid just turned 25 in February, so there is still room for growth, especially for a player with his impressive athletic measurables.

And obviously, the Eagles have a big need at safety.

Keelan Cole (Age: 28), WR, Jaguars (6'1, 194)

Cole is a former undrafted free agent of the Jaguars who played under then Jags GM Dave Caldwell, who is now a member of the Eagles' front office staff. 

Cole signed with the Jets in free agency last offseason on a one-year deal worth $5.5 million. He has averaged 37 catches for 538 yards and 3 TDs per season over his five-year career, and brings some special teams versatility to the table, including some kick/punt return ability.

Cole would be an upgrade on Greg Ward as a depth receiver who can do a number of different things.

In each of our previous four free agency target articles, we have profiled a wide receiver. They were D.J. Chark, Zach Pascal, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Christian Kirk. After it was reported that the Eagles were close to trading for Calvin Ridley, it became pretty clear (if it wasn't already) that the team is going to aggressively try to add talent at wide receiver this offseason.

If the Eagles only came away with a guy like Cole in free agency, that would be a disappointment. But if they double-dipped, then Cole could be a solid second depth signing. 

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