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April 06, 2023

Three players who make sense for the Eagles, deep into free agency

Eagles NFL
040523HowieRoseman Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

I chose a picture of Howie Roseman because nobody is clicking on an article with Oshane Ximines as the cover photo.

We are now more than three weeks into NFL free agency, and the Philadelphia Eagles have signed seven outside players. Their acquisitions were mostly high draft picks that they were interested in at one time or another, many of whom had injuries slow their careers, eventually landing in Philly this offseason on cheap, one-year deals.

So, we have the answers to the test. We now know what types of bargain players the Eagles are targeting. Here are three more players that I believe would make sense for the Eagles, based who they have already signed. Spoiler: The following names are not super exciting.

Oshane Ximines, Edge, Giants (26)

The Eagles had Ximines in for a pre-draft visit in 2019 after a productive college career during which he posted 32.5 sacks, 51 tackles for loss, and 11 forced fumbles in four years at Old Dominion. A lot of those sacks came against lower-level right tackle tomato cans.

The Giants selected Ximines late in the third round, and he had a promising rookie season, collecting 25 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 9 QB hits. He entered 2020 as a starter, but a shoulder injury caused him to miss 12 games. In 2021, he was a rotational player who got benched after an offsides penalty negated a Darnay Holmes INT, a play that probably cost the Giants the game. In 2022, Ximines missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury, but played in 15 games (4 starts). He had 24 tackles, 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and 8 QB hits.

The Eagles have added "lottery tickets" on the defense at defensive tackle (Kentavius Street), linebacker (Nicholas Morrow), cornerback (Greedy Williams), and safety (Justin Evans), but they have not yet added an edge rusher. Ximines feels like a player who resembles their other "what the hell, take a shot" defensive signings at a position they have not yet addressed.

Artie Burns, CB, Seahawks (27)

Burns was a Steelers first-round pick (25th overall) in 2016 who has appeared in 72 career games (38 starts). After a disappointing four years in Pittsburgh, Burns signed with the Bears in 2020, but he tore an ACL in the preseason and his season was over before it ever started. The Bears thought enough of what they saw in 2020 to sign him once again to a one-year contract in 2021.

In 2021, Burns did not play in the regular defense until Week 11. He started 6 of the final 7 games, collecting 23 tackles and 6 pass breakups. I don't like citing PFF's grades as they often lack context (and I'm not watching hours of Artie Burns film just for this article), but PFF gave him a very good coverage grade of 85.1.

Burns' two seasons in Chicago overlapped with Sean Desai. In 2022, he signed with the Seahawks, after the Seahawks hired Desai to become their associate head coach. He managed to stick on the roster for the entirety of the season, but was among the team's inactives for 13 games.

It's also perhaps noteworthy that Eagles Director of Scouting Brandon Hunt was with the Steelers when Pittsburgh drafted him in the first round.

Kenny Golladay, WR, Giants (29)

During the 2021 offseason, Dave Gettleman and the Giants signed Golladay to a four-year deal worth $72 million, and $40 million guaranteed. They gave him that contract even after an injury-riddled 2020 season in Detroit during which he had 20 catches for 338 yards and two TDs. 

After signing his contract in 2021, Golladay proceeded to have a season in which he caught 37 passes for 521 yards in 14 games in 2021, and 6 receptions for 81 yards and 1 TD in 2022. His lone TD with the Giants actually came Week 18 against the Eagles last season vs. Darius Slay.

Golladay will go down as one of the worst free agent signings in Giants history. So, uh, why should the Eagles have interest? 

Well, the Eagles have two star receivers in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, and then there's Quez Watkins, who had a bad 2022 season. Otherwise, they have virtually no depth whatsoever at wide receiver.

The Eagles are shot play passing team, and Golladay is a down the field receiver. While there is plenty of blame for Golladay for his play in New Jersey, there's also a decent excuse to be made for him that his talents weren't being maximized while playing on one of the worst — and most conservative — offenses in the NFL.

In the three seasons (36 games) with Detroit before his signed with the Giants, Golladay caught 155 passes for 2591 yards (16.7 YPR) and 18 TDs. Extrapolate those numbers over 17 game seasons, and he was averaging 73-1224-9 per season. He has talent. Maybe the Eagles can coax it out of him?

As far as a potential role, Golladay was thought of as a good blocker in his time in Detroit. If he is willing to take on a Zach Pascal-like role, he could actually be a significant upgrade. Of course, Golladay is a player who has made around $50 million over his career, so he'd probably have to convince the Eagles that he would embrace a dirty work role if he were interested in joining a Super Bowl contender.  

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