The Philadelphia Eagles made it to the playoff finish held together by scotch tape. However their playoff hopes ended with a Carson Wentz concussion and the 40 year old Josh McCown doing his best but still on a losing end to the Seahawks 17-9. Even with the injuries they have building blocks with Wentz, Sanders, Goedert, Dillard and steady vets such as Brooks, Johnson, Cox, Graham and Jenkins if a deal is finalized. With a long offseason ahead for Howie Roseman, he needs to make some tough decisions and try to reload for another playoff push next season. Here are my thoughts on the 16 free agents for the Eagles and whether they should stay or they should go.
QB Josh McCown: Go
With the injury to Nate Sudfeld in the preseason, it made Howie Roseman called up the recently retired QB to be the backup for Carson Wentz. Although McCown performed with valor against the Seahawks in the end he’s 40 and will be 41 in July. If they want to keep him as another addition to the staff to help Wentz that’s fine but they need to find a younger option for the backup position
QB Nate Sudfeld: Stay
Stated above Nate was slated to be the backup before breaking his wrist in the preseason. He was signed back for the 2019 season as a RFA and is now about to enter the free agency pool. With a good group a of young QBs coming out of the draft with also potential FA QBs such as Teddy Bridgewater, Phillip Rivers, Cam Newton and more I doubt Sudfeld will get any interest from teams to compete from the starting job. Also considering the 26 year old has been in the system for 3 years it makes sense for the Eagles to bring him in case Wentz gets hurt.
Jordan Howard: Go
This one hurts because I loved the trade when it happened. Howard gave the Eagles their first power back since Blount during the Superbowl season. Unfortunately he fell victim to the injury bug as well. After the Bears game, he wouldn’t be cleared for contact until week 17 against the Giants and didn’t take a single snap for the last two games. Howard has had the 3rd most carries since 2016 and will get some looks from other teams to be a lead back elsewhere. With Sanders and Scott coming on strong in the month of December, there more than likely isn’t a spot for him on the team next year.
RB Corey Clement: Stay
He’s a RFA and it will cost you next to nothing to bring him back if Howie doesn’t prioritize bringing Jordan Howard back. His last two seasons were cut short due to injuries but he’s a very proficient pass catcher from the backfield and with working in a rotation, it gives you versatility along with Sanders and Scott.
WR Nelson Agholor: Go
Time to officially pull the plug on the 2015 1st rounder. After two bad years and on the verge of being a bust, Agholor had a good season in 2017 from the slot position and made some big catches in the Superbowl to help win it. However since then, especially this year, with the drop passes, inability to track a deep ball and missing 6 out of the last 7 games with a knee injury, it is time to say happy trails. Time for a fresh WR group to grow with Carson Wentz.
WR Deontay Burnett: 50/50
Burnett wasn’t on the field as much considering he was only on the team for the last few weeks of the season. Still the Eagles only had 4 passes that were over 40 yards or more and one of them was to Burnett in week 17. I doubt the Eagles will sign Burnett to a long term deal but him along side with Robert Davis, I can definitely see getting invites to training camps. This is the time to Carson proof the offense and with Burnett already having a leg up with the system he could be back.
LT Jason Peters: Go
Howie Roseman said in his Tuesday Press conference that his biggest weakness is getting attached to the players. That being said it’s time to move on from Peters and onto the 2019 1st round pick Andre Dillard. Peters is 38 years old, lead the team in false start penalties and constantly having to check out of games due to either injury or fatigue. If Howie is serious about injecting the roster with youth, then you need to say your goodbyes to the Hall of Fame Tackle. Can’t continue the sentiment contracts.
OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai: Go
When Vaitai has had time to prepare to start, he’s….serviceable. When Peters got hurt and he started at LT during the Superbowl he only allowed one sack during the entire playoff run. Vaitai has also shown versatility playing both tackle spots and even RG when Brooks wasn’t playing. That being said he will get several offers from teams who want to buff their offensive lines. Miami and even Houston first come to mind. The Eagles have always done well in drafting and signing players in the trenches so it’s hard for me to see Vaitai come back and be a utility lineman especially when he’ll get offers to start elsewhere.
DT Tim Jernigan: 50/50
After dealing with injuries the last two seasons and playing 16 out of 35 games, Jernigan is about to hit the free agent market once again. After opting out a deal which helped the Eagles saved 13 million in cap space and 6 million in dead cap, Jernigan came back on deal that was almost 10 million less he was going to make in 2019. Jernigan when healthy has been a good partner in crime with Cox on the line stopping the run but that’s it. He can’t stay healthy and with a returning Malik Jackson and serviceable contributions from Rush and Ridgeway, Jernigan could be out. Then again he’s only 27 and has taken a serious pay cut before to come back to the team and a healthy rotation of him Cox and Jackson sounds really good. On the fence
DE Vinny Curry: Stay
Vinny Curry is the embodiment of an Eagles fan living out his dream. Growing up in Neptune, New Jersey he was always an Eagles fan. When he got that called on draft night the Marshall defensive end got to live out his dream playing for the team he grew up rooting for. After one season in Tampa, Curry was cut and signed a bargain deal to play for the Eagles and alongside his brothers Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox. The Eagles defense especially under Jim Schwartz has always rotated DL to keep them fresh. Curry had 5 sacks this past season which was the most since the 2014 season and was 3rd on the team. If Curry is willing to take another bargain deal I can definitely see him coming back especially with the lack of quality pass rushers in Free Agency.
LB Nigel Bradham(Team Option): Go
Bradham is a tone setting for the defense. However, over the years he’s been on the decline. He rated as one of the worse tackling LBs missing every 7th tackle. If the Eagles pick up the team option on him he would have the 9th highest cap hit on the roster. You would lose your most experienced LB, but Bradham would be too expensive to keep for a position the Eagles don’t value as much. If Schwartz does leave for Cleveland, then Bradham would be on borrowed time in Philly.
LB Kamu Gruier-Hill: Stay
Before the injury, Grugier-Hill is a very good player on special teams. He’s not a starting LB in the limited time we seen him on the field but he is one of the captains on the team, a serviceable backup and excels in special teams. Given also his captain status, I see no reason why he would leave the Eagles.
CB Ronald Darby: Go
When Darby was traded here from Buffalo to Philly, the Eagles thought they had got a #1 corner. When he was healthy, he shown flashes of it. But that’s the issue he has never played a full season the past three seasons with the Eagles. Last spring he signed a one year prove it deal to come back to Philly, but under performed and ended on IR. In the end the Eagles won a Superbowl with Darby as their starting CB, but it’s time to revamped this secondary and it starts with parting ways with Darby.
CB Jalen Mills: 50/50
When Mills is healthy he’s our best corner on this team. Although that isn’t saying much, when he’s allowed to be aggressive, he a solid NFL starter especially in the red zone. He’s also been on the receiving end of too many big plays down the field. Personally I would bring him back on a prove it deal. He’s one of the leaders of the locker room. However, if they are overhauling the secondary with fresh blood then the right thing to do is part ways.
S Rodney McLeod: Stay
McLeod struggled this season after a tore ACL ended his season last year. Although the Eagles definitely need to revamp the secondary, too much shake up isn’t a good thing. McLeod has good chemistry on the back end with Jenkins and they don’t have a backup plan unless you are going safety early in the draft. Also it takes players two years to regain their form fully from an ACL injury and with 38 million in cap space, I can see him returning and drafting an eventually replacement for Malcolm Jenkins.
P Cameron Johnston: Stay
Not really much to think about on this one. The Eagles take pride on how good their special teams since the yesteryear of the Andy Reid days. Johnston was 9th in punting average and 8th in net avg. He’ll be back.
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College Graduate at Millersville University. Bachelors in Commincations.