Before free agency began for the Eagles, Howie Roseman made his intentions for free agency clear. Roseman stated that youth was a key target for this team moving forward. Jason Peters, Nigel Bradham, and Malcolm Jenkins are the key ones to exit thus far. The Eagles haven’t had a big splash free agency like everyone hoped. They didn’t get into a bidding war for Amari Cooper, with money being the driving factor. They didn’t overpay for Byron Jones or any other big name free agency. It instead has been about the building blocks. This free agency has been a time for the Eagles to retool the defense. Roseman stayed true to his word of getting younger in the trenches.
Peters leaving was a move that had to be made. The future Canton bound linemen played the fewest of snaps among Eagles starters. Halapoulivaati Vaitai leaving was also a move that everyone should have seen coming. The young linemen would of liked to return, but was offered more elsewhere.
The Detroit Lions made a splash by giving the 25 yeard old 50 million dollars over 5 seasons. The Eagles did make a big splash in the trenches by signing former Steeler Javon Hargrave. Hargrave alongside Fletcher Cox and a returning Malik Jackson give Jim Schwartz serious rotational options for the defensive line. With Cox already getting hit with double teams, it’ll be tough for opposing lines to prepare for. Hargrave has serious double digit sack potential.
The biggest-off season story has been the massive retooling of the Eagles secondary. Even with the departure of Malcolm Jenkins, the Eagles secondary looks younger and improved for the 2020 season. It started with the resigning of Jalen Mills. Mills will likely revert to his old LSU position at safety and fill in for Eagles great Malcolm Jenkins.
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They also added former Broncos safety Will Parks, who will look to give the secondary a spark. People may think the Eagles are going overboard on the secondary, but last years injuries say otherwise. Lets hope Sidney Jones can return to his once promising form as he is making his way back from injury. The new DB coach Marquand Manuel will have a film room with a young eager group to prove themselves.
The Key Trade
All that talk above and not a peep about their biggest splash. Darius Big Play Slay is now an Eagle. The Slay trade was perfect for this team for several reasons.
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For one, the return was small, sending only a 3rd & 5th rounder. The Eagles as well already have 2 comp picks. Secondly, Slay’s new contract is team friendly. Slay is expected to make 4.3 million in 2020 then jumps to over 15.7 in 2021. The Eagles can simply cut Slay after this year if they do not feel like paying him the big bucks. The Eagles secondary additions add up to only about 16.6 million dollars. Byron Jones himself costed a million more. Finally the Slay addition gives Schwartz the opportunity to potentially shadow the opposing #1 WR unlike years past. The Eagles have a WR happy schedule this upcoming season.
As we reached the dead zone point of free agency, I’ll give Mr. Roseman a B-. Could he have done more? With about 28 million dollars left in cap, he certainly could have. But free agency is not done yet, and neither is the draft. The Eagles have the pieces. Let’s see them produce.