Let’s get it back to the Eagles. BIG offseason coming up. Possibly the biggest offseason since… maybe the Carson Wentz draft year? It seems like the future of the franchise hinges on what the Eagles decide to do with their war chest of draft picks, while a couple of big name quarterbacks could possibly be available via trade.
Here’s what I’d do, in 10 easy-to-follow steps:
1. punt the quarterback decision to next season
Jalen Hurts did enough to earn another season as the Eagles’ starting quarterback. If there was a slam dunk QB prospect in this draft, we might consider going in another direction, but there isn’t a slam dunk QB prospect in the draft. There’s Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, Malik Willis, and some guys with upside, but there’s no universally-agreed upon stud.
The Birds need to give Hurts another year to show he can improve in the passing game, and if he doesn’t, then you approach the QB question next season. Don’t give up draft picks for 33 year old Russell Wilson and don’t trade for Deshaun Watson, who is saddled with legal issues.
2. draft three defensive players in April
While punting the QB decision to next year, the Eagles instead focus on rebuilding the defense. They stay put, and use picks 15, 16, and 19 all on defensive players, one at each level. They select the best available EDGE, linebacker, and defensive back on the board, and give Jonathan Gannon more to work with in season two.
Some guys I like:
- Devin Lloyd – the Utah linebacker might be off the board in the top 15, but if he slips, you draft him
- Nakobe Dean – smart linebacker who played for the best college program this year, the UGA Bulldogs
- Derek Stingley Jr. – similar to Lloyd and might be off the board, but if the LSU CB is there, he’s a no brainer selection
- George Karlaftis – Purdue pass rusher, 14 sacks in an abbreviated 2.5 year college career, 6’4″, 275 pounds
- Sauce Gardner – lockdown corner out of Cincy, would look very good opposite Darius Slay
- Travon Walker – actually a defensive line tweener, but a fantastic and beastly product coming out of Georgia
- David Ojabo – Michigan EDGE, 11 sacks this season
The Birds can stay put and rebuild their defense. The alternative is to waste first round picks to trade for a quarterback, and now you have a good QB and shitty defense, patched up with one-year free agent signings. That’s not the way to go. They really need to work on the defense first and then go from there.
If you haven’t watched the film on Devin Lloyd…Sit down, grab a snack & enjoy. 🍿 pic.twitter.com/8lVdBctUiX
— Alfredo Brown (@AlfredoBrownGM) February 21, 2022
3. sign a possession receiver in free agency
You see some mock drafts having the Eagles select Treylon Burks (Arkansas) or Drake London (USC), both of whom are big bodied possession guys who fit a need. It’s just a little hard to swallow, the idea of the Birds taking a first-round receiver in three straight seasons. Instead, I think you look for this player in free agency, maybe take a swing on a prove-it deal for a guy like D.J. Chark, or go out and try to lure Allen Robinson or Mike Williams here. DeVonta Smith did some great things this past season, but they need an opposite side complement who can go up and attack the ball and make a contested catch. They need to find another Alshon Jeffery. The 2017 version.
4. convince Jason Kelce to come back
Jeff McLane reported that Jason Kelce is leaning towards coming back in 2022, which would be a huge positive for the Eagles. They should do everything possible to get one more year out of him. As long as he’s playing at a high level, they should try to keep him around. This isn’t the Jason Peters situation. Kelce is a perennial Pro Bowler and still has fuel left in the tank.
5. Re-sign only three of your free agents
The Eagles have nine unrestricted free agents, but they only need to keep three of them. Jordan Howard, Hassan Ridgeway, and Genard Avery can have roles on this team next season. You allow the following guys to walk:
- Jason Croom
- Derek Barnett
- Anthony Harris
- Rodney McLeod
- Ryan Kerrigan
- Steven Nelson*
*Nelson can come back on a one-year deal if you draft a safety and can’t find a better corner somewhere else.
6. shop Miles Sanders
Sanders is in his final contract year. The Eagles never pay running backs and Sanders hasn’t proven to be a tier 1 guy anyway, so if you can get something back for him, you do it. Then you look into the 2nd or 3rd round for a running back, maybe Kenneth Walker at 51 if he’s there, or see if Breece Hall or Kyren Williams is available at 83.
7. trade Andre Dillard
Too much value to be sitting there as a backup. Time to do the deal and recoup assets for Dillard.
8. Add the other safety or corner in free agency
Even if the Eagles draft a defensive back in April, they’re gonna have to sign another in free agency. They’re losing both Rodney McLeod and Anthony Harris, and need a starter there badly, because you’ve got K’Von Wallace and Marcus Epps and that’s about it. And you need to replace Steven Nelson as well. They should take a look at Marcus Maye on a cheap prove-it deal, and/or Quandre Diggs. There are some interesting names on the safety free agent list. Jordan Whitehead, Jayron Kearse, the Honey Badger, etc.
Marcus Maye with the "GET THAT OUTTA HERE" block! 🤯
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) December 20, 2020
9. tender Nate Herbig, Boston Scott, and maybe Alex Singleton
The Eagles have four restricted free agents in Nate Herbig, Boston Scott, Alex Singleton, and Greg Ward. They only need to tender Herbig and Scott. Singleton had an up and down year, but with T.J. Edwards’ emergence and Davion Taylor coming back from injury, the Eagles should be able to go elsewhere with the linebacker position. Singleton is one of those borderline guys. He can play in the league, but his is a spot that can be upgraded.
10. take Jalen Reagor off return duty
Enough already. Guy gets a chance to prove himself in year three as a receiver, but no more returning.