- Since the Eagles brought an end to the Chip Kelly era late in 2015, owner Jeffrey Lurie has taken on a more active role with the franchise, league sources told Tim McManus of ESPN.com. For instance, it was Lurie who pushed to re-sign quarterback Sam Bradford last offseason and Lurie who denied the Jets permission to interview quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo for their offensive coordinator vacancy earlier this month. One reason for Lurie’s involvement is head coach Doug Pederson‘s inexperience. Pederson, who’s fresh off his first season as a sideline leader, told reporters in December that he had weekly meetings – “very positive” ones, he added – with Lurie and de facto GM Howie Roseman.
In advance of March 9, the start of free agency in the NFL, Pro Football Rumors will detail each team’s three most glaring roster issues. We’ll continue this year’s series with the Philadelphia Eagles, who posted a solid 7-9 record in what was thought to be a rebuilding season.
Pending Free Agents:
- Kenjon Barner, RB (RFA)
- Bryan Braman, DE
- Trey Burton, TE (RFA)
- Nolan Carroll, CB
- Najee Goode, LB
- Bennie Logan, DT
- Stephen Tulloch, LB
- Jaylen Watkins, DB (RFA)
- Stefen Wisniewski, OL
Top 10 Cap Hits for 2017:
- Jason Peters, T: $11,700,000
- Lane Johnson, T: $10,000,000
- Fletcher Cox, DT: $9,400,000
- Vinny Curry, DE: $9,000,000
- Connor Barwin, DE: $8,350,000
- Chase Daniel, QB: $8,000,000
- Brandon Graham, DE: $7,500,000
- Malcolm Jenkins, S: $7,500,000
- Brandon Brooks, G: $7,200,000
- Mychal Kendricks, LB: $6,600,000
- Projected cap space (via Over the Cap): $7,848,375
- 14th or 15th pick in draft (will be decided by coin flip)
- Must exercise or decline 2018 fifth-year option for DE Marcus Smith
1) Find an explosive wide receiver: No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz tailed off at the end of his rookie season, unable to sustain the incredible production that he posted earlier in the year. But Wentz’s first NFL campaign should still be viewed in an extremely positive light, as the weapons he had at his disposal were among the worst in the league. The Eagles’ three primary receivers — Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, and Dorial Green-Beckham — all finished outside the top-75 in DYAR, Football Outsiders‘ total value metric for pass-catchers, and no member of that trio amassed more than 850 yards (Agholor and DGB failed to crack even 400 yards).
All three should return in 2017, and there’s certainly room for growth, as none of Matthews, Agholor, or Green-Beckham are even yet 25 years old. But Matthews probably is what he is at this point (a big body who can excel in the slot but isn’t a fit on the outside), while Agholor has completely face-planted during his first two years in the NFL after being selected in the first round of the 2015 draft. Green-Beckham is the best athlete of the three, and Philadelphia, pleased with his grasp of the club’s offense, increased his snaps as the year progressed.
The Eagles know they have a problem at wide receiver, as evidenced by their reported pursuit of the 49ers’ Torrey Smith at last year’s trade deadline. The two clubs never came to an agreement, but it’s possible that talks could be revived during the offseason. In the midst of a deep rebuild, San Francisco could do without paying a wide receiver $8MM per year, and Smith would give the Eagles the deep threat they so desperately covet. As is the case when considering any addition Philadelphia might make, the club will likely need to clear out cap space before making such a move. Cutting Jason Kelce (who is rumored to be on the outs), Ryan Mathews, Leodis McKelvin, and Ron Brooks, for example, would save the Eagles north of $10MM, more than enough to account for a potential Smith trade.
Free agency could also be of interest as Philadelphia explores new pass-catchers, and one option that has been repeatedly linked to the team is former Eagle DeSean Jackson, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent after spending the past three seasons in Washington. The interest between the two parties appears to be mutual, as Jackson is reportedly “intrigued” by the idea of rejoining the Eagles. The 30-year-old Jackson led the league in yards per reception for the third time in his career in 2016, and would add a deep-ball threat to an Eagles offense that was limited to the short passing game last year.
The Eagles could also aim even higher and target the best wide receiver on the open market, the Bears’ Alshon Jeffery. Chicago could of course re-sign or franchise Jeffery before he ever hits free agency, but if Philadelphia does get a shot at him, it would be able to finally acquire a true No. 1 receiver to pair with its complementary pass-catchers. Other free agent choices (of varying price) include Terrelle Pryor (who is familiar with current Eagles QBs coach/former Browns OC John DeFilippo) Michael Floyd, Kenny Stills, and Kenny Britt, while veteran Ted Ginn. Jr. could also make sense if the Eagles simply want a receiver who can get deep with regularity.
If Philadelphia strikes out during free agency, the team could certainly look to the draft to fill its WR void, but I wonder if the Eagles would shy away from another first-round receiver after being burned by Agholor. Still, a number of intriguing prospects should be available during the middle of Day 1, and Western Michigan’s Corey Davis — whom Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com somewhat surprisingly ranks ahead of Clemson’s Mike Williams — could be among them. Calling Davis a “high floor, high ceiling” athlete with excellent separation skills, Jeremiah lists Davis as the eighth overall player in this year’s class. Fellow receivers Williams, John Ross (Washington), Cooper Kupp (Eastern Michigan), Chad Hansen (California) also place among this year’s top-50 prospects, per Jeremiah.
Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2017 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:
- WR Mose Frazier
New York Giants
New York Jets
- LB Jeff Luc
The NFL Players Association has announced all 32 teams’ salary cap carryover amounts for the 2017 season (Twitter link). Next season’s cap figure isn’t yet known, but it’s likely to be in the $165MM range. When that becomes official, it can be added to each team’s carryover amount to determine that club’s official spending room for 2017.
Here are this year’s carryover totals:
- Cleveland Browns: $50,123,269
- Jacksonville Jaguars: $39,314,310
- San Francisco 49ers: $38,708,916
- Tennessee Titans: $24,046,522
- Washington Redskins: $15,055,131
- Carolina Panthers: $13,208,020
- Miami Dolphins: $8,363,708
- Chicago Bears: $8,103,197
- Oakland Raiders: $8,000,000
- Green Bay Packers: $7,984,687
- Philadelphia Eagles: $7,933,869
- Denver Broncos: $7,243,248
- Indianapolis Colts: $6,614,106
- Cincinnati Bengals: $6,578,866
- New Orleans Saints: $5,754,000
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $5,330,779
- New England Patriots: $5,292,335
- Kansas City Chiefs: $5,002,168
- Houston Texans: $4,935,924
- Detroit Lions: $4,725,644
- Arizona Cardinals: $4,405,068
- Pittsburgh Steelers: $3,269,367
- Buffalo Bills: $2,837,222
- Baltimore Ravens: $2,553,126
- Dallas Cowboys: $2,401,553
- Seattle Seahawks: $2,065,865
- New York Giants: $1,800,000
- Atlanta Falcons: $926,541
- Minnesota Vikings: $400,184
- New York Jets: $371,487
- Los Angeles Rams: $304,311
- Los Angeles Chargers: $113,693
Center Jason Kelce‘s sixth season in Philadelphia might have been his last. Three years after the Eagles signed Kelce to a six-year, $37.5MM extension, they’re considering trading or releasing him, a source told Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.com. Kelce has been with the Eagles since they selected him in the sixth round of the 2011 draft.
Parting with Kelce this offseason wouldn’t open up a windfall of cap space in 2017 for Philadelphia, which would save $3.8MM against $2.4MM in dead money. The Eagles would also lose a one-time Pro Bowler who’s coming off his fourth 16-start season and second in a row. Durability aside, Kelce’s performance wasn’t great in 2016, as he finished 27th among Pro Football Focus’ 38 qualified centers and led the position in penalties (eight).
If Kelce were to hit free agency, he’d join a center market that’s also slated to include teammate Stefen Wisniewski, Joe Hawley, A.Q. Shipley and John Sullivan, among others. It seems doubtful the Eagles would turn to any of those names to replace Kelce, as they may have a successor on their roster in 2016 third-round pick Isaac Seumalo. With Kelce in the equation, Seumalo’s action as a rookie came at guard and right tackle. Seumalo previously garnered extensive center experience at Oregon State, however, and Eagles head coach Doug Pederson indicated during the season that he’s confident in the 23-year-old’s ability to handle the position.
“He’s been such a versatile offensive lineman for us, that I would have no issues if he had to play center,” Pederson said, per Kempski.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- Former Rams wide receivers coach Mike Groh is expected to interview with the Eagles to coach their wideouts, Tim McManus of ESPN.com reports. The 45-year-old Groh also served as Los Angeles’ passing-game coordinator. The son of former Jets coach Al Groh, Mike Groh spent the previous three seasons instructing the Bears’ wide receivers.
Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2017 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters.
- FB Andrew Bonnet
San Francisco 49ers
- P Brock Miller
- The Eagles are interested in interviewing Rams passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Mike Groh for their wide receivers coach vacancy, reports ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter). The former quarterback coached the Bears wideouts for three seasons before joining the Rams last year.
- Bills wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal interviewed for the same position with the Eagles on Wednesday, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com). Philadelphia is looking to replace the fired Greg Lewis, and Caplan noted Tuesday that its interest in Lal is “strong.” Before hooking on with Buffalo’s staff in 2015, Lal coached wideouts with the Raiders and Jets for a combined six years.
Wednesday’s minor moves:
New York Giants
- CB Donte Deayon
- G Jon Halapio
- RB Jacob Huesman
- CB Michael Hunter
- DE Stansly Maponga
- DB Ryan Murphy
- WR Kevin Norwood
- WR Darius Powe
- QB Keith Wenning
- DE Jordan Williams
New York Jets
- OL Josh LeRibeus
- WR Dom Williams
- Signed: RB Gus Johnson
- Practice squad/injured: RB Dreamius Smith