- If running back Jamaal Charles is cut by the Chiefs, ESPN.com’s Tim McManus believes he’d be an intriguing fit for the Eagles. Ryan Mathews isn’t expected to be back with Philly next season, leaving Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood as the only experienced running backs on the roster. Charles presumably won’t land a huge contract, so McManus believes the Eagles would be smart to take a flyer on the veteran.
- While Eagles pass rusher Connor Barwin has expressed a willingness to take a pay cut to remain in Philadelphia, it’s time for both sides to move on, opines Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com. Barwin probably wouldn’t accept enough of a reduction from the $7.75MM he’s due next season to make keeping him worthwhile for the team, writes Zangaro, who notes that getting rid of the 30-year-old would open up more playing time for Vinny Curry. Overall, Barwin has been quite productive during his four-year stint with the Eagles, but his numbers declined last season in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz‘s scheme. Thus, Zangaro argues that Barwin deserves to play in a defense that’s more suited to his abilities. The eight-year veteran won’t have any difficulty finding a job if the Eagles do let him go.
Back in January, Trent Cole hinted on Instagram that he would continue playing in 2017. Roughly six weeks later, we’re getting some mixed messages. Cole told SiriusXM (Twitter link) that he will retire if he is not offered enough money on his next deal. However, he took to Twitter minutes later to say “no retirement happening here.”
The Colts linebacker is scheduled to hit free agency this March. For many years, Cole was a starter for the Eagles, but he has been slowed somewhat by injuries and age since joining Indianapolis. In seven games last year, Cole amassed 17 tackles and two sacks. In the year prior, he totaled 32 tackles and three sacks. His Pro Football Focus scores have been in the 70s over the last two years, framing him as a slightly above-average linebacker rather than the force that he was in his Philly prime.
Cole, 35 in October, has two Pro Bowl nods and eight playoff appearances on his resume.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Despite some speculation to the contrary, left tackle Jason Peters will be back with the Eagles in 2017, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Peters was is set to earn a $9.95MM base salary in the coming year, according to Rapoport, though Over The Cap has his base pay listed as $10.45MM.
Earlier this month, the Eagles approached Peters about taking a pay cut. Apparently, those talks were not fruitful, but the Eagles are still willing to keep Peters at his current salary. The 35-year-old may be pricey, but he is still one of the best tackles in the game. Last season, Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics placed Peters as the eighth-best tackle in the entire league. His 88.3 overall score on PFF ranks as the third-highest showing of his career. In short: Peters is as good as ever and the Eagles are unwilling to leave Carson Wentz‘s blindside exposed.
For his career, Peters has made nine Pro Bowls and is a three-time first-team All-Pro.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Last summer, linebacker DeMeco Ryans pushed hard to continue his NFL career. Unfortunately, he was unable to find a landing spot in 2016. Now on the verge of his 33rd birthday, Ryans is apparently done playing. Ryans has signed on with the 49ers’ coaching staff as a defensive quality control coach, which signifies that he is officially retired.
Ryans, released by the Eagles this time last year, spent four seasons in Philadelphia after playing for the Texans for his first six years in the NFL. A two-time Pro Bowler in Houston, Ryans had two strong seasons with the Eagles before an Achilles injury and a reduced role slowed him down. In 2015, he recorded 49 tackles to go along with an interception, a forced fumble, and five passes defended.
When he was unable to find a gig last summer, Ryans indicated that he was comfortable with calling it quits. In July, Dallas Robinson of PFR proposed Ryans as a replacement for Rolando McClain, but Dallas went in a different direction. After a lack of real interest from around the league, Ryans will now begin the next chapter of his football life.
For months now, there has been speculation about DeSean Jackson returning to the Eagles via free agency this offseason. The wide receiver hasn’t done much to stop that talk with his latest comments to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (audio link).
“It definitely is a great story or ending, I guess you could say,” Jackson said (via PFT). “Starting your career somewhere then going to a division rival team [and] having the possibility of maybe going back. You just kind of think about all of that when you start somewhere maybe you could finish it. There is just a lot of speculation of a lot of thoughts. It all sounds good, but you really never know until the final decision is made. I’m just a firm believer that if you work hard, you put in the work, continuously go out there and show everybody what you’re capable of [then] the sky’s the limit.”
Jackson is reportedly eyeing a return to the Eagles, though he is also on the record as saying that he wants to stay with the Redskins. Jackson, 30, could be on the verge of losing his trademark speed, but he was still productive last year as he hauled in 56 catches for 1,005 yards and four touchdowns. There will be a healthy market waiting for Jackson in March and the Eagles won’t be the only team pursuing him. That group of suitors could include the Buccaneers. Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears the Bucs could be a possible destination for DJax and his relationship with quarterback Jameis Winston could help to facilitate a deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- Speaking of Instagram, Raiders running back Latavius Murray – another soon-to-be free agent – posted a picture Sunday featuring him and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz in the midst of a workout. Given both his relationship with Wentz and the Eagles’ plan to ask the QB for his opinion on certain personnel decisions this offseason, Murray could be a fit for Philadelphia, suggests Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com. The two share an agent, notes Shorr-Parks, who adds that the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Murray would give the Eagles a much-needed big back. Murray averaged a relatively uninspiring 4.0 yards per carry in each of the previous two seasons, though he is coming off a 12-touchdown year.
- While agreeing with Howie Roseman that adding aging skill-position targets around Carson Wentz doesn’t make much sense, NJ.com’s Eliot Shorr-Parks writes the Eagles should keep their present veteran-laden offensive line in front of Wentz. Jason Kelce surfaced as a cut candidate earlier this offseason, while the Eagles have approached perennial Pro Bowler Jason Peters about taking a pay cut entering his age-35 season. PFF and Football Outsiders considered the Eagles line a top-10 unit, and with Lane Johnson figuring to be available for more games in 2017, the group should help further. But Kelce, and possibly Peters, could be cap casualties — something Shorr-Parks categorizes as a “massive risk” for the Eagles — as a result of Philadelphia’s spending spree last year. Kelce’s only set to count $6.2MM against the Eagles’ 2017 cap, but Peters stands to comprise an Eagles-high $11.7MM. Philly is projected to have barely $9MM in cap space.
“If they cut him, teams will be lining up for him,” a “pro personnel man” told Eckel. “He wouldn’t be out of a job for long. I would think they could trade him and get something back. He has value. His deal this year isn’t that bad.”
The 30-year-old is set to make $7.75MM next season, and his cap hit is $8.35MM. Barwin is set to make another $10.25MM in 2018, so it’s understandable why the Eagles would look to get out of that contract. Cutting the eight-year veteran would save the franchise that $7.75MM, leaving the team with only $600K in dead cap. Of course, the team could also look to restructure the player and, as Eckel implies, keep him in Philadelphia for the rest of his career.
The 2009 second-round pick joined the Eagles in 2013 following four successful seasons with the Texans. Barwin has played all 16 games in each of his four seasons in Philly, including a 2014 campaign where he collected 14.5 sacks. Last season, the defensive lineman finished with 34 tackles, one forced fumble, and five sacks.
Eckel lists the Packers, Ravens, and Colts as potential landing spots for Barwin. Not only do the teams have the necessary cap room, but they also play the 3-4 defense that caters to the veteran’s skills. If Barwin did leave the team, the writer believes Vinny Curry would be his replacement as the starting right defensive end.