The Eagles are expected to have 9 draft picks and very little cap room to work with this offseason. There is a lot of good contract drama to watch for this offseason, with some franchise legends possibly leaving, and underperforming players getting overpaid who may be on their way out soon as well.
We will look at each position and determine which ones will be needs this offseason, and where the Eagles are solid.
Certain: Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld
Uncertain: Nick Foles
Here comes the conversation all of Philly is talking about. Nick Foles is almost certainly not coming back. For the Eagles to keep Foles, they would have to pay him some $20 million to be a backup again. While all of the city of Philadelphia and Eagles fans will forever love Nick Foles, it is time for him to ride off into the sunset, and make more money than Kirk Cousins’ fully guaranteed contract last year.
QB is not a need, as Wentz is the guy and Sudfeld is a quality backup.
Certain: Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams, Boston Scott
Uncertain: Darren Sproles, Jay Ajayi
Sproles has considered retiring for a few years now, but I think he returns one last time to have a full, healthy season. You could see it in the way he played at the end of the season, the guy was excited to be back. Sproles is set to be a free agent this year, but I think he returns on a very team-friendly deal.
Ajayi, however, is gone. Having served the Eagles well during their Super Bowl run, he returned the next season and was plagued by injuries. Ajayi is also a free agent this offseason, and I think the Eagles will move on from him.
RB is a need this offseason, as the Eagles have essentially neglected the position in the draft over the past few years. I think they pick a RB in the second day of the draft to be an all-purpose back.
Certain: Alshon Jeffery, Mack Hollins
Uncertain: Golden Tate, Nelson Agholor, Mike Wallace, Jordan Matthews, Shelton Gibson
Not a lot of certainty with the wide receiver corps. It is entirely possible that Matthews or Gibson returns next season, though they shouldn’t be expected to perform at as high of a level as Tate, Agholor, or Wallace. My guess is Matthews comes back to play with his old friend Carson.
Wallace could go either way. I think (hope) the Eagles draft a speed guy like Marquise Brown on the second day of the draft, to be someone that can stretch and open up the defense. If they don’t, then Wallace, or another fast guy on the outside will be signed to a cheap deal. I think if Howie can get a young RB and speed WR in this draft, the Eagles offense will take a big next step.
I would bet hard money on the following: Tate or Agholor will be back, but only one of the two. Both play the slot pretty well; Tate has proven himself in his career, and Agholor has proven himself over the last two years to Philly.
I think Tate stays. Agholor will cost 9 million to play next season, and he is young and talented. Howie Roseman could find a trade partner who is willing to deal with the contract, while the Eagles offer Tate a deal like the Torrey Smith contract when he was with the team—about $5 million a year.
A fast wide receiver is a need this offseason.
Certain: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rogers
This is the most solid position the Eagles have. Ertz and Goedert are here to stay, and Rogers will likely be back as well.
Certain: Isaac Seumalo, Jordan Mailata, Lane Johnson, Stefen Wisniewski, Brandon Brooks, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Matt Pryor, Chance Warmack
Uncertain: Jason Peters, Jason Kelce
Brandon Brooks is recovering from a ruptured achilles, which is concerning, but he should be back in time for the start of the season or close to it.
Jason Peters and Jason Kelce have both considered retiring recently. Peters is as old as time and could have retired and been on his way to the Hall of Fame two years ago, but keeps chugging along all the same. He is often injured these days, and he has to be considering retiring more than ever. I think he stays for one more season, because he really likes this team.
Kelce was a surprise potential retiree. I think his uncertainty will scare the Eagles into investing in a possible replacement on the interior of the offensive line. This could mean drafting a guard who can play center, or just drafting a center. I think he has the fire to play another season as well, and will return, but I would keep a close eye on him this offseason.
Offensive line depth is a need. I would expect two linemen to be drafted by the Eagles this year.
Certain: Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett, Fletcher Cox, Trayvon Hester, Josh Sweat, Bruce Hector
Uncertain: Chris Long, Timmy Jernigan, Haloti Ngata
Gone: Brandon Graham
Barnett is returning from the IR and Bennett is getting older and closer to retiring, but they should be fine in 2019.
Chris Long has considered retiring for a while now, and having just won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, I could understand him retiring now with a great legacy. He is, however, beloved by the team and fans, and that feeling seems to be mutual. He and Fletcher Cox seem to be best friends, as noted by their sideline and Twitter antics. I think he returns as well.
Timmy Jernigan will be expensive this season, and he has either underperformed or been injured for much of his time with Philly. The Eagles will likely add a first round defensive lineman whether Jernigan is back or not, so I think they’ll let him go and free up cap space, barring some kind of massive pay cut. I doubt he takes the pay cut.
Haloti Ngata is gone, having been on a veteran-minimum deal this season. He played well at times but the Eagles need new, fresh legs. Ngata might retire this offseason when the Eagles let him go, as he is a free agent.
Brandon Graham has stated that he will test free agency, so he is definitely gone. This one hurts, as Graham has made a legacy in Philly. After being labeled a bust when he was drafted in the first round by the Eagles in 2010, he worked his way up and became a consistent pass-rusher and run-stopper. He strip sacked Tom Brady to bring the Eagles their first Super Bowl win last year. He will be missed.
The defensive line is an area of need this offseason. Howie Roseman pointed out that this is a “historic” year for the d-line in the draft, so expect the Eagles to draft someone in the first round. I wouldn’t be surprised if they traded up for a better player in the draft as well.
Certain: Nigel Bradham, Paul Worrilow, Kamu Grugier-Hill, LaRoy Reynolds, Nate Gerry
Uncertain: Jordan Hicks, DJ Alexander
DJ Alexander was an Eagle for his special teams play, and he didn’t really produce this season. He’s probably gone.
Jordan Hicks has been injured for nearly two years straight, and the Eagles like him. I think he returns at a decent price, as his value has decreased with his health. If he walks, linebacker becomes a need.
Certain: Jalen Mills, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Cre’Von LeBlanc,
Uncertain: Ronald Darby
Darby is gone, he’ll likely opt for free agency, where he can make excellent money. Though Darby is a great player, the Eagles will be fine without him.
Despite the lack of household names, the Eagles secondary is subtly loaded, and I don’t think it will be a priority this offseason.
Certain: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Tre Sullivan, Diondre Hall
Uncertain: Chris Maragos, Corey Graham
Maragos is recovering from a two-year injury. I think something happens with him where he retires, or plays for practically nothing. The Eagles don’t need him, though he is very good on special teams, and is a leader in the locker room. I don’t see him playing for another team if he is let go, since he is 32 and hasn’t played in two years. I think he’s gone.
Corey Graham is old and inconsistent, but he has served as a decent reserve for the Eagles in the past. With McLeod returning and Tre Sullivan filling in at the end of this season, I think the Eagles are comfortable letting Graham go.
Safety is a moderate concern to the Eagles, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they went after one in the late rounds of the draft. I wouldn’t say it’s a need just yet.
Certain: Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnston, Rick Lovato
The Eagles have no needs at the specialist positions. Elliott is the clutch GOAT, Johnston has a boot, and Lovato hasn’t messed up yet, which is why many of you might not know who he is.
2 or 3 D-Linemen
1 Fast WR
With 9 picks in the draft this offseason, the Eagles should be well equipped to address their biggest needs and select late-round players who can compete for depth and role positions.