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The Philadelphia Eagles have won exactly nine games in three of the past four seasons. However, they want to be a championship contender again like they were in 2017, when they won the Super Bowl for the first time in the franchise’s long history.
In 2021, the Eagles progressed through Nick Sirianni’s first year as head coach, as they rebounded from a 4-11-1 campaign in 2020 to qualify for the playoffs as the third NFC wild card team. Now, Philadelphia will be looking to make moves this offseason that will help it continue to progress.
How will the Eagles continue to build around quarterback Jalen Hurts on offense? What will they do to close some of their key holes in defense? Those are among the questions Philadelphia faces ahead of its entry into free agency, which begins Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, although the legal tampering period begins 48 hours earlier on Monday.
Here’s a last-minute free agency guide for the Eagles with the offseason about to heat up.
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NFL 2022 Cap: $208.2 million
Heading area: $17.3 million, by Over the Cap
The Eagles don’t have a ton of cap space available, but they have enough financial flexibility to be able to add a few notable players during free agency. There’s always the possibility that Philadelphia could create more cap space by removing or trading players down the line.
While the Eagles can be quite active during free agency, it’s worth noting that they have 10 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, including three in the first round. So maybe Philadelphia will wait to meet some of its big needs until then.
It will be interesting to see how Eagles general manager Howie Roseman navigates this offseason and what steps he takes to try to help the team build on its recent momentum.
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- S Rodney McLeod
- S Anthony Harris
- BY Derek Barnett
- CB Steven Nelson
- BY Ryan Kerrigan
- DT Hassan Ridgeway
The Eagles’ most notable free agents are all defensive players, so it’s possible they’ll have big holes on that side of the ball if they don’t bring the majority of them back. And it seems highly unlikely that every player on this list will return to Philadelphia in 2022.
Harris, McLeod and Nelson were all solid high school contributors last year. They each started at least 13 games, with Harris and Nelson each playing their first seasons for the Eagles. If Philadelphia loses one of the three, it will have to find a suitable replacement.
It seems unlikely that Barnett or Kerrigan will return. The Eagles’ pass rush struggled in 2021, and Barnett never lived up to his potential as a first-round pick in 2017. He had a career-low two sacks in 16 games last season. Kerrigan will be 34 at the start of the upcoming season and had no sacks in 16 games with Philadelphia last year, his first with the team.
The Eagles are in good shape on offense as the majority of their key players are under contract for 2022.
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Last season, the Eagles ranked 31st in the NFL with 29 sacks. They need their defensive front to start putting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, which could help the unit perform better as a whole. And if Barnett and Kerrigan don’t return, they’ll also lack depth on the edges.
Among the top free agents to consider for Philadelphia is likely to be Haason Reddick, who could be a great pick and would provide a substantial upgrade. According to Boardroom Jordan Schultzthe Eagles are interested in Chandler Jones, who could also provide veteran leadership.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Philadelphia added several rushers, some of whom can be acquired through the draft.
It may not be necessary if the Eagles bring Harris and/or McLeod back. But as it stands, Philadelphia has two major holes in the back of its secondary, and it will have to consider whether it’s worth spending the money to bring back its two starters from last season.
Harris is 30 and McLeod is 31, but both are still playing at a productive level and could contribute for the Eagles in the short term. However, there are also quality safeties in the free agent market, and someone like Jordan Whitehead, who turns 25 this week, could be a good long-term pick.
Darius Slay will likely continue as the Eagles’ No. 1 cornerback, while Avonte Maddox has proven effective in the slot. But Philadelphia will have to bring in someone to fill Nelson’s role unless the 29-year-old re-signs with the team.
Levi Wallace and Xavier Rhodes are among the experienced CBs in the free agent market who have already seen success and could boost the Eagles secondary. Or the team could try to fill that hole via the draft, as they can try to do with multiple defensive positions.
Philadelphia has used a lot of interim capital in recent years to try to bolster its receiving corps. DeVonta Smith, a 2021 first-round pick, showed a ton of potential as a rookie last season. Meanwhile, Jalen Reagor, a 2020 first-round pick, still isn’t producing as much as the Eagles probably had hoped.
It could be beneficial for Philadelphia to bring in a proven receiver who can be a reliable target for Hurts, rather than attempt the draft again. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Christian Kirk and DJ Chark Jr. could be good WRs to potentially target for the Eagles.