The Eagles have 12 players set to become free agents on March 14th when free agency begins. So I figured we'd play a little game of keep em/let em walk to decide who should be around in 2012. To start, here is the list of pending free agents.
DE Victor Abiamiri, RB Ronnie Brown, DT Antonio Dixon, OT King Dunlap, WR DeSean Jackson, DT Derek Landri, DT Trevor Laws, G Evan Mathis, DE Juqua Parker, FB Owen Schmitt, WR Steve Smith, QB Vince Young.
Personally, I've split them into three groups. Guys I want back for sure, guys I'm pretty much indifferent about and guys I don't want back.
Bring them back
Evan Mathis - Might be the most important pending free agent. He had a fantastic year and made himself a vital part of the line's success going forward.
Derek Landri - Made the most out of absolutely every snap he got this season and was one of the most productive DTs in football on a per snap basis. He's certainly earned another contract.
DeSean Jackson - Money will be the big issue here. If Jackson and Rosenhaus want Larry Fitzgerald money, there's a decent chance he's gone. But we don't know how that will work out yet. At this point all I can say is that I think he does play an important role on this team, his production would not be easily replaced and I'd like to see him back.
Antonio Dixon - His loss was a very underrated part of the reason why the Eagles struggled against the run so often this season. Plus, his play last season had to be part of the impetus for trading Brodrick Bunkley prior to this year. Bunkley went on to have a good season in Denver, but Dixon flat out outplayed him in 2010. I'm interested to see what he brings to the DL rotation when he's healthy next year.
King Dunlap - King has done a really good job when asked to fill in at time over these past two seasons. This is clearly a guy that has put in the work since his rookie season when he looked like he'd be completely useless. Line depth is important so King certainly has value, but a backup is a backup so I can't call him a "must bring back."
Owen Schmitt - He's done a perfectly acceptable job as the Eagles FB over these past couple seasons. If he's back, fine. If they want to try to upgrade, I'm fine with that too.
Let Em Walk
Victor Abiamiri, Ronnie Brown, Vince Young - These all need no explanation.
Steve Smith - I would not be at all surprised to see Steve Smith have a resurgence next year. He came off a terrible knee injury suffered late in 2010 and clearly looked like a shell of himself in 2011. Maybe he'll never get back to his Pro Bowl level, but next year he'll be two years removed from microfracture knee injury and should be more productive than he was here. All that said... he can do it somewhere else.
Trevor Laws - He's really shown flashes of being a disruptive player in the middle, but in your fourth year you need to be showing more than flashes. I was really close to putting Laws in the "indifference" category, but looking at the DT position on the team, it's hard to see where he'd even fit.
Juqua Parker - He's given 7 years of solid service to the Eagles and I certainly appreciate that. However, he's going to be 34 this year. He had trouble staying healthy and assuming Brandon Graham comes into next year ready, it's really hard to see a place for him on the squad.