With the start of 2014 NFL free agency only a little over a week away, it's time to take a look ahead to who the Eagles may be targeting. The Eagles aren't necessarily expected to be big spenders, but given their large needs in certain areas (see: safety) it's a safe bet they will bring in some new faces. BGN has already started to profile these potential free agent targets.
For this activity, I used two different sources. One: Greg Bedard of The MMQB released a two part series in which he ranks the top 100 free agents and projects where they could land. Two: Rotoworld keeps an updated list of the 150 top free agents ranked by position. Let's get started.
Eagles Free Agent Targets
Safety M.D. Jennings - Green Bay Packers
MMQB Rank: 100/100
Rotoworld Rank: (17 out of 49 RFA)
Didn’t look the part of a starter last season when given an opportunity. Packers may not tender him at $1.4 million, but he’s flashed some talent. Best fit: Eagles. They need help at safety, and a change of scenery might help him.
It's worth noting Jennings is a restricted free agent. Jennings could receive a low tender from the Packers or maybe none at all.
K Graham Gano - Carolina Panthers
The MMQB: 94/100
Rotoworld: 7/12 K
Comes off a fantastic season in which he hit 89 percent of his field goals, including all six of 50-plus yards. Even more impressive was his 79.7 percent touchback rate, best in league since 1994
Gano re-signed with the Panthers on February 28th. Mark Saltveit, who had Gano pegged as the Eagles' number one free agent target, weeps.
S Malcolm Jenkins - New Orleans Saints
The MMQB: 30/100
Rotoworld: 7/40 S
Hasn’t quite lived up to being the 14th overall pick in 2009. He’s been a solid, versatile player but hasn’t stood out in any facet of the game. Potential is still there. Best fit: Eagles. They have to get more dynamic in the back end.
Jenkins, a converted cornerback, could give the Eagles a versatile player in the secondary. Safety is definitely a huge need. Smith wouldn't require the Eagles to break the bank and he could fit the line of solid additions the Eagles made in free agency last offseason.
S Chris Clemons - Miami Dolphins
The MMQB: 21/100
Rotoworld: 5/40 S
An underrated, under-appreciated player in the Dolphins secondary, Clemons should get the chance to flourish elsewhere. He can play both safety spots. Best fit: Eagles. They’re looking at wholesale changes in the back, and he shouldn’t break the bank.
As I already stated, the Eagles need new safeties. This would be another solid addition. Clemons' name has come up as a popular alternative to bigger targets such as Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward.
OLB Jason Worilds - Pittsburgh Steelers
The MMQB: 12/100
Rotoworld: 2/25 OLB
Finally got a chance to play every down when Lamarr Woodley was injured. He showed a knack for getting to the passer, and there is a dearth of 3-4 OLBs in free agency. Best fit: Eagles. Suitors will line up for Worilds. He’d bring instant impact opposite Trent Cole.
Worilds figures to be the top free agent 3-4 outside linebacker on the market not named Brian Orakpo. Worilds won't come cheap given the landscape of the market. Bedard's reasoning in this selection isn't very reasonable either. The Eagles aren't looking for an OLB opposite of Cole as much as they are looking to replace Cole in the long-term. Connor Barwin is perfectly fine at the other OLB spot.
Eagles Pending Free Agents
Here's a list of how the current Eagles' pending free agents rank.
WR Jeremy Maclin
The MMQB: 66/100
Rotoworld: 2/45 WR
Looked ready to take the next step with Chip Kelly’s arrival but suffered second ACL tear since college in July. He’ll likely get a one-year "prove it" deal somewhere. Best fit: Eagles. Cheaper than fellow free agent Riley Cooper, and fits the scheme better.
Maclin obviously re-signed with the Eagles to a new one-year deal. It was interesting to see The MMQB rank Maclin so low. Rotoworld was very high on Maclin.
WR Riley Cooper
The MMQB: 55/100
Flourished in Chip Kelly’s system, with 47 receptions, 835 yards, eight TDs. But teams are going to have to determine how much of that was scheme. Cooper is not a No. 1, and has a hard time versus press coverage. Best fit: Lions. Could help take heat off Calvin Johnson.
Cooper re-signed with the Eagles on a five-year contract. It was curious to see Cooper was ranked higher than Maclin on The MMQB's list. When you consider Rotoworld's rankings of Maclin (2) and Cooper (10), the Eagles added two top 10 free agent receivers from this year's market. That's not a bad way to look at it.
QB Michael Vick
The MMQB: 45/100
By far the best free-agent QB, but at his age and the way he plays, time is ticking. He’ll never be consistent from the pocket, but he still can make plays with his feet. Best fit: Raiders. Depending on whom they draft, Vick could grab the starting role.
Vick is one of the best quarterback options in a market devoid of talent. Vick said he still plans to be a starter in the NFL this year so he will look to sign somewhere where he can get that kind of opportunity.
P Donnie Jones
The MMQB: No rank (an outrage!)
Rotoworld: 2/5 P
The Eagles can't officially negotiate a new deal with Jones until free agency starts. It's only a matter of time before they bring Jones back.
S Nate Allen
The MMQB: No rank
Rotoworld: 10/40 S
Allen wasn't included in the Eagles' flurry of in-house moves this past week. Will they look to bring him back?
DE Clifton Geathers
The MMQB: No rank
Rotoworld: 28/40 DE
Geathers has said he wants to stay in Philadelphia, but the feeling may not be mutual. Maybe the Eagles bring him back on a minimum deal for depth purposes.
OLB Phillip Hunt
The MMQB: No rank
Rotoworld: 29 out of 49 RFA
It would be surprising to see the Eagles tender Hunt. He's probably gone.
S Kurt Coleman and S Colt Anderson
No rankings. Special teams players and deep reserve safeties.
To recap, this activity has the Eagles adding three new safeties: two likely starters (Jenkins, Clemons) and one backup (Jennings). It also has them adding a new starting pass rusher in Worilds.
What do you make of these potential targets and who do you project the Eagles to sign?