As the Eagles set their sights on the 2015 offseason, the front office must decide on which players they want to bring back. Philadelphia has ten free agents in total: seven regular free agents, two restricted free agents, and one exclusive rights free agent.
Let's look at the Eagles free agents and judge who the Eagles should keep or let walk:
S Nate Allen: Last year the Eagles let Allen test the free agent waters before bringing him back on an inexpensive one-year deal. The team tried to find an upgrade but couldn't so they settled for another year of Allen. I think the Eagles will once again look for an upgrade. There were reports at the NFL trade deadline that the team was looking for a new starter to pair next to Malcolm Jenkins. If the team can't find an upgrade, perhaps they will be forced to revisit Allen as a cheap option yet again. Verdict: Go
CB Bradley Fletcher: The Eagles gave up too many big plays in 2014 and Fletcher was responsible for a number of them. Opposing quarterbacks were never afraid to throw to the wide receiver he was covering. Verdict: Go
OLB Brandon Graham: The former first round pick says he loves Philadelphia and I don't doubt that, but I also think he'll love money and an opportunity to start elsewhere. Graham has been an extremely productive pass rusher off the bench for the Eagles so they should definitely try to work out a deal. According to reports, they've already tried to work on a new contract. It's hard to imagine Graham won't at least try to test the market. The Eagles should try to keep him, but as of now I wouldn't count on him coming back. Verdict: Go
WR Jeremy Maclin: Maclin made a great decision to bet on himself last season by only taking a one-year contract. The 26-year-old receiver will earn a big pay day from the Eagles and he deserves it. Maclin likes Philly and Philly likes Maclin so I don't see why a deal shouldn't be able to get done. Verdict: Stay
LB Casey Matthews: Relative to expectations, the much-maligned Matthews played well in replacement of DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks. He really held his own as a two-down backer who can defend against the run. The Eagles shouldn't be looking to sign him to starter's money but Matthews has proven to be a reliable backup and special teams player. Verdict: Stay
QB Mark Sanchez: Did you know Mark Sanchez is the most accurate passer in Eagles franchise history? It's true, look it up. Despite his predictable struggles at the end of the season, Sanchez is still a decent backup to have. There are easily worse backups in the NFL. With Nick Foles never having been able to play a full season, the Eagles will need a good bench option. Sanchez might want to search for a team that gives him a chance to compete for playing time but I'm not sure if that opportunity will be there for him. The Eagles don't seem to be very high on Matt Barkley; they tried to trade him during final cuts. Verdict: Stay
WR Brad Smith: The veteran wide receiver and special teams ace finished fourth on the team in special teams tackles and he also recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown. The special teams play that Smith will be most remembered for, however, is that weird kickoff blunder against the Cowboys. Chip Kelly said it was Smith's duty as the upback to field that kick and he didn't. That mistake aside, Smith has been decent on special teams so I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to keep him for another year. Verdict: Stay
RB Chris Polk (RFA): All he does is score touchdowns. Polk's injury issues are a concern but the former undrafted free agent is definitely worth being tendered. He also contributes on special teams. Verdict: Stay
DE Cedric Thornton (RFA): Easy choice to tender the man called "Swamp" by his Eagles teammates. Thornton's a great run stuffer. Maybe the Eagles will even try to work out a contract extension with him. Verdict: Stay
WR Jeff Maehl (ERFA): Maehl is an exclusive-rights free agent which means the Eagles will offer him the minimum salary and Maehl will have no choice but to accept it (or else choose to leave the NFL). The Eagles will need bodies to fill out their 90-man offseason roster so they might as well keep him for now. Pick: Stay
Programming note: We'll be taking a look at potential Eagles salary cap causalities some time next week.