CSN Philly's Geoff Mosher published an interesting article containing some of the sourced information he's heard during his time at the 2015 NFL Combine this past week. Read the entire piece here. There's nothing too pressing to discuss but there are some good nuggets in there. Here are the main takeaways from Mosher's column, and my thoughts on them:
Don't rule out a Brandon Graham return.
"Don’t shut the door on a return for Graham. Sources close to the outside linebacker still believe it’s more likely he’ll leave in free agency, but they haven’t ruled out an Eagles return."
Mosher's report kind of aligns with the report from Tim McManus on Monday. It doesn't seem impossible that Graham will return to Philadelphia, but it does seem more likely he will test the market, especially if he's truly looking for $30 million.
The Eagles are waiting to make a decision on Cary Williams.
"The Eagles haven’t yet approached Williams about his future. The source believes the Eagles are waiting to see what upgrades they can make in free agency before deciding Williams’ fate."
Last week it was reported that there's a 50-50 chance Williams to return to Philadelphia. He carries a $8 million cap figure in 2015 and the Eagles could save $6.5 million by releasing him. Some have argued it might be hard for the Eagles to replace two starting cornerbacks in one offseason with impending Bradley Fletcher not likely to return. Perhaps the Eagles feel the same way and want to make sure they can replace Williams before they jettison him from the roster. Think back to last year: the Eagles released Patrick Chung very shortly after free agency started. The reason for the delay was that they wanted to make sure they had someone else in the fold (Malcolm Jenkins, in this case) before cutting Chung loose. In any case, I have a hard time seeing Williams return unless he takes a pay cut, which I don't think he will.
One more interesting note on Williams regarding his attitude:
"One misconception, the source said, is that Williams isn’t fond of Kelly. Williams has been outspoken about some of Kelly’s practice methods and scheduling, but he likes Kelly’s coaching style and wants to remain with the team. Per the source, Williams had some ideological differences with former cornerbacks coach John Lovett, who has been reassigned this offseason to a scouting role and replaced by new cornerbacks coach Cory Undlin."
Trent Cole's future
"The Eagles and outside linebacker Trent Cole will meet within the next week to discuss a contract restructure that will keep Cole in house."
How will these negotiations go? Cole has said he's willing to restructure his contract to stay. The Eagles can save nearly $8 million by cutting him, but the team might need him if they can't re-sign Graham. Losing both Graham and Cole would leave the Eagles with just Connor Barwin and Marcus Smith II. The 2014 first round pick is still a major question mark after only playing 105 snaps in his rookie season.
Chris Polk's last season as an Eagle?
"Backup running back Chris Polk, a restricted free agent, will get the lowest-level tender from the team, per a league source. Last’s year lowest tender paid $1.323 million. This year’s isn’t yet known. Another team can offer Polk, but the Eagles have the right to match the offer and retain him. If they don’t match, the Eagles wouldn’t get any draft compensation in return.
The low tender basically ensures that 2015 will be Polk’s last season with the Eagles, who haven’t shown any interest in an extension. Polk isn’t upset by his limited carries during his three-year tenure but, per the source, he’d like his role to be more defined. The Eagles have never used Polk consistently, either as a ball carrier or kick returner."
Not unexpected. The Eagles clearly liked Polk enough to keep him despite his injury issues last summer, but there isn't an indication he's in the long-term plans. Polk is currently stuck behind LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles. It's possible the Eagles add another running back through the draft. Last year the Eagles parted ways with Bryce Brown for a fourth round pick from the Buffalo Bills. The Eagles might be able to trade Polk this offseason for a late round pick.
Nolan Carroll to move to safety?
"Nolan Carroll, who played well in the dime linebacker role last year, would move to safety if the team approaches him about it. He just wants more opportunities to play."
I don't doubt that Carroll would have a willingness to play at safety. I do doubt that the Eagles will ask him to move there. The Eagles could be looking to replace both cornerbacks on the outside so Carroll might be competing for one of those jobs instead.
Fletcher Cox extension on the horizon
"No extension talks have taken place yet between the Eagles and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who’s one of several Eagles draft picks with three years accrued and therefore eligible for an extension of their rookie deal, but it’s believed talks will take place soon."
Cox is very important to the Eagles. This deal will get done.
Brandon Boykin to stay in the slot
Not really a surprise given how the Eagles have used him up to this point.
Two free agent targets
Mosher mentions two under-the-radar names the Eagles could like in free agency. More on that here.