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Philadelphia Eagles Free Agents 2016: Stay or Go

The Eagles have 11 players whose contract are about to expire.

Elsa/Getty Images

As the Philadelphia Eagles set their sights on the 2016 NFL offseason, the front office must decide on which players deserve to stick around. The Birds have 11 free agents in total: nine unrestricted free agents and two restricted free agents. Let's look at the Eagles free agents and judge who the Eagles should keep or let walk.

WR Seyi Ajirotutu: Toots finished second on the team in special teams tackles last season despite missing some time due to injury. He didn't do much on offense in very limited playing time. The Eagles don't need to overpay to keep him around. Let him test the market and bring him back on a minimum deal, if anything. Pick: Go

CB E.J. Biggers: Biggers played surprisingly well at times. His performance in Week 16 against his former team was hard to believe. He was breaking up passes and then doing the Asante Samuel pose. You don't want Biggers playing in a full-time role but he seems OK as a depth player and a special teams contributor. Like with Ajirotutu, you can risk letting him hit the market and trying to bring him back on a minimum contract. Pick: Go

QB Sam Bradford: This is obviously the biggest decision of the Eagles have to make. Bradford has reportedly told teammates and coaches he wants to be back, but that has to be taken with a grain of salt. Money will be the real deciding factor whether Bradford stays or goes. Right now the quarterback has all the leverage. His agent, Tom Condon, is aggressive and probably won't negotiate a team-friendly deal. There will be a lot of suitors for Bradford if he does make it to free agency. Bradford didn't prove he's a franchise quarterback in 2015 and his injury history is still a legitimate concern. It's too risky for the Eagles to sign him to a long-term deal. If anything, the franchise tag makes the most sense for Philadelphia. The Eagles could hope to tag and trade him. If that doesn't work out, they can let him play out the season on the tag to see what one more year of Bradford looks like. Ultimately, though, I get the feeling it's more likely he's not back. The Eagles' decision makers (Howie Roseman, Jeffrey Lurie, Doug Pederson) have been lukewarm on him. They haven't come out and said "Bradford is our guy." You can't be lukewarm on a guy if you're making him your franchise quarterback. Pick: Go

CB Nolan Carroll: Carroll was having a decent season before he suffered a broken ankle on Thanksgiving. He's not a guy you want to pay big-time money as a starting cornerback but he was a serviceable guy to have relative to his contract. I don't know if the Eagles will want him back because they already have Byron Maxwell locked into one spot and they might feel ready to hand the reigns over to Eric Rowe at the other. I'm thinking Carroll might want to go elsewhere. The Eagles should at least talk to him to see what it would take for him to stay. Pick: Go

DE Vinny Curry: The Eagles have reportedly offered a deal to Curry and he's deciding whether to accept it or not. Curry grew up an Eagles fans and he's from New Jersey so the Birds have some "home town" advantages working for them. Still, they'll need to show the money, and Curry deserves what he's going to get. He's a valuable pass rusher to have around. One would think he'll be even more dangerous in the new 4-3 scheme the Eagles are expected to run under Jim Schwartz. Keeping Curry is an easy call. Pick: Stay

LB Najee Goode: Goode is a decent backup linebacker and he can contributed on special teams. Considering he didn't get any offers when the Eagles waived him in final cuts prior to the 2015 season, however, there's no need to rush into a deal. Bring him back on a cheap deal or nothing. Pick: Go

QB Thad Lewis: If the Eagles feel they need an extra arm for offseason practices, it's OK to bring Lewis back on a minimum deal. If not, goodbye, Thad. Pick: Go

DE Cedric Thornton: Swamp started his career in the NFL as a 4-3 DT but he thrived most as a 3-4 DE. The 27-year-old might be eager to hit the market after being a restricted free agent these past years. The 49ers could have interest in reuniting Thornton with defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro for San Francisco's 3-4 two-gap scheme. Thornton is a very good run defender but he doesn't provide much of a pass rush. Pick: Go

S Walter Thurmond: Thurmond's transition to safety was a successful one. He wasn't an All-Pro or anything but he was an above average starter at the least, and that's not something the Eagles can take for granted given their track record of bad safeties. Thurmond said he wants to return to Philadelphia but kind of made it sound like he might not be back due to the team needing to spend money at other positions. It also remains to be seen if the Eagles view Thurmond as a safety or a cornerback. Thurmond's a good player so the team should find a way to keep him around. Pick: Stay

C David Molk (RFA): I wonder how the Eagles feel about David Molk possibly being the one who wrote a book about how he hates the NFL. The backup center is coming off a torn biceps injury. He's small for an offensive lineman so he might not work out in the new scheme. He might not make the team, but he's cheap to keep around as an offseason body. Pick: Stay

OG Matt Tobin (RFA): The Eagles once hoped Tobin could be a starter for them but he's struggled in a full-time role. Tobin has the versatility to play any position on the offensive line except center. He's a decent run blocker. He is not very good in pass protection. The Eagles might as well offer him the lowest tender because he could be a cheap backup to keep around. Maybe Chip Kelly will want the 49ers to sign him to an offer sheet. If that's the case the Eagles can just let him walk. For now, I'll say he stays as a backup competing for a roster spot. Pick: Stay


Coming soon: We'll be taking a look at potential Eagles salary cap causalities in the near future.

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