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NFL Free Agency 2017: Eight players the Eagles should sign

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Here’s who the Eagles could be interested in.

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New York Jets v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Now that NFL free agency is essentially here, who should the Philadelphia Eagles sign? Here’s a list of eight free agent players the Eagles could be interested in and why I think the Birds should sign them.

Kenny Britt

The Eagles are reportedly interested in Britt, along with every other free agent receiver. The difference is that Tim McManus is reporting the Eagles’ interest in Britt, which means we know the report is very credible. McManus has been hinting Britt as a possibility for the Eagles for quite some time now so it certainly seems like a realistic option.

The are a few reasons why I like Britt for the Eagles. The first is his expected cost. He’s reportedly only set to earn $6-8 million per year, which doesn’t seem that bad compared to high figures I’ve seen floated for the likes of Alshon Jeffery ($14-16 million), Kenny Stills, ($10-12 million), DeSean Jackson, ($10-$12 million), Terrelle Pryor ($10-11 million), etc.

Of course, you get what you pay for. The reason Britt isn’t expected to earn as much as the top guys is because he’s coming off his first 1,000 yards season and turns 29 in September.

But it’s not like Britt was a horrible player before his career year in 2016. The former first-round pick has averaged 15.8 yards per reception and nearly four touchdowns per season over his career. Take out an outlier year in 2013 when he only averaged 8.7 and his yards per reception moves up to to 16.1.

Britt put up good numbers despite having awful Rams quarterbacks Case Keenum and Jared Goff throwing to him last season. Britt reportedly wants to play with a better quarterback and he just might view Carson Wentz as that guy.

Giving Wentz a big target like the 6-3, 223 pound Britt seems like a good idea. He’s a legitimate physical starter on the outside. He can also work the underneath passing game (via PFF).

Best crossing route runner: Kenny Britt, Los Angeles Rams

Kenny Britt was incredibly efficient on crossing routes. He caught 15-17 targets for 224 yards, 2 touchdowns and a 158 WR rating — 12 points higher than Chris Hogan, the second-highest player. Ten of his 15 catches resulted in a first down or touchdown, converting 5 of 9 on third down. Britt was very efficient after the catch, averaging 6.06 yards and in the top half of all qualifying receivers. Britt showed the ability to run the crossing route at every level, having an aDOT of 9.12, with his route depth as low as 3 yards and as high as 18.

One of the concerns about Britt other than his numbers are his off-the-field concerns. He’s stayed out of trouble in recent years but those were an issue earlier in his career. It’s fair to wonder how the Eagles feel about bringing the Bayonne, New Jersey native back home.

The good news is the Eagles have Britt’s old wide receivers coach, Mike Groh. The inside information he has on Britt should be able to better guide the team’s decision about signing him.

Britt isn’t the savior for the Eagles at wide receiver. But given how bad Philadelphia’s receivers currently are, he would represent a nice upgrade at a decent cost.

Markus Wheaton

Everyone has joked about how the Eagles have been connected to all the free agent wide receivers on the market by now, but that isn’t literally true. There’s really been no mention of Wheaton, which is interesting.

The 26-year-old Wheaton seemed to be an ascending player before last season. Check out his stats.

2013 - 6 receptions, 64 yards, 0 TD
2014 - 53 receptions, 644 yards, 2 TD
2015 - 44 receptions, 749 yards, 5 TD
2016 - 4 receptions, 51 yards, 1 TD

Wheaton suffered a shoulder injury last year and was placed on injured reserve in November.

It looks like Wheaton is out in Pittsburgh because the Steelers don’t even have the room for him. The Eagles might want to gamble on his upside, especially if he doesn’t cost too much.

Kayvon Webster

Hardly a big name on the market, but Webster is a guy who shares a connection to the Eagles’ coaching staff. The 26-year-old was drafted by the Broncos in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft when Eagles defensive backs coach Cory Undlin previously held the same job with Denver. The 5-11, 195 pound Webster doesn’t have a ton of playing experience; he’s mostly contributed on special teams. Part of the reason he hasn’t played more, though, is because the Broncos are already loaded at cornerback with high-priced players like Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. Not to mention 2014 first-round pick Bradley Roby.

The Eagles likely won’t (and shouldn’t) spend big money on the cornerback position in free agency. Howie Roseman has been burned by that route before and the 2017 NFL Draft is so deep with cornerback talent that the Eagles should really just wait to draft some corners. Still, the Eagles need some more bodies at the position, so adding a low-cost guy like Webster could be a nice move. If he doesn’t earn a starting spot he could be a nice backup and special teams contributor to have.

Kyle Juszczyk

I kind of hope the Eagles don’t sign Juice because spelling his name is a chore. But the 25-year-old fullback (yes, a FULLBACK!) does make sense for Philadelphia. He shares a connection with Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas. Douglas Pederson, meanwhile, also seems interested in adding a fullback to the offense after not having a real one last year (sorry, Honey Beau Beau). Juice, who made the Pro Bowl last season, only has 25 rushing yards over four years but he’s contributed as a receiver with 97 receptions for 769 yards and five touchdowns. Along with serving as a lead blocker, Juice could be a nice extra option for Wentz in the passing game.

Chance Warmack

Warmack has been a bust for the Titans since being selected with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. He hasn’t been a total Danny Watkins-level disaster for Tennessee, though. It’s just that he hasn’t lived up to his draft status. Warmack might do well to find a change of scenery. Perhaps reconnecting with his old offensive coach from Alabama, Eagles’ own Jeff Stoutland, could do him good. Philadelphia is expected to have a hole at left guard with Allen Barbre potentially being traded or cut. The 25-year-old Warmack could be worth taking a Chance on.

Bennie Logan

It would be a real shame for the Eagles to have spent all that money on Vinny Curry last year only to not be able to keep Logan this offseason. Curry only played 40.5% of the team’s snaps last season and had the same amount of sacks (2.5) as Marcus Smith did. Curry also played 200 more snaps than Smith.

But enough about Vinny. This is about Bennie. The unfortunate reality is the Eagles might not be able to keep him because he might find more money on the market. It’d be a shame for the Eagles to lose Logan because he’s a pretty good player.

I can’t expect the Eagles to break the bank for Logan, so my selfish hope is that he returns to Philadelphia if he can’t find a big money offer in free agency. Allowing Logan to test the market could drive his value down if he doesn’t have a lot of takers. Maybe he’d be willing to sign a one-year deal and test the market again next offseason. At the very least, that would buy the Eagles more time to find his replacement at defensive tackle.

Nick Fairley

I’m fairley certain the Eagles were connected to Fairley in free agency last offseason but a signing never materialized.

If the Eagles aren’t able to retain Logan, the 29-year-old Fairley could be a nice stop-gap for Philadelphia. The former No. 13 overall pick obviously has experience playing in Jim Schwartz’s scheme.

Fairley racked up a career-high 6.5 sacks while playing a nice 69% of the Saints’ defensive snaps last season. If his price isn’t too high, he might provide a nice boost to the Eagles’ pass rush.

Eddie Lacy

I generally think the Eagles should stay away from running backs in free agency for two reasons. 1) It doesn’t make sense to pay a top-tier guy, especially when the 2017 NFL Draft is loaded with rushing talent. 2) The Eagles don’t need to add another part-time running back because they already have too many of those. Philadelphia needs a new lead rusher.

Enter Fat Eddie.

The 26-year-old’s career has taken a nose dive after getting off to such a promising start. Lacy rushed for a combined 2,317 yards and 20 touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons. He also contributed as a receiver with 77 receptions for 684 yards and four scores. Since then, however, Lacy has struggled with weight issues and injuries.

The former second-round pick’s value has never been lower than it is right now. It’s entirely possible the Packers opt to bring him back, but the Eagles should look into Lacy if the cost isn’t too high (which it shouldn’t be). Philadelphia badly needs help at running back and taking a flier on him wouldn’t preclude the team from drafting a rusher.

Overview

The Eagles won’t be able to sign all of these players. They’re tight on cap space. But the theme with these players is that they shouldn’t be outrageously expensive. The goal is to find good values and take chances on players with upside.