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NFL Free Agency Recap: Eagles signings, trades, cuts, and players left unsigned

Recapping what happened since free agency began.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

For what feels like the first time in a long time, the Philadelphia Eagles are having a relatively quiet offseason. It’s early, of course, but the Birds are usually way more active in NFL free agency.

Part of the reason their activity has been limited is because they lack a ton of cap space. And a big reason why they lack cap space is because they already have a core group of players under contract. A core group of players good enough to win a Super Bowl, mind you.

With that said, the Eagles still did make some moves since the offseason officially began. Here’s a recap of what’s taken place so far.

SIGNED WITH EAGLES

Free agents from other teams

DT Haloti Ngata - 1 year, $2.6 million

LB Corey Nelson - 1 year, $1.6 million

Re-signings

LB Nigel Bradham - 5 years, $40 million

TRADES

Received

DE Michael Bennett, 2018 seventh-round pick, CB Daryl Worley

Sent

WR Marcus Johnson, 2018 fifth-round pick, WR Torrey Smith

EAGLES FREE AGENTS

TE Trey Burton - 4 years, $32 million with the Chicago Bears

CB Patrick Robinson - 4 years, $20 million with the New Orleans Saints

DT Beau Allen - 3 years, $16.5 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

K Caleb Sturgis - 2 years, $4.45 million with the Los Angeles Chargers

RB LeGarrette Blount - 1 year, $2 million with the Detroit Lions

RB Darren Sproles

S Corey Graham

LB Najee Goode

LB Bryan Braman

RB Kenjon Barner

DB Jaylen Watkins

LB Dannell Ellerbe

OT Will Beatty

CUT BY EAGLES

DE Vinny Curry - 3 years, $27 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TE Brent Celek - Reportedly visited Detroit Lions

RETIRED

P Donnie Jones


OVERALL THOUGHTS

  • Keeping Bradham was the most important move for the Eagles. Philadelphia would’ve had a huge need at linebacker if they didn’t re-sign him. His contract is much more team-friendly than the “5 years, $40 million” sticker indicates. That makes it even better for the Birds. Bradham is a reliable starter who is one of the best coverage linebackers in the league. He’s proven he has the versatility to play strongside linebacker and also fill in at middle linebacker when necessary.
  • The Ngata signing is pretty solid. Some might question why the Eagles are signing a 34-year-old coming off injury, which is fair. But I think those people might be selling him short. At the very least, he’s a very good run-stuffing defensive tackle to have around. Beau Allen played 41% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps last season. Given how much Jim Schwartz likes to rotate his defensive linemen, having a good No. 3 DT is important. Ngata’s presence, in theory, should help make Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan more effective by keeping them fresh.
  • I don’t think I was the only one who had never heard of Nelson before the Eagles signed him. With that said, it’s a genius move. Ha, just kidding, but I do think it makes sense. Doug Pederson said the Eagles really want to improve their special teams unit, so Nelson should at least be able to help with that. He also might end up being the weakside linebacker in this scheme. If that’s the case, he’ll probably play about 30% of the defensive snaps (barring injury). That’s about what Mychal Kendricks played in 2016 for Philly. Speaking of MK, signing Nelson arguably gives the Eagles enough depth to finally trade their 2012 second-round pick. Doing so would free up even more cap space and net the Eagles some kind of draft pick. I know Kendricks has been on the block forever now but I think it’s finally going to happen for real this time.
  • Adding Michael Bennett to a defensive line that generated the most pressures in the NFL last season is a scary thought. Scary for the Eagles’ opponents, that is. Bennett could be even more effective now that he doesn’t have to play a ton of snaps like he did for the Seahawks. The Eagles’ rotation should keep him fresh. Bennett’s ability to rush the passer from defensive tackle figures to give the Eagles even more juice when it comes to generating interior pressure. And to think Howie Roseman got Bennett for the mere cost of Marcus Johnson and Matt Tobin.
  • Getting ANYTHING for Torrey Smith was a win for the Birds. He was going to be cut. Worley isn’t even a lock to make the Eagles’ roster, but the 23-year-old corner with starting experience is at least worth taking a chance on. Anything they get out of him is really a bonus.
  • It’s a bummer that the Eagles lost a number of good and likeable contributors to other teams. We knew this was coming, though. The team simply couldn’t afford to pay everyone. The good news is that the Eagles should be receiving compensatory picks in the 2019 NFL Draft for their losses this offseason. Early projections indicate the Eagles will receive a fourth and two sixths. Better than nothing.
  • I’m interested to see what happens with Sproles. It’d be great if the Eagles could re-sign him since they need both a pass-catching running back and a punt returner.
  • It wouldn’t be a shock to see Corey Graham return as the Eagles’ third safety, though I think the Birds would prefer to add someone for that role in the 2018 NFL Draft. Maybe the Eagles give Graham a call in the summer if he’s still on the market and they couldn’t find a replacement for him.
  • Losing Curry is a bummer because he was solid for the Eagles last year. They had to cut him, though, due to his high cap number.
  • Slot corner and tight end are two big needs for this team right now. The Eagles MUST sign at least one veteran tight end in free agency.
  • Is Cameron Johnston ready to take over as the Eagles’ punter with Donnie Jones hanging ‘em up? I’d prefer they gave him some competition in camp this offseason.
  • When is the Brandon Graham contract extension coming, if at all? The feeling here is that keeping Graham around is an investment worth making for the Super Bowl LII champs.