With less than a month until NFL free agency starts on March 13, it’s only natural to wonder about the status of the Philadelphia Eagles’ free agents. Who will the Eagles keep? Who will sign elsewhere? How much will it cost?
Thanks to a cool “market value” feature over at Spotrac, we have an idea of what new contracts will look like for some of the Eagles’ top free agents. These projections are formulated based on age, contract status, and statistical production.
Looking at these numbers could give us an idea of how realistic it is for the Eagles to keep them ... and/or what kind of compensatory picks Philly could be receiving in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Note that there’s no projection available for Nick Foles, who is currently set to be a free agent, but might get tagged and traded.
Total contract: 5 years, $79,259,620
Per year: $15,851,924
NFL rank: 42nd
DE rank: 7th
As you can see, Graham is projected to get PAID in free agency. Premium edge rushers do not come cheap. We previously offered some thoughts on what the Eagles should do with Graham.
Graham is set to be a free agent this offseason and it’s very possible the Eagles might not be able to retain him. Spotrac projects Graham to receive a contract worth $80 million over five years. That’s a lot of money to be investing in a 30-year-old pass rusher, especially for a cap-strapped team like Philly. The feeling here is that the Eagles should try their best to keep Graham around. His game should age well as he’s more of a power rusher than a speed rusher. He also doesn’t have as much tread on his tires since he only started 13 games in the first five years of his career. Graham is a great locker room presence and he also just happened to make the biggest play in Eagles history by strip-sacking Tom Brady in Super Bowl LII. Graham slayed the dragon in a situation where Brady is typically unstoppable. It’ll be impossible to blame Graham if he leaves for a big offer in free agency; he deserves to make as much money as he can. But losing him will be a big loss for the Eagles. It’ll be really sad to see him go.
Total contract: 3 yrs, $30,662,703
Per year: $10,220,901
NFL rank: 129th
WR Rank: 22nd
Tate recently made it sound like the Eagles haven’t shown interest in negotiating with him. That shouldn’t come as a surprise; the 30-year-old is likely to be valued more highly by a free agent suitor than he is by Philadelphia.
Unless the Eagles plan to move on from Nelson Agholor, I just can’t see them re-signing Tate. Some free agent rankings have him as the top receiver available. I don’t think the Eagles, who are working with limited cap space, will be rushing to pay him a big contract. Then again, Howie Roseman called the Tate trade a success, so maybe they’re interested in keeping him around? I’d guess Tate won’t be back in 2019. I think he signs elsewhere and the Eagles likely earn a fourth-round compensatory pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Total value: 6 yrs, $80,761,776
Per year: $13,460,296
NFL rank: 51st
CB rank: 7th
These numbers feel higher given that Darby is coming off an ACL injury suffered on November 12. Then again, he’s going to be one of the top corners on the market and he’s only 25 years old. Allen Robinson signed a three-year, $42 million deal worth $25.2 million guaranteed last year while coming off an ACL tear. Darby won’t get as much as this projection suggests but he won’t be cheap to sign, either.
Darby is going to be a free agent this offseason. His injury could potentially impact his market but I still think it’ll be strong. He’s arguably the best corner available in free agency. Some team will offer him more money than the Eagles are willing to pay. Philly’s probably counting on him to sign elsewhere so that it helps their compensatory pick formula. The Eagles could potentially get a 2020 fourth-round comp pick with Darby moving on.
Total contract: 2 yrs, $7,275,160
Per year: $3,637,580
NFL rank: 454th
RB rank: 22
Even knowing he’s coming off an ACL tear, this feels on the low end for the Jay Train. I would also think he’d want to take a one-year deal so he can try to have a good year and test the market next offseason. Bringing Ajayi back to Philly would make sense if the Eagles can get him on such a reasonable deal.
It’ll be very interesting to see what his market is like coming off an ACL injury. There was already concern about Ajayi’s “degenerative” knees prior to his 2018 injury. Perhaps his market won’t be so strong and the Eagles will be able to sign him to a relatively afford one-year, “prove it” deal. That might be the best option for both sides. The Eagles won’t be overpaying to keep Ajayi.