2019 NFL free agency will be here before you know it. The league’s “legal tampering window” (so silly) begins on Monday, March 11 before the new league year OFFICIALLY begins at 4:00 PM ET on Wednesday, March 13.
The Philadelphia Eagles likely won’t be super active in free agency this offseason. Currently sitting at about $2.1M in cap space, the Eagles simply don’t have the room to be big spenders.
Depending on the moves they make, however, the Eagles will be able to free up some money by cutting and/or trading some players.
We won’t know for sure who the Eagles will sign until free agency starts, but maybe we can glean some hints based on past relationships. The Eagles are very big on the concept of familiarity, as evidenced by their “cohabitation matrix.”
Let’s take a look at some connections the Eagles have to this year’s crop of free agents. By using this method last year, I was able to identify four players that Philadelphia would end up signing. Two years ago, I also identified four players the Eagles would go on to sign.
Note that I am not including the Eagles’ own free agents (Brandon Graham, Nick Foles, etc.) on this list.
JOE DOUGLAS - VP OF PLAYER PERSONNEL
In 2017, Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery were players added with Douglas ties. In 2018, Haloti Ngata and Kamar Aiken qualified as Douglas guys. Who, if anyone, will it be in 2019?
DE Za’Darius Smith
Smith is one of the many edge rushers potentially available in free agency this year. The 26-year-old measures in at 6-4, 275 pounds and is coming off a career high 8.5 sacks in 2018. Pro Football Focus wrote about Smith as a player on the rise: “The great thing about one-year wonder type pass-rushers is that the reward can sometimes greatly outweigh the risk. Unlike Dee Ford, Smith has seen a consistent upward trend in his production throughout his four-year career before a breakout 2018 in which he racked up 60 pressures during the regular season. Also unlike Ford, he doesn’t have the first round pedigree or gaudy sack totals. That equals high risk to many GM’s, which only serves to drive his price tag down and drive his potential value up.” The Ravens selected Smith with a 2015 fourth-round pick during Douglas’s final draft with Baltimore. The Eagles might want to gamble on his upside to replace Brandon Graham.
WR Breshad Perriman
The Eagles reportedly showed interest in Breshad Perriman during the 2018 season before signing Jordan Matthews instead. Perriman ended up with the Browns, where he had 16 receptions for 340 yards (21.3 average) and two touchdowns. The No. 26 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft could be worth taking a risk on as he likely wouldn’t cost much. He doesn’t turn 26 until September.
DE Terrell Suggs
T-Sizzle isn’t what he once was but the 36-year-old is coming off a seven sack season. Perhaps he could be a fallback, stop gap option for Philly should they lose the likes of Brandon Graham *and* Chris Long. Suggs overlapped with Douglas in Baltimore for 12 years.
DE Pernell McPhee
The Ravens selected McPhee with a fifth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He then signed with the Bears during the same offseason that Douglas left Baltimore to join Chicago’s front office. McPhee could fit in the Eagles’ defensive end rotation if they’re looking for a veteran.
DT Brent Urban
The Ravens selected Urban with a fourth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He doesn’t offer much, if any, pass rush juice but he can help stuff the run. The Eagles could sign him to be their Beau Allen/Haloti Ngata replacement as a third guy in their defensive tackle rotation.
LB C.J. Mosley
Mosley, 26, is one of the top free agents on the entire market. He’s going to get a lot of money; Spotrac projects his next contract to be worth nearly $50 million over five years. I can’t see Eagles spending that much on the position in addition to Nigel Bradham’s contract. I will note that Mosley was the Ravens’ No. 17 overall pick in 2014 and the Eagles were reportedly hot after him that year.
LB Albert McClellan
The Eagles worked out McLellan early during the 2018 season but ultimately passed on signing him. Here’s what I wrote at the time: “The 32-year-old veteran spent time with Baltimore from 2010 through 2017. McClellan has 98 total tackles and three sacks to his name. He’s carved out a career as a special teams contributor.” McClellan might just retire after winning a Super Bowl — the second of his career — with the Patriots this year.
TE Maxx Williams
Williams has been a disappointment for the Ravens since they selected him in the second-round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He only has 63 receptions for 497 yards and three touchdowns over four seasons. Williams, who only turns 25 in April, is a good blocker so the Eagles could ink him as a No. 3 tight end. I’d think Philly will just re-sign Richard Rodgers, though.
RB Javorius Allen
The Ravens selected Allen with a fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. His 3.7 career average isn’t impressive but he does offer pass catching ability with 129 career receptions for 814 yards and six touchdowns. He’d fit into the Eagles’ rotation but he hardly seems like someone to be excited about.
QB Tyrod Taylor
The feeling here is the Eagles are ready to have Nate Sudfeld replace Nick Foles as Carson Wentz’s backup. Should Philly be looking for a veteran backup, however, Taylor could make sense. The 2011 sixth-round pick overlapped with Douglas in Baltimore for four seasons.
S Terrence Brooks
Brooks was a third-round pick when Douglas was still with the Ravens in 2014. The Eagles claimed Brooks on waivers in 2016 after Baltimore cut him. Brooks remained with Philly until the Eagles traded him to the Jets for Dexter McDougle prior to the 2017 season. The Jets recently announced they won’t be picking up Brooks’ option so the Eagles could look to bring him back as a third safety / special teams contributor. He’s still only 26.
CB Bryce Callahan
One of the better slot corners in the league. Douglas overlapped with him for a year in Chicago. I don’t see the Eagles being interested when they already have slot options in Cre’Von LeBlanc and Avonte Maddox.
S Adrian Amos
The Penn State alumnus figures to be one of the best safety options on the market. He doesn’t make sense for Philly with Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod entrenched as the starters.
HOWIE ROSEMAN - EVP OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS
DE Vinny Curry
Roseman drafted Curry in the second-round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He then signed Curry to a lucrative extension in 2016. The Eagles released Curry last offseason and he signed with the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay cut Curry earlier this month so now he’s available to sign. The Eagles shouldn’t be in a rush to sign Curry but he could make sense as a fallback option. He clearly knows the scheme and fits in the locker room.
RB LeGarrette Blount
I’ll always love LG for his contributions to the Eagles’ Super Bowl run but I didn’t get people clamoring to trade for him last season. Blount averaged a mere 2.7 yards per carry with the Lions in 2018. Maybe he’d have done better behind the Eagles’ offensive line but maybe age is just catching up with the 32-year-old.
RB Kenjon Barner
I always liked Kenjon more than most but I don’t see a reunion happening.
WR Russell Shepard
The Eagles signed Shepard as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2013 NFL Draft. Philly waived him in final cuts that year but he’s since carved out a solid career for himself with 57 receptions for 822 yards and six touchdowns over six seasons. He’s a fourth/fifth/sixth receiver type who can contribute on special teams.
WR Cody Latimer
Here’s what I wrote about Latimer last year: “A source once told me that Roseman really liked Latimer heading into the 2014 NFL Draft. Latimer was Roseman’s guy while Chip Kelly was all about Jordan Matthews. The Eagles obviously ended up with JMatt while Latimer went to Denver and did ... virtually nothing. In four years with the Broncos, Latimer put up 35 receptions for 445 yards and three touchdowns. Not the production you’re looking for from a second-round pick. Latimer is still only 25 years old, though, and he has a good combination of size and athleticism (just check out his spider graph). He could be worth a flyer as a guy who competes for a fourth/fifth/sixth receiver spot.” Latimer had 11 receptions for 190 yards and one touchdown with the Giants in 2018.
DT Bennie Logan
The Eagles’ 2013 third-round pick left Philly to play for KC in 2017 before spending a year with the Titans in 2018. He only has 1.5 sacks in his last 30 games. It’d be nice if the Eagles could bring him back as a third defensive tackle behind Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan but I’d guess he’ll be looking for a bigger role.
OG Josh LeRibeus
LeRibeus spent four months on the Eagles’ offseason roster in 2017. He has center/guard versatility. The Eagles could bring him in to compte for a roster spot as a backup. But they probably won’t.
DT Damion Square
The Eagles signed Square as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2013. He played 10 games in Philly prior to getting cut in 2014. Square has since spent five seasons with the Chargers. He’s a rotational backup defensive tackle.
LB Mychal Kendricks
This reunion won’t be happening, even though the Eagles will have a need at linebacker with Jordan Hicks potentially leaving in free agency. Kendricks’ sentencing for insider trading is set for April 4. He could be facing up to 37 months in prison.
LB Najee Goode
Special teams contributor and backup linebacker that the Eagles decided to not retain last year.
CB Eric Rowe
Schwartz wasn’t a big fan of Rowe, which is why the Eagles traded him to the New England Patriots in 2016. The Eagles ultimately used that pick to acquire Jay Ajayi, by the way.
DOUG PEDERSON - HEAD COACH
RB Spencer Ware
Ware tasted his first NFL success when Pederson spent time sharing play-call duty for the Chiefs in 2015. Filling in for an injured Jamaal Charles, Ware took 72 carries for 403 yards (5.6 average) and six touchdowns. In 2016, Ware proved he could be productive as a pass catcher with 33 receptions for 447 yards (a strong 13.5 average) and two scores. Ware’s 2017 season was lost due to a PCL injury but he came back strong in 2018 averaging 4.8 yards per carry and 11.2 yards per reception. Ware, 27, should be in the Eagles’ price range if they want to bring him in as the main guy in their rotation.
FB Anthony Sherman
The Eagles haven’t had a traditional fullback in quite some time. I imagine Sherman will likely re-up in KC but I’ll note that Sherman and Pederson overlapped from 2013 through 2015.
DE Dee Ford
Ford is expected to be hit with the franchise tag so he probably won’t be available to the Eagles.
WR Chris Conley
The Chiefs drafted Conley, an athletic freak, in the third-round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He’s been “unremarkable” as a third or fourth receiver type for KC. Maybe Doug feels like there’s untapped potential here.
WR De’Anthony Thomas
The Chiefs’ 2014 fourth-round pick is a gadget player who can contribute as a runner or receiver. DAT also has return ability.
TE Demetrius Harris
Harris overlapped with Pederson for two seasons in Kansas City. The Eagles could sign him as a third tight end if Richard Rodgers isn’t retained.
S Ron Parker
Parker could make sense if he’s willing to accept playing in the Corey Graham role as a third safety behind Jenkins and McLeod.
CB Phillip Gaines
Gaines was a fourth-round pick by the Chiefs in 2014. He has experience at nickel corner. I think the Eagles are set there.
LB Frank Zombo
3-4 outside linebacker background. Can help on special teams.
JIM SCHWARTZ - DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR
DE Ezekiel Ansah
I can’t help but wonder if Ansah might be one of the top free agent pass rushers the Eagles are rumored to be targeting. Schwartz’s Lions selected Ansah with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. There are some issues with Ansah that could potentially drive down his price to make him more affordable. He’s missed 14 games in his past three seasons and he finished with sacks totals of two in 2016 and four in 2018. Spotrac projects Ansah’s next contract to be less lucrative ($13.5 million average annual) than what Brandon Graham’s next pay day will be ($15.4 million average annual). Maybe Schwartz feels like Ansah is the answer for the Eagles. (*booing ensues*)
LB Preston Brown
I previously wrote the following about Brown: “If the Eagles don’t retain Hicks, they’ll need a new starting linebacker alongside Bradham. One free agent with a connection to the Eagles is Bradham’s former teammate, Preston Brown. Jim Schwartz trusted Brown enough to have the rookie start 14 games at linebacker for the Bills in 2014. He remained as a full-time in Buffalo before joining the Bengals as a free agent on a one-year, $5 million deal worth $2 million guaranteed in 2018. Cincinnati placed Brown on injured reserve in late November due to a knee injury. With the Bengals bringing in a new coaching staff, the 26-year-old Brown could be looking for a new home that offers familiarity. The Eagles might be able to get him on a one-year, “prove it” deal.”
DT Ndamukong Suh
Remember when Suh reportedly told the Eagles he’d play for them for free? Yeah, well, he signed a one year, $14.5 million contract with the Rams last offseason instead. I imagine the 32-year-old will be too pricey for Philly once again but I’ll mention him here since Schwartz picked him at No. 2 overall in 2010.
MIKE GROH - OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
WR Kevin White
The No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft has been a massive bust. In 14 games played over three seasons, White has just 25 receptions for 285 yards and zero touchdowns to his name. The Eagles could look to take a flier on White by signing him to a non-guaranteed contract. White — an Emmaus, PA native — could have interest in connecting with his first NFL receiver coach in Groh. It’s also worth noting White and Joe Douglas overlapped in Chicago for one year.
WR Josh Bellamy
Bellamy and Groh were both with the Bears from 2014 through 2015. Bellamy’s last year with Groh was the first year he had any real NFL production, with 19 receptions for 224 yards and two touchdowns. He’s a fourth/fifth/sixth receiver type.
JEFF STOUTLAND - OFFENSIVE LINE COACH/RUN GAME COORDINATOR
OG Arie Kouandjio
Kouandijo overlapped with Stoutland at Alabama for two years in 2011 and 2012. With Chance Warmack potentially leaving in free agency, Stoutland will need to replace his token backup former Crimson Tide guard.
OG D.J. Fluker
Fluker and Stoutland also overlapped from 2011 through 2012. Fluker has tackle and guard experience. He’ll probably be looking for a bigger role than what the Eagles realistically have to offer.
CORY UNDLIN - DEFENSIVE BACKS COACH
CB Kayvon Webster
I wrote about Webster as a potential target back in 2017: “Webster was a third round pick by the Broncos in the 2013 NFL Draft. He overlapped with Undlin in Denver from 2013-2014. Webster had his most productive season as a rookie when he had one interception, 10 passes defensed, one forced fumble, and 37 tackles. Webster’s playing time decreased ever since then because he’s been stuck behind big money corners Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. along with 2014 first-round pick Bradley Roby. Broncos writers identify Webster as a very good special teams player and suggest he could be looking for a bigger role on a new team. The 26-year-old defensive back might be an interesting buy-low option for the Eagles.” Webster was reportedly set for a free agent visit with the Eagles that offseason but he signed with the Rams instead. Webster only played two games for the Texans in 2018 after dealing with injuries. The Eagles have a lot of talented youth at corner but it might be nice to add an inexpensive veteran like Webster, who can serve as an experienced backup and play special teams.
CB Bradley Roby
I don’t think the Eagles are going to be handing out big money to a cornerback but it’s worth noting Roby and Undlin overlapped in Denver during the 2014 season. Roby was selected by the Broncos with the No. 31 pick in that year’s draft.
I’ll kick this section off by re-emphasizing what Tony Pauline had to say about the Eagles eyeing top pass rushers in free agency. That’s worth keeping an eye on. The aforementioned Za’Darius Smith and Ezekiel Ansah could fit the bill. Or maybe the Eagles take a shot on 25-year-old Trey Flowers?
WR Robby Anderson (RFA)
The Eagles reportedly tried to acquire the speedy Anderson prior to the 2018 NFL trade deadline. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Philly try to acquire him once again but Anderson’s status as a restricted free agent could prohibit them from doing that. We’ll have to what level the Jets tender him at, if at all.
RB Le’Veon Bell
Dating back to September 2018, the Eagles have been rumored to be interested in Bell. Bell even told ESPN he feels the interest could be mutual. I don’t expect the Eagles to spend what Bell will likely command in free agency but we’ll see.
RB Latavius Murray
Murray shares an agency with Carson Wentz. The two were seen hanging out back when Murray was set to be a free agent in 2017. Murray would be a solid, affordable addition to the Eagles’ backfield.
RB Frank Gore
This former Eagles legend has no plans to retire despite turning 36 in May. I’d think the Eagles won’t be bringing him back to Philly but I will note they reportedly expressed interest in trading for Gore during the 2017 season.
DT Domata Peko
The Eagles were rumored to be interested in Peko during the 2017 offseason. He could be this year’s Haloti Ngata signing.
POTENTIAL CAP CASUALTIES
There are some notable former Eagles players that could be hitting the market.
WR DeSean Jackson
Jackson reportedly wants out of Tampa and the Buccaneers can cut him to save $10 million with zero dead money. ESPN said to “keep an eye on Philly” as a landing spot for DJacc. He’d certainly give them the field-stretcher they sorely need.
RB LeSean McCoy
The Eagles reportedly tried to trade for McCoy back in 2017. The Eagles also reportedly “reached out” to the Bills regarding McCoy’s availability prior to the 2018 trade deadline. Roseman might try to bring the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher back to Philly if the Bills cut him loose.
TE Derek Carrier
Arguably the most important name on this entire list, Carrier was a camp crush of mine back in 2013. He’s managed to stick around in the league despite getting cut by the Eagles. He could be a third tight end type if the Eagles don’t keep Rodgers.
DT Beau Allen
There’s some speculation that the Bucs could cut Allen to save $3.5 million in cap space (compared to $1.5 million in dead money). If Tampa does that, the Eagles should look to bring Allen back to Philly.
S Kurt Coleman
The Eagles’ 2010 seventh-round pick could serve as a third safety and special teams contributor, should the Saints cut him to save $4 million. [UPDATE: The Saints officially cut Coleman, as expected.]