2019 NFL free agency hasn’t even officially begun yet but the Eagles have already been very busy in the legal tampering window. Philadelphia agreed to terms with one new player, re-signed one of their own, made one big trade, and even had one of their own free agents signed away by another team. In order to catch up, here’s a recap of what’s happened so far.
DT Malik Jackson agrees to 3-year contract worth $30 million
This deal was originally misreported as $10 million over three years, which would have been insane value. Instead, it’s $10 million PER year, and that’s still pretty fine. Jackson is statistically one of the best interior pass rushers in the league. The Eagles had a big hole to fill at defensive tackle after declining to pick up Timmy Jernigan’s option. It’ll sure be nice to have Jackson around after a season where the Eagles didn’t really have a reliable interior defender aside from Fletcher Cox. The depth behind Cox and Jackson is still thin so don’t be surprised when Philly adds at least one more defensive linemen early in the 2019 NFL Draft. Remember that the Eagles have three selections in the top 57 picks.
OT Jason Peters agrees to 1-year contract worth $10 million ($5.5 million guaranteed)
Keeping JP was the right move. He was always the Eagles’ best realistic option for protecting Carson Wentz’s blindside in 2019. The concern about Peters’ age (he turned 37 in January) and his injury issues are understandable. But Peters — a future Hall of Famer — is an exception worth betting on. It’s also possible he could be healthier now that he’s going to be two years removed from his 2017 ACL tear. The Eagles had no business just handing the left tackle job to Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who graded 80th out of 85 tackles by Pro Football Focus in 2018. By comparison, Peters was 37th out of 85. Bringing back Peters also gives Jordan Mailata another year to develop before potentially getting a shot to prove himself in 2020.
Eagles 2019 sixth-round pick in exchange for WR DeSean Jackson and Buccaneers 2020 seventh-round pick
The Eagles didn’t give up much to finally address their need for speed. Jackson returns home to Philly after a 2018 season in which he led the league in yards per reception with 18.9. Jackson’s big play ability is something the Eagles sorely lacked last year. Adding him to this offense should help stretch the field and make life easier on Carson Wentz. It’s fun to envision the excitement he should bring this year. The Eagles reportedly signed the 32-year-old Jackson to a 3-year, $27 million contract extension worth $13 million guaranteed.
Eagles use second-round tender on restricted free agent QB Nate Sudfeld
This news was expected. The Eagles could’ve saved $1 million by using the original-round tender on Sudfeld but then they only would’ve received a sixth-round pick if he signed an offer sheet with another team and Philly declined to match. Now the Eagles will receive a second-round pick if Sudfeld signs an offer sheet, though that won’t be happening. Instead, Sudfeld will likely replace Nick Foles as Carson Wentz’s backup in 2019. It’s still possible the Eagles will sign a veteran to compete with Sudfeld but one would think Philly isn’t giving Sudfeld $3 million this year just to be locked in as the No. 3 quarterback.
Eagles decline to pick up OG Stefen Wisniewski’s 2019 contract option
As far as I know, no one even really knew that Wis had a 2019 option until yesterday’s news broke that the Eagles wouldn’t be picking it up. It’s not a surprise to see Wis is gone considering he clearly wasn’t a coaching staff favorite. The Eagles were reluctant to give Wis the left guard job in 2017 and he lost his starting role in 2018. Wis was a solid starter and a nice, versatile backup to have around but Philly wanted to save $3 million by declining his option. Wis also likely wanted out given that Isaac Seumalo and Jason Kelce recently received contract extensions. By declining his option (instead of cutting him), Wis will count towards the Eagles’ compensatory pick formula if/when he signs elsewhere. Thanks for your efforts during the Super Bowl run, Wis.
Jaguars sign QB Nick Foles to 4-year contract worth $88 million
BDN got PAID by the Jags, which is great news for both him and the Eagles. Foles deserved to be rewarded for his superb efforts in Philly over the past two years. The Eagles, meanwhile, now have a real good shot at getting a third-round compensatory pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Here’s wishing Foles the best down in Jacksonville. Jags fans haven’t given him the warmest welcome so far.
DRAFT PICKS UPDATE
Here’s an updated look at the Eagles’ picks over the next two years. I’m guessing the Eagles gave up their own sixth-round selection for Jackson (No. 198) and not their sixth-round compensatory pick.
2019 NFL DRAFT
1 - Eagles’ own pick (No. 25)
2 - Acquired from the Baltimore Ravens (No. 53)
2 - Eagles’ own pick (No. 57)
4 - Eagles’ own pick (No. 127)
4 - Compensatory pick (No. 138)
5 - Eagles’ own pick (No. 163)
6 - Compensatory pick (No. 208)
2020 NFL DRAFT
1 - Eagles’ own pick
2 - Eagles’ own pick
3 - Eagles’ own pick
3 - (Projected compensatory pick)
4 - Eagles’ own pick
5 - Eagles’ own pick
5 - Acquired from New England Patriots
6 - Eagles’ own pick
7 - Acquired from Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Howie Roseman is off to a strong start. The Eagles fortified the trenches, which is always important, and filled a huge need by bringing DeSean back to Philly. Team speed is something Philly just so clearly lacked last season.
The Eagles still have their work cut out for them. Running back needs to be addressed, as does linebacker. It’ll be exciting to see what comes next.
EAGLES FREE AGENTS
Here’s where things stand with the Eagles’ own free agents.
Brandon Graham — Re-signs with with Eagles for $40 million over 3 years
Nick Foles — Signs with Jaguars for $88 million over 4 years
Nate Sudfeld - Tendered at second-round level by the Eagles
Paul Worrilow — Re-signs with Eagles for 1 year
Jake Elliott — Re-signs with Eagles for 1 year
Rick Lovato — Re-signs with Eagles for 1 year