With the start of 2020 NFL free agency less than one month away, Pro Football Focus has some predictions where the biggest names might end up.
PFF specifically has the Philadelphia Eagles landing three of their top 50 ranked free agents. But are these projections realistic? Let’s evaluate.
29. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety
Projected contract: 4 years, $9.75 million per year ($15 million guaranteed)
With playing alongside Eddie Jackson and a majority of the focus being on the Bears’ anemic offense, most didn’t really give recognition to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s 2019 season that ended with him producing a PFF grade among the 20 best safeties in the NFL. Clinton-Dix has great range and can play the single-high role better than anyone, allowing just one first down while picking off two passes when playing that role in 2019 — something Philly could upgrade at with Rodney McLeod hitting the market.
The Eagles will definitely need to acquire a starting safety if McLeod, who turns 30 in June, isn’t retained. Signing HHCD would allow the Eagles to get younger on the back end considering he doesn’t turn 28 until late December.
The Eagles’ front office has previously shown interest in HHCD. The Alabama alumnus was one of six players the Eagles were realistically targeting at No. 22 in the 2014 NFL Draft. Howie Roseman traded down (and eventually selected Marcus Smith at No. 26, yikes!) immediately after HHCD went off the board to the Green Bay Packers at No. 21.
HHCD made the Pro Bowl in 2016 but he’s hardly a star talent. He’s about to be on his fourth team since 2018 if he leaves Chicago in free agency. Still, this is a former first-round pick with 90 career starts in 96 games played. He’s logged 522 total tackles, 33 passes defensed, 16 interceptions, 5.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles since 2014.
After signing a one-year contract worth $5.5 million with the Bears last year, HHCD is in line for a raise. His cost should still be relatively affordable, though, and he makes some sense for the Eagles.
Should the Eagles sign Ha Ha Clinton-Dix?
This poll is closed
38. WR Breshad Perriman
Projected contract: 1 year, $7 million (fully guaranteed)
After leaving Baltimore following the 2017 season, former first-round pick Breshad Perriman finally found some success. He posted a 76.0 receiving grade in 2018 with Cleveland and a 72.3 receiving grade with Tampa Bay in 2019. Over that stretch, he dropped just one of his 90 targets — something we all know the Eagles’ receiving unit had troubles with last season. The free agency market at receiver is top-heavy, but Philadelphia — which owned the worst wide receiver unit grade of 2019 — would get great value in Perriman.
Perriman is another free agent with connections to Philly. Eagles vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl was still working for the Ravens when Baltimore selected Perriman with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. The Eagles also worked out Perriman in September 2018 but instead opted to re-sign Jordan Matthews.
Injuries contributed to Perriman being a big bust in Baltimore but he’s since rebounded. Perriman caught 16 of his 25 targets with the Cleveland Browns in 2018 for 340 yards (whopping 21.3 average) and two touchdowns. He planned to re-sign with the Browns before they traded for Odell Beckham Jr. and he backed out of his deal to instead join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Perriman logged 36 receptions for 645 yards (17.9 average) and six touchdowns last season.
Perriman is an intriguing free agent. He doesn’t turn 27 until September and he boasts an elite athletic profile with 4.24 speed at 6-2, 212 pounds.
The Eagles desperately need to get faster on offense and signing Perriman would help in that regard. His cost shouldn’t be too ridiculous given the lack of an extensive track record. Right mix of risk and upside.
I’m enjoying imagining an Eagles wide receiver corps that features Perriman, DeSean Jackson, and Henry Ruggs III. Carson Wentz gonna throw 60 touchdowns.
(Note: Michael Kist will have an even more in-depth profile on Perriman coming up at BGN.)
Should the Eagles sign Breshad Perriman?
This poll is closed
48. JASON PETERS
Projected contract: 1 year, $9 million ($8.5 million guaranteed)
Jason Peters’ injury history and age is only going to garner him a one-year deal this March, but he was still the sixth highest-graded tackle in the NFL this past season. In pass-protection, specifically, Peters was fourth in PFF grade. The Eagles took Andre Dillard in the first round of the NFL Draft last season, but it might be best to give him another year to develop and sub in when needed considering Peters is still blocking at a high level.
Peters, who said he’s not ready to retire, might very well be better than Dillard in 2020. But I don’t know how Roseman can talk about the Eagles needing to get younger and then re-sign a 38-year-old Peters to block the development of the first-round tackle the team traded up to acquire in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The tricky thing about moving on from Peters is that Dillard isn’t yet a proven commodity. Last year’s first-round pick looked good in the preseason last year and he had a couple encouraging starts at left tackle. But he also really struggled as a rookie.
Dillard was limited to reserve work when Jason Peters or Lane Johnson went down because of injury, and that was a good thing for Carson Wentz based on how he graded. He allowed a pressure rate of 14.7%, higher than any other tackle in the NFL.
From Football Outsiders:
Dillard blew 7.8% of his combined pass and run blocks, the worst rate among offensive linemen with 300 or more snaps.
There was always thought that Dillard would take some time to adjust to the NFL. He should be better in 2020 after having a full offseason in a professional training program as opposed to preparing for the draft.
JP is an Eagles legend and a future Hall of Famer. But it’s time for the team to pass the torch to Dillard. It’d be concerning if the team thinks their 2019 first-round pick, who turns 25 this season, isn’t ready to start in Year 2.
Should the Eagles sign Jason Peters?
This poll is closed