April 27 marks a significant date on the 2020 NFL calendar.
Beginning today at 4:00 PM Eastern, all unrestricted free agents signed will NO LONGER COUNT against a team’s compensatory pick formula.
This means we could see some new signings take place, especially if teams feel like they still need to fill holes following the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Philadelphia Eagles have previously had reason to hold off on signing players who would count against their formula since they’re projected to receive the maximum of four picks. As outlined by Over The Cap:
Speaking after the draft, Howie Roseman did say that the Eagles are “not done yet” in terms of adding to their roster. He said the team is “going to continue to look at the free agent market.” Philly certainly has money to spend with $23.5 million in available cap space avialable — the fifth highest figure in the league.
So, who could the Eagles target? The market obviously doesn’t feature nearly as much talent as it did back when free agency began in March but there are still some worthwhile options out there. A lot of these guys don’t fit with the Eagles’ stated goal of getting younger but there could be some bargain price tags that are too good to pass up.
Can you imagine?
First, the Eagles use pick No. 53 on a backup quarterback instead of another offensive weapon for Carson Wentz. Then they got out and sign the dude that concussed him back in January?
On the flip side, signing Clowney would prevent him from hitting Wentz with another cheap shot during a game.
Seriously, though, I don’t see the Eagles signing Clowney. Even putting the Wentz angle aside, his price tag is probably more than what the Eagles want to pay.
And Clowney might not exactly be rushing to play in Philly, either. He did refer to Eagles fans as “the worst fans in the world.”
The Eagles ideally could afford to add another pass rusher, though. Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham are locked in as the 2020 starters but there isn’t much proven depth behind them. Josh Sweat is the current favorite to be the first pass rusher off the bench. Beyond him, it’s anyone’s guess.
Wrote about Ansah as a potential Eagles free agent target earlier this offseason.
If the Eagles don’t retain Vinny Curry, perhaps they’d like to bring add another veteran to their defensive end group. Schwartz’s Detroit Lions selected Ansah with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Injury issues have plagued Ansah the past two seasons as he’s missed 14 total games. It’s possible the 31-year-old is just cooked. But if you’re talking yourself into him, he’s only a few years removed from his 12 sack season in 2017. He could be a relative bargain as a contributor off the bench in the old Chris Long role.
Ansah’s price tag would be more affordable than Clowney’s. He could also be willing to accept a smaller role.
To note, the Eagles re-signing their own free agents never counts against their comp pick formula. But I’m still including some of their unsigned players here since a new wave of free agency could heat up their markets as well.
PFF wrote about how Curry was the Eagles’ most improved player in 2019.
I don’t think people understand how disruptive Curry was as a rotational pass-rusher this past season on the Eagles’ defensive line. Altogether, 99 different edge defenders rushed the passer 200 or more times over the course of the regular season, and among those players, Curry ranked tied for fifth in pressure rate (16.8%) with T.J. Watt. The fact that he was effective in Philadelphia shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise because he has multiple seasons of solid play with the Eagles. It is surprising just how effective he was, though, particularly given how poorly he played for the Buccaneers in 2018. Last year in Tampa Bay, Curry had an overall grade of just 58.4 with a pressure rate below 10%. Prospective suitors this offseason will be hoping he repeats his 2019 performance rather than reverting to the play he managed after the last time he left Philadelphia.
The Eagles could look to bring Curry back as a third or fourth defensive end.
(Side note: Congrats to Vinny on getting engaged yesterday!)
The Eagles were rumored to be interested in Ryan, who grew up outside of Philly in nearby South Jersey, leading up to free agency. The Eagles didn’t sign him, though, instead opting to trade for Darius Slay.
The starting spot opposite of Slay is unsettled. Avonte Maddox — and not Sidney Jones — is reportedly the favorite for that job. But Maddox has had some struggles on the outside, which is to be expected given his lack of size (5-9, 184 pounds with 2 percentile arm length).
Ryan could represent an upgrade. He also fits in the “positionless player” mold as he’s demonstrated the versatility to play in multiple spots. Ryan actually logged the most slot cornerback snaps of any defender last season. Hey, why not add yet another nickel?!
I think the Eagles will pass on Logan and leave Maddox and Jones to compete for the starting job across from Slay.
The Chicago Bears cut Amukamara earlier this year so the Eagles already could’ve signed him without it impacting their comp pick formula. I don’t think they’ll sign him but I know BGN Radio’s Michael Kist likes him so this inclusion is for him.
Did I mention that Amukamara has played in 58 of a potential 64 games in the last four years? What cornerback have the Eagles have that come close to that 91% mark of availability? The Eagles want to “get younger”, but the reality is the only area were the recent collection of Eagles corners have the advantage over the steady and soon-to-be 31 Amukamara is youth.
He can’t be the only addition to the group, but Amukamara represents a bargain for what he’ll likely fetch on the market. The Eagles have had nothing that come close to his run of consistency and dependability, and by all accounts he’s a great locker room guy. It’s not the flashiest move, but it’s one the Eagles need to seriously consider. They’ve done a hell of a lot worse.
The Eagles didn’t draft a running back but they did sign Michael Warren (physical runner) and Adrian Killins (speedster) in undrafted free agency. These two rookies are joining a backfield that already features Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Elijah Holyfield.
Thus, the Eagles don’t really need to add another back. And I don’t think they will be bringing their all-time leading rusher back to Philly. But the Eagles have previously shown interest in reacquiring Shady ... on numerous occasions. He also recently talked about the possibility of coming back home.
Still, I don’t think it happens. The Eagles should stick with their youth.
This could be the more realistic running back reunion.
Clement recently said he’s been medically cleared from his shoulder injury and he’s been in contact with the Eagles. It couldn’t hurt to bring the Super Bowl LII hero back on a minimum deal and let him compete for a roster spot.
It’s perhaps worth noting that the Eagles haven’t given away Clement’s No. 30 jersey.
If the Eagles are looking for a big, physical veteran running back to replace Jordan Howard, Hyde fits the bill. He’s actually coming off a career season where he logged 245 attempts for 1,070 yards (4.4 average) and six touchdowns with the Houston Texans.
Hyde turns 30 in September.
Are we 100% sure that Peters won’t play one more season in Philly?
The Eagles shouldn’t have to re-sign him, to be clear, but they might not be feeling so great about 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard. A report emerged last week stating that the Eagles “dangled [Dillard] out there as possible trade bait.” In addition, Jimmy Kempski said the Eagles “have major concerns about him presently” after also noting that Dillard had multiple emotional episodes during his rookie season. All of this lines up with a sentiment that I heard in that some within the Eagles’ organization think Dillard is soft.
Still, the Eagles might opt to throw Dillard in the deep end and see if he sinks or swims. Peters, meanwhile, could end up elsewhere. NFL insider Mike Garafolo suggested the Miami Dolphins as a landing spot for the 38-year-old.
Peters has talked to teams in recent weeks and pitched the idea of being a starter now while mentoring a young guy like he did with the #Eagles and Andre Dillard last season. Maybe a situation like the #Dolphins' with Austin Jackson, who needs to develop. https://t.co/sFY2rFK5LE— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 25, 2020
The Eagles could at least afford to add some more depth at offensive tackle. The team drafted Jack Driscoll and Prince Tega Wanogho but there are concerns to consider. Driscoll might be better suited to play interior offensive line in the NFL. PTW, meanwhile, fell in the draft due to a knee injury. The other guy in the mix to be the Eagles’ swing tackle is Jordan Mailata, who is undoubtedly intriguing but also finished his first two NFL seasons on injured reserve.
Waddle, 28, has tackle/guard versatility and 31 starts in 61 games played. Eight of those starts came as an undrafted rookie on Jim Schwartz’s Lions in 2013. Sign him to a minimum deal for veteran depth and cut him if the young guys beat him out.
The Eagles’ current projected starters at linebacker are Nathan Gerry and T.J. Edwards. Duke Riley could be the third guy. That’s not incredibly inspiring. Adding some veteran competition could be worth a try. We previously wrote about Brown as an Eagles target:
Schwartz trusted Brown enough to have him start 14 games for the Buffalo Bills as a rookie in 2014. The Eagles haven’t shown any interest in Brown when he’s been available in recent years but the team has a bigger need at middle linebacker than ever with Bradham gone. Brown only turns 28 this season so he shouldn’t be running out of gas.
Crazier things have happened but I’m guessing Bradham just isn’t in the Eagles’ plans. They even gave away his No. 53 jersey to Jatavis Brown. I wouldn’t mind having Bradham back on the cheap.