The Eagles were steadfast in their mission in 2021 to move forward with a young team. This spanned multiple position groups, and while often came at the expense of experience, it set them up with a plethora of starters locked in on rookie deals. Howie Roseman and co. also used some time during the season to tie up some loose ends, and got extensions done with Dallas Goedert, Avonte Maddox, and T.J. Edwards.
Still, there are eight unrestricted free agents heading into the offseason, and another five restricted free agents that will need to be sorted out — plus, Andre Chachere is an exclusive rights free agent this offseason, as well.
2022 Eagles’ free agents
Some of these guys seem like no-brainers.
Ryan Kerrigan, for example, was finally helpful in the Eagles’ one playoff game, but until then it was pretty tough to even remember that he was on the team, let alone saw playing time each week. With his age, and lack of contributions, it should be a no-brainer to let him go elsewhere this offseason.
But, there’s also a handful of question marks on both sides of the ball.
Rodney McLeod is a UFA this offseason, and despite the team choosing him to be their leader of the secondary a few seasons ago — when they essentially chose him over Malcolm Jenkins — he’s suffered pretty significant injuries and missed a lot of games in the years since he signed his last deal. He’s considered a staple on the defense, but will the Eagles deem him a priority to re-sign? Or will they look at bringing in a veteran from elsewhere? That whole position is a bit of a mystery with Anthony Harris also a free agent, and the young guys like K’Von Wallace and Marcus Epps, still trying to establish dominance at the position.
The Eagles have always invested in their offensive and defensive lines, but they’ll really need to evaluate how to move forward with the d-line, especially with three other (younger) guys — in addition to Kerrigan — hitting the free agency market this offseason. Genard Avery, Derek Barnett, and Hassan Ridgeway could all be moving on this spring. Barnett was always Jim Schwartz’s favorite, and while Nick Sirianni has called him essential throughout the season, it’s hard to imagine they look past his inability to not draw penalties. Avery and Ridgeway both contributed at times throughout the season, but the Eagles are also super high on rookie Milton Williams and Javon Hargrave took a big leap in 2021, so it’ll be interesting to see what they do at DE and DT.
I’d imagine that the team is likely to bring back Nate Herbig, who has been a fill-in at several spots, and with his continued work with guys like Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson, should only continue to develop. He’s also got the experience as a back-up center, so especially if Kelce doesn’t retire, it would make sense to keep Herbig around.
As for skill players, Greg Ward has been called a leader of the WR group by Sirianni, but with a significant reduction in playing time, will the Eagles look to re-sign him? Same with Boston Scott — he’s proven to be a guy that can tuck the ball and ram his way into the endzone, but behind Miles Sanders and Kenny Gainwell, the Eagles might not commit to him moving forward. Both players might also prefer a chance to play a bigger role on a different team, but since they are restricted free agents, it won’t really be their decision.
Which free agents do you think the Eagles will bring back in 2022?
(Sound off in the comments!)