Philadelphia Eagles’ Offseason Agenda

Jan 19, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie (left) introduces new head coach Doug Pederson (right) during a press conference at the NovaCare Complex . Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 19, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie (left) introduces new head coach Doug Pederson (right) during a press conference at the NovaCare Complex . Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia Eagles’ season is basically over, and it’s time to look ahead. What do the Birds need to do this offseason?

A little more than a week ago, the Philadelphia Eagles sat in the driver’s seat of their playoff hopes. The plan was simple: get a win at home against a struggling Green Bay team, beat the reeling Bengals, and face Washington with 2 games’ worth of momentum. Win some crucial divisional games–all at home–and position yourself as a wild-card team, giving both rookie head coach Doug Pederson and QB Carson Wentz invaluable experience on a big stage.

Of course, in the NFL, things rarely go according to plan. The Eagles have suffered two embarrassing losses, Wentz has regressed dramatically, while Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz have come under heavy fire.

The Eagles’ playoff hopes aren’t mathematically nil, but to any viewer, it’s clear: it’s not happening this year. As we turn to the offseason, what do owner Jeffrey Lurie, GM Howie Roseman, and Pederson have to do moving forward?

1) Open up some cap room

The Eagles are projected to have around 500K in cap room in 2017, according to, which would be 4th-worst in the league. This scarcity, of course, comes from Roseman’s contract-extending frenzy of the past year. Plenty of that money was well-spent; some, not so much. Regardless of where it went, there must be cap causalities this year, if the Eagles intend on plugging the leaky holes in their roster. Who’s on the chopping block?

CB Leodis McKelvin is the first–and no-braineriest–name on the list. McKelvin would cost $3.45 million next year, of which the Eagles would save $3.2 million if they cut him. The contract was undoubtedly structured this way so that, if Leodis failed to become the starting corner the Eagles hoped he could be, they could easily cut ties. Well, he’s failed to become that corner, so he’ll likely see the door.

RB Ryan Mathews finds himself in a similar situation to McKelvin, in that better options wait in the wings behind him. Next year, Mathews would hit the cap for $5 million if retained, and open $4 million if cut. For 8-10 games a year, a couple of 4th quarter fumbles, and less snaps for RBs Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner? No, thank you.

DE Connor Barwin. This one hurts. Barwin has become a staple of this city and a face of the defense, but fiscally he’s an irresponsible investment in a 4-3 defense–especially considering the fat contract given to current benchwarmer DE Vinny Curry. Barwin would cost over $8 million to retain next year, while releasing him would open up $7.75 million in room–more than the past two cuts combined. Unfortunately, Barwin will likely play somewhere else next year.

2) Retain those who validated their contracts

A few Eagles will be discussed as potential cuts, but should remain with the team–several play along the Eagles’ offensive line.

C Jason Kelce has played better than you’d think, listening to commentators, but he turn 30 next year and cost $6.2 million. The Eagles would only recoup $3.8 million ($2.4 million in dead cap) if they cut him in 2017, while they’d open $6 million in 2018 ($1.2 million dead space). I expect he’ll stay at least another year.

OT Jason Peters, another oft-rumored name, simply plays too well to be cut. Okay, he has a false start a game–but with OT Lane Johnson one “supplement” away from a 2-year suspension, the Eagles should keep Peters’ rock-solid production for as long as they can. Peters will have an $11.2 million cap hit next year, $9 million of which would be released if they cut him. But Peters continues to play at an elite level–simple as that.

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Finally, I think OG/C Stefen Wisniewski will be retained. Signed to a one-year deal, he has exceeded expectations this year as a fill-in starter, and can play multiple positions on the line. If Peters, Wisniewski, and Kelce all remain, the Eagles’ offensive line depth chart looks like this:

With players like Dillon Gordon and Josh Andrews developing behind the scenes, the Philadelphia Eagles will have solid O-line depth moving forward.

Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles /

OLB Mychal Kendricks should also stick around for another year. Teams will come calling about him, as they do every year, and the Eagles may be baited into moving him for a mid-round pick. However, LB depth is an underrated need, and while Kendricks isn’t worth his $6.6 million cap hit, the Eagles would only recover $1.8 million if they cut or traded him. The longer Kendricks, a good athlete, stays healthy, the more likely Jim Schwartz will find a role for him on this defense.

3) Lock down a couple of key free agents

In order for the defense to develop, there are two players that must return: DT Bennie Logan and CB Nolan Carroll.

While some may disagree with Carroll, I think Logan is a no-brainer. A premier run stopper and a central cog in the Eagles’ defensive line, he transitioned well to Schwartz’s 4-3 when many thought he might falter. He’ll likely command between $5-$6 million per year. The Eagles should be willing to pay that, and have their entire starting D-line (Curry, Logan, Cox, Graham) together through 2018. Graham becomes a FA by then, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s extended far before that day rolls around.

Nolan Carroll isn’t a bad cornerback. He’s competitive, fast, and improves every year. Worried about his return from an ankle injury last year, the Eagles gave him a “prove-it” contract, and he’s proved it. Now, Carroll is not the solution at corner–the draft is. But he’s a good CB2, and a CB1 in a pinch. The Eagles don’t have many options at the position anyway.

4) Explore the free agent market

The CB free agent pool this year is underwhelming. The Eagles will certainly put out feelers, but I doubt they’ll make the same mistake as they have before (read: Asante Samuel, Nnamdi Asomugha, Byron Maxwell). The WR market, on the other hand, has some intriguing options. Here are my rankings:

Pryor may be tough to pry (see what I did there?) away from the Browns, but who knows how Cleveland’s new front office will handle free agency? Pryor has barely scratched the surface of his potential as a wide receiver, and the Eagles should pursue him. He would open up the entire offense.

Floyd and Jackson, similarly, would open up the offense–but more through the threat of production, and not through actual…you know…production. Jackson is old and injury-prone, but safeties respect him; Floyd occasionally explodes, and defenses are aware of his big-play ability.

(Secretly, I hope Jackson returns. The Eagles play the 49ers in Philly next year. Bold prediction, right now: DeSean goes for 300 yards).

Jeffrey will likely command too much–and faces questions about his availability following his suspension–but the Eagles will inquire anyway.

5) Explore the coaching market

I think neither Doug Pederson nor Jim Schwartz should be fired–of course, they have 4 games left to change my mind.

Both started the season with band-aid fixes, gimmicks of a sort: Pederson with a quick hitting, time of possession offense and QB acumen, while Schwartz just unleashed pass-rushers.

As tape has accumulated and teams have adapted, both coaches have shown an inability to adapt, both throughout the season and within the game. Schwartz couldn’t answer QB Aaron Rodgers‘ quick passes, and the very next week Bengal defensive lineman were sacrificing their pass rush to bat Wentz’s quick hitters out of the air. Pederson lost his starting WR, put his struggling rookie QB behind a line missing two starters, and threw the ball 60 times.

The Eagles will likely retain their two coaches, but still sniff around the market. If they believe they can improve at either position, they should.

6) Build through the draft

Of course, the draft. Howie Roseman, in his first year after repossessing the front office, did a smashing job with the 2016 draft, and will look to build on his success.

This year’s class of cornerbacks is particularly impressive. With Sammy B and the Vikings solidly on the path to 8-8, their first round pick–which belongs to the Eagles–will likely fall around #16. Blue-chip corners such as Gareon Conley of Ohio State and Sidney Jones of Washington will likely be around. Quincy Wilson of Florida would be a huge pick, if the Eagles are fortunate enough to see him drop that low.

While running back isn’t a big enough need to warrant a first-round selection, I don’t think Howie would be afraid to move up if a game-changer like Leonard Fournette from LSU or Dalvin Cook from Florida State started to slip. Both rival RB Ezekiel Elliott‘s skill set out of college.

If the Eagles don’t snag a WR through free agency, they’ll draft one on either Day 1 or Day 2. I’d expect Roseman to bypass first-round talent such as Mike Williams from Clemson, Corey Davis from Western Michigan, and John Ross from Washington for the sake of a cornerback, but talented prospects such as Isaiah Ford from Virginia Tech, Dede Westbrook from Oklahoma, and Curtis Samuel (RB/WR gadget player) from Ohio State should still be available.

CBs to look for in the later rounds: Jourdan Lewis from Michigan, Teez Tabor from Florida, and a personal favorite, Chidobe Awuzie from Colorado.

RBs to look for in the later rounds: D’Onta Freeman from Texas, Nick Chubb from Georgia, and a personal favorite, Jeremy McNichols from Boise State.

On Day 3, expect the Eagles to look for linebacker depth, wide receiver depth, and defensive end depth.

Next: Philadelphia Eagles: Section 215 Staff Predictions Week Thirteen

As we stand 3/4ths of the way through the regular season, this is the expected offseason plan for the Philadelphia Eagles. For now, enjoy these final weeks of Eagle football, and pray they do enough to earn maybe a week or two more. But, in the immortal words of Ned Stark (probably), “The offseason is coming.” And the Eagles have plenty of work to do.