Philadelphia Eagles: Winning Free Agency

Mar 1, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman speaks to the media during the 2017 NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman speaks to the media during the 2017 NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

As you are well aware, free agency opened earlier this week and the Philadelphia Eagles, led by Howie Roseman and Joe Douglass, made a big splash as per usual.

Last year it was the trade that sent Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the 8th overall pick which was eventually flipped for the second overall pick and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Savior, Carson Wentz. Two years ago it was bringing in former Legion of Boom member, Byron Maxwell, to bring our secondary to the next level (look how that panned out). Don’t even get me started on Nnamdi Asomugha back in 2011.

Leading up to the legal tampering period and the opening of free agency it was clear that the Eagles didn’t have the means to make as a big a splash in free agency as usual. Fans and media members everywhere were talking about shopping in the bargain bin to find talent for this team.

The night before free agency opened it appeared that the Birds were leaning toward a Kenny Britt and Mike Groh (Wide Receiver’s coach) reunion. The morning of March 9th that rumor was thrown out the window, leaving fans feeling some type of way.

The Philadelphia Eagles kicked things off by parting ways with defensive end and all around good guy, Connor Barwin. While he embraced the city and was a fan favorite, he just wasn’t a part of the Eagles future. His presence will be missed throughout the locker room and the city.

Fast forward an hour or so, news breaks that the Philadelphia Eagles sign veteran wide receiver Torrey Smith to a five year 15 million dollar contract, only 500,000 of which is guaranteed. For everyone that wanted the Eagles to sign Kenny Stills and found this move disappointing, don’t be so quick to judge.

David Murphy of posted an article shortly after the signing that said Torrey Smith and Kenny Stills have similar stats. Using last season as an outlier for Smith, the two have been very comparable. Here are the sixteen game averages over both of their careers. Smith 2011-2015: 99 targets, 49 receptions, 851 yards, 7 TDs, 17.3 yards/rec. Stills 2013-2016 : 70 targets, 42 receptions, 695 yards, 5 TDs, 16.7 yards/rec. As you can see, the Eagles got a pretty good deal on paper, assuming Torrey Smith can return to 2013 form. Here’s hoping Mike Groh can get the best out of Smith like he got the best of Kenny Britt and Alshon Jeffery in past seasons.

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Speaking of Alshon Jeffery, Howie Roseman managed to find a way to sign the former Pro Bowler to a one year, fourteen million dollar contract. The Eagles offense just became lethal again. Picture this: Torrey Smith on one side, Alshon Jeffery on the other, Jordan Matthews in the slot, and Zach Ertz at tight end. Who do you single cover? Torrey Smith is still a legitimate deep threat who swears he will bounce back. No one is better at the jump ball than Alshon. Period. Jordan Matthews will continue to bully slot corners throughout the league, and Zach Ertz will find a way to be a matchup nightmare. Alshon Jeffery is a game changer for this offense.

Ready for the best part of the signing? It’s only for one year. If this doesn’t pan out Jeffery walks at the end of the season. If all goes well the Eagles have the first crack at resigning him. At the end of the day, the Birds offense is instantly better with Alshon Jeffery starting.

The second best part of the signing? Howie Roseman and Joe Douglass can turn their attention to defense in the early rounds. Wide Receiver is no longer a “need” for this team. The defense is the biggest need and the Eagles can get some serious talent in the first three rounds of this draft. Don’t be surprised to see defensive players drafted in at least two of the first three rounds.

Chance Warmack was the best signing this league year. Fact.

This brings me to the best free agent signing, Chance Warmack. Football is won in the trenches. It is paramount to build a strong offensive line. The Eagles found a way to bring in a former top 10 pick on a one year deal. Chance Warmack played his college ball at Alabama, his offensive line coach there was Jeff Stoutland. Who is the offensive line coach in Philadelphia? Jeff Stoutland. Under Stoutland’s tutelage, Warmack was widely considered one of the best line prospects in a line heavy draft. This reunion is the best move the Eagles could have made. One could make the argument that the Eagles have the deepest, most versatile line in football. It is a possibility that Warmack comes in and starts immediately at left guard. Chance Warmack was the best signing this league year. Fact.

Jeff Stoutland consistently finds a way to get the best out of his lineman. He turned Vaitai into a serviceable, damn near good right tackle before he went down with injury. The players he had last season were far from perfect. Give him a stud he previously worked with? This line just got exponentially better.

For the first time in what seems like an eternity, the Philadelphia Eagles used free agency to supplement and not to build. Both Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery take the pressure off needing to draft a wide receiver early in the draft. This will allow Howie Roseman and Joe Douglass to add some serious defensive talent early. Mix in Chance Warmack, who will be a Pro Bowler this season, and the Eagles are a better team for it. The only downside is that the Eagles are currently over the cap. Expect more moves to be made.

Be sure to follow Section 215 for all updates on the Philadelphia Eagles offseason.