After loosing Super Bowl LVII by three points, the only thing that matters is running it back, this time with the “W”. But, the road to victory comes with a couple of issues. The first being Philadelphia’s looming salary cap dilemma, and the second being a massive group of free agents.
With $6.6 million available in cap space, the Eagles can certainly free up money. The question is, who do they use their money on?
Entering the 2023 offseason with 20 free agents, the Eagles agreed to terms with veteran defensive end Brandon Graham on Friday. The remaining 19 players are days away from the commencement of free agency.
If money was no object, who stays and who goes?
EAGLES FREE AGENTS: KEEP OR LET GO?
Gardner Minshew: Quarterback — Let Go
Unfortunately for Gardner Minshew, he is never going to get his start in Philadelphia. After making just over $2 million last season, the quarterback played in five games, starting in two of them while Hurts was injured. He had 44 completions for 663 passing yards and three touchdowns.
The Eagles can draft a younger, cheaper backup.
Zach Pascal: Wide Receiver — Keep
Pascal isn’t a guy who’s going to get on the field and make wild plays. But, the reality is, he is a solid back-up in the event that A.J. Brown or DeVonta Smith can’t play.
The wide receiver played under Nick Sirianni during his time with the Colts, and has experience with the team already. During the 2022 season, he finished with 15 receptions for 150 receiving yards and one touchdown.
Tyree Jackson: Tight End — Let Go
The quarterback turned tight end was surrounded by a lot of hype, however, the hype has fallen short. Joining the Eagles in 2021, Jackson played in nine games completing three receptions for 22 yards and one touchdown. He then tore his ACL, and missed the entirety of 2022.
Tyree Jackson is an exclusive rights free agent; therefore, if the Eagles offer him a contract, he must accept it. To be frank, the Eagles offense has experienced players who already gel well, and they don’t need Jackson.
Miles Sanders: Running Back — Keep
Maybe this is my bias speaking because I’m a former Penn Stater (We Are!), but giving Miles Sanders one more year with the Eagles seems worthwhile.
Did it take awhile to light a fire under him? Yes. But, could he also have finally found his footing and be on his way to a massive career? Also, yes.
Last season, he completed 259 attempts for 1,269 rushing yards for 11 touchdowns. Playing his career-best, he was selected for his first Pro Bowl. I think there’s a lot of juice left in Sanders, and I think fans have just seen the beginning.
Boston Scott: Running Back — Let Go
If the Eagles were to keep Miles Sanders, they could essentially let Boston Scott go. They’ll have Kenneth Gainwell at No. 2 on the depth chart, and can find a cheap rookie to fill in the No. 3 spot.
Jason Kelce: Center — Keep
Jason Kelce is one of the best players in the entire league, who still plays at an elite level, leaving absolutely no good reason to get rid of him. The center makes up the No. 1 offensive line, and hasn’t missed a single game since the 2014 season.
The 35-year-old is a five-time First-Team All-Pro and a six-time Pro Bowler. As long as he doesn’t retire, bringing him back for his 13th season is a no-brainer.
Isaac Seumalo: Guard — Keep
There’s essentially nothing wrong with the Eagles current offensive line. Seumalo is a veteran, he knows his position well, and he has become a solid and versatile piece in Philadelphia. He allowed just one total sack last season, and if he can remain healthy, he’s return will be seamless.
Fletcher Cox: Defensive Tackle — Let Go
Philadelphia fans thought Fletcher Cox was a goner last offseason when the Eagles cut him. But, it turns out they re-signed him a day later, restructuring his contract. Though he a long-time Bird, Cox is not the player he once was, and there are younger, more productive players waiting in the wing.
It would be sad to see him go, but after all, the NFL is just a business.
Javon Hargrave: Defensive Tackle — Keep
The Eagles need to keep Javon Hargrave as he could take over Fletcher Cox’s place on the field. He’s young-ish and had a massive season during 2022. Finishing with 60 tackles and 11 sacks, he was one of four players in Philadelphia to finish with 10+ sacks, setting a league record.
Hargrave is going to come with a high price tag, but the Eagles need to preserve some of their defense.
Linval Joseph: Defensive Tackle — Let Go
Linval Joseph joined the Eagles on a one-year deal for the 2022 season. He played in eight regular-season games, completing 20 tackles and .5 sacks. He’s 34 years old and valued at just over $2 million — another instance where Roseman can fill his position with a cheaper, younger version.
Ndamukong Suh: Defensive Tackle — Keep
I struggled with this choice for awhile. Suh is old (for football), turning 36 at the beginning of the year. He’s been consistent throughout his career, but I don’t think the Eagles utilized him correctly this season. With a new defensive coordinator, I think Suh can do great things still.
Andre Dillard: Left Tackle — Let Go
Dillard’s time has come and gone in Philadelphia. The left tackle was a first-round pick in 2019, starting four games his rookie year. In 2020, he suffered a torn biceps and was ruled out for the entire season, then returned in 2021, losing his job to Jordan Mailata.
Last season, the Eagles declined their fifth-year option on him, and will likely allow Dillard to seek a job elsewhere.
Robert Quinn: Defensive End — Let Go
Defensive end Robert Quinn was traded to the Eagles in exchange for a fourth-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, after playing half of the season for the Chicago Bears. In six games for the Eagles, Quinn finished with two tackles and zero sacks.
When he left the Bears, Chicago paid $7.1 million of his remaining salary. Though he came cheap for Philadelphia ($684,444), he will likely require higher pay next season, and the Eagles don’t have it for a player who was essentially quiet in 2022.
T.J. Edwards: Linebacker — Keep
T.J. Edwards just keeps getting better which each consecutive season. As an undrafted free agent in 2019, he joined the Eagles, completing the most tackles during the 2022 season with 159. He also finished with a career-high two sacks and seven pass deflections.
Kyzir White: Linebacker — Let Go
White was a massive contributor to the Eagles during the 2022 season. He finished with 110 tackles, and a career-high 1.5 sacks and seven pass deflections. He’s young and despite being (essentially) a Philly native, he’s going to require at least $8 million a year.
Frankly, Edwards has shown that he is just more consistent since he’s been with the Eagles for a longer period of time, and I think this is where White is at a disadvantage.
James Bradberry: Cornerback — Keep
Unfortunately Bradberry is going to be remembered for his holding penalty during the final minutes of Super Bowl LVII. But, before then, he was an incredibly reliable cornerback for the Eagles.
He ranked second among players on the team in snaps played on defense with 1,078. Bradberry also finished with 44 tackles, three interceptions, and 17 pass breakups.
Bradberry stated today, “So they [Eagles] told me whoever calls, just make sure I also give them the chance to match.”
C.J. Gardner-Johnson: Safety — Keep
Gardner-Johnson was tied for the most interceptions this season, and didn’t even play a full 17 game due to injury. He can play anywhere in the secondary, and is only 25 years old, making him an integral part of the Eagles’ future.
Despite his early “goodbye” message to Philadelphia, it ain’t over till it’s over, and the Eagles seem to be making a strong effort to keep him.
Marcus Epps: Safety — Let Go
Epps is a good player. In fact, he ranked sixth in the league among safeties who were able to force incompletions. Despite his strengths, (and taking the money out of the equation), the Eagles still don’t need Epps if they have Gardner-Johnson.
Brett Kern: Punter — Let Go
Kern has been a punter in the NFL for 15 years. He joined the Eagles in 2022, playing four games when Philadelphia’s starting punter Arryn Siposs was injured. He finished with ten punts for 408 yards. He averaged 40.8 yards per punt and his longest punt was 53 yards — both were the lowest of his career.
2023 FREE AGENCY
While it was fun to pretend like money means nothing when it comes to the Eagles’ offseason moves, realistically, it runs the world.
With free agency set to begin on March 15, Philadelphia will only have enough cap space to save less than a handful of players. Their budget sits at $6.6 million, unless they restructure some other player’s contracts…and fast.