As much as fans don’t want to hear it, it’s time to face the truth: the once dominant Super Bowl team is gone. The Eagles are going to have to make some serious readjustments once they enter the offseason. Let’s give the Eagles a blueprint for what positions they need to change the most, from special teams to the quarterback.
#15: Long Snapper
Rick Lovato was named to the Pro-Bowl in 2019 and is signed through 2024. The Eagles are pretty much set at long snapper.
Special teams is looking solid. Cameron Johnston has been an unrecognized bright spot for the Birds. He’s set to be a free agent in 2021, but my money is on the Eagles signing him to a contract extension.
Jason Kelce is one of the best centers in the league, and the team will certainly have him back. However, Kelce has flirted with retirement in the past.
If Kelce did hang up his cleats, this would turn into a major need. Luke Juriga won’t cut it.
#12: Left/Right Guard
Brandon Brooks will be returning from his ACL tear, which will be a huge boost. Issac Seumalo’s salary will go up from $900,000 to $4 million in 2021, so he’ll be the other starter for the foreseeable future. Not much change needed here.
#11: Defensive Tackles
Fletcher Cox isn’t going anywhere except in a trade. Malik Jackson has just 1.5 sacks in seven games played. Extremely disappointing signing and his 2021 cap hit of $13 million means he’s staying put, as is Javon Hargrave.
There’s stability at this position, but there’s no question there’s also an overpay here.
#10: Running Back
Miles Sanders has shown he can be the cowbell back for the Eagles for years to come. Even when not playing the Giants, Boston Scott is still an adequate backup.
A replacement for Corey Clement is needed, but otherwise, this isn’t a position of too much concern. Honestly, the focus should be running Sanders more rather than finding additional running backs for the rotation.
Jake Elliott has rarely seen the field in the past few weeks save for XPs, and you can easily get the sense the team doesn’t trust him anymore. He’s just 1-4 from beyond 50.
Unfortunately, thanks to a five-year, $19 million extension, he has a cap hit of $3.2 million in 2021 and would result in $5 million dead cap. The Eagles might have to just stick with him for another year despite his poor performances. Or they could simply bite the bullet and release him.
#8: Left/Right Tackle
Jason Peters is gone for good this time (if he’s not, there’s a serious problem). The question for left tackle is who starts- Andre Dillard or Jordan Mailata. Mailata would likely be the favorite, and Dillard would probably become a trade piece if he loses the battle.
Lane Johnson isn’t going anywhere, but if his health concerns continue, the team should perhaps look to find a more experienced backup.
#7: Defensive End
Brandon Graham is having one of the best years of his career. Meanwhile, the Eagles previously exercised Derek Barnett’s fifth year (worth about $10 million). Both of these two will be back.
Backups are a different story. Josh Sweat is definitely a keeper- he has four sacks this year despite playing just 47% of defensive snaps. Meanwhile, Genard Avery has been nothing short of a trade bust and Vinny Curry is surely gone. More depth is needed.
Rodney McLeod should be a lock to return. However, Jalen Mills is on a one-year deal, which means the team will need another starting safety if there isn’t a reunion. Whether that comes in the form of K’von Wallace or someone else, it’s another ever-occurring secondary concern.
#5: Tight End
Zach Ertz isn’t likely in the Eagles’ future plans. He’s 30, looking for a new hefty contract, and his relationship with Howie Roseman has soured. A trade is likely. Dallas Goedert will be penciled in as the new #1, and he’s shown he can succeed in that role.
The real question will be what the Eagles will do about the depth. I can’t see them running to draft another tight end early, similar to what they did following Trey Burton’s departure in 2018, because there are other positions that need addressing.
You’d think you wouldn’t have to worry about a position that has a $128 million man, but you’d be wrong. Trying to move Wentz in a trade would be extremely tricky due to his contract, and his performance doesn’t help his value either.
The Eagles need to decide whether they’re committed to him because Hurts probably doesn’t help his mental state.
People inside the #Eagles building believe drafting Jalen Hurts is a big reason as to why Carson Wentz has lost his confidence, per @JayGlazer. Wentz won't admit it, but they see that as being the issue.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 6, 2020
Dragging out this QB controversy for another year would probably be the worst thing they could do.
Darius Slay has been a very solid addition, but he’s also going to be 30 in January and is on a very costly deal. Nickell Robey Coleman has been dreadful- long gone are the days where diamonds in the rough like Patrick Robinson are found by this team.
Avonte Maddox will be on the last year of his rookie deal in 2021, meaning the team must make finding a #2 CB a priority if they aren’t happy with his performance this year.
#2: Wide Receiver
DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffrey are all but gone. The team doesn’t know what they have in Travis Fulgham, Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins. Greg Ward’s ceiling is a #4 receiver. JJAW is on his way to being cut.
Simply put, the team needs more skilled receivers. Ja’Marr Chase would be an intriguing first-round pick if they opt to go that route. Free agency could also prove fruitful, as many former stars like T.Y. Hilton and A.J. Green are having down years. Perhaps a bet on a revitalization should be the way to go.
Whoever is sitting in the GM seat by March, listen to this plea: PLEASE draft or sign a starting linebacker. Nate Gerry should never touch a starting role again, and while Alex Singleton has shown promise, he’s far from a sure thing.
The Eagles are sitting at sixth in the draft order (via Tankathon), putting them in a prime position to snatch Penn State’s Micah Parsons. In free agency, Temple-product Haason Reddick could be a potential target.
Regardless of the method, a solution to the linebacker problems is the greatest concern the Eagles should have heading into the offseason.