You would have to have been living in Rock Bottom, the lowest point of Bikini Bottom as made famous by Spongebob Squarepants, to know that the Eagles have always tried to win the Super Bowl via free agency. Times have changed. The Eagles have rarely had success in doing so and it is more important than ever for them to succeed in the offseason given the talent they have acquired. You’re kidding yourself if you don’t believe the Eagles have some pieces. Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Jordan Matthews, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Hicks and Malcolm Jenkins are all players I would argue that make up a solid nucleus for the Eagles. What makes this offseason more important than ever before, is the fact that they finally have their franchise quarterback and the necessity to put the pieces all around him.
First and foremost, the Eagles need to address two key positions; wide receiver and cornerback. Any idiot will tell you that Carson Wentz, or any quarterback for that matter, won’t win a Super Bowl without any legitimate weapons to throw to. Donovan McNabb was a great quarterback for the Eagles, but only in 2004 did he ever have a polarizing weapon with Terrell Owens. McNabb spent almost his entire career trying to make the Eagles special with only a limited amount of assets. If the Eagles want to finally win the Lombardi Trophy, acquiring a wide receiver in Free Agency is a must. I’m looking at guys like Kenny Stills, Kenny Britt, Pierre Garcon and possibly Terrelle Pryor as those guys. For one, I don’t want Alshon Jeffery given the injury history, the cost, and the recent PED suspension. I don’t want DeSean Jackson seeing as he will also cost a lot and is turning 31. Pierre Garcon is the exception with the age factor. Garcon has not missed a game since 2012 and would be a solid, veteran target for Wentz. I want the Eagles to go in on Kenny Stills. Stills will be 25 and has the ability to take the top off of a defense with his speed. Stills had a great season a year ago with the Miami Dolphins going for 42 catches, 726 yards and 9 TDs. Not elite, but much better than what the Eagles have. And he’s only 25, likely entering his prime, and has the chance to be around for a while, developing a rapport with Wentz. Another guy I’m enamored with is Terrelle Pryor. Going after both Stills and Pryor would cost the Eagles a lot, but Pryor is a big-bodied receiver who transitioned to the position from quarterback just last year. In his first year, Pryor put up 77 catches, 1,007 yards and 4TDs on a Browns team that played musical chairs with the QB position. If the Eagles can clear enough cap, which they should, grabbing Stills and Pryor immediately makes their receivers 100% better.
As for cornerback, let’s not pretend the Eagles have not addressed that position foolishly in the past. Signing Nnamdi Asomugha, Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Leodis McKelvin over the years has done the Eagles absolutely no good. With the exception of Asante Samuel in 2007, signing corners in Free Agency has been a major bust. I’ve said it before, but it was in 2003 when the Eagles drafted both Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard was the last time the Eagles had 2, definitive, shut down corners. This upcoming draft is loaded with cornerback talent. The Eagles will be picking at 14 or 15 (pending a coin flip between them and the Colts which is scheduled for later this week) so at that position, they have a chance to select their franchise corner and finally fix that position once and for all. Names like Sidney Jones, Teez Tabor, Marlon Humphrey, Quincy Wilson and Tre’Davious White have all been linked to the Eagles in the draft. Grabbing any of those guys would give the Eagles a true number one corner. I’m not opposed to the Eagles signing a veteran in Free Agency; I just hope they don’t break the bank on someone they feel can be a number one guy.
With wide receiver and corner taken care of, it is also imperative the Eagles address a few other needs as well. Re-signing Bennie Logan has to be a priority, although I feel it is unlikely. Logan has been a solid, underrated player for the Eagles over the last three years and really is the reason Fletcher Cox has been so dominant, in the fact that he has taken pressure off of Cox. The defensive tackle market is going to be very costly, so signing Logan will cost the Eagles a lot, and with other teams having more cap space and a higher need than the Eagles, Logan departing is a high chance. With that being said, the Eagles need to turn their attention to adding depth to the defensive line, linebackers, and offensive line in free agency and the draft. They don’t have to break the bank, they just need to find quality depth and, in the draft, find a player or two in rounds 2-7 who could make an impact on day one. With guys like Ryan Mathews, Connor Barwin, Mychal Kendricks, Nolan Carroll, and Jason Kelce on the hot-seat in terms of a release or trade, the Eagles absolutely have to find their replacements respectively, if they let those guys go.
What it all comes down to is this; the Eagles are not as in bad shape as people want you to believe they are. They went 7-9 and with the exception of a lousy loss to the Bengals last year, they hung in their games and never got blown away. This is a team that has a solid foundation and a team that needs to get rid of dead weight and inject some youth and immediate contributors. The McNabb/Reid era was great, but as anyone can tell you, it lacked the one thing that would make me sleep better at night. The Eagles know that they have their guy in Carson Wentz. Now and for the foreseeable future, they have to continue to give their architect the tools he needs to build this project into a beautiful work of art. Many doubt general manager Howie Roseman, but I believe he had a strong offseason a year ago and can capitalize on that going forward. If the Eagles can sign 2 receivers, add quality and veteran depth to their linebackers, defensive line and offensive line and draft 2 corners as well as more depth at other positions, they could easily go from 7-9 to 10-6 and a potential wild card team. This is no doubt, going to be an offseason all of Philadelphia will be invested in and one that will make or break the Philadelphia Eagles for the next several years.
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