PHILADELPHIA The Eagles made their most important and consistent move of Thursday off-season when they agreed to trade quarterback Carson Wentz for the Colts for two draft picks. Wentz was the shadow that loomed over the off-season, and now that he’s underway, executive vice president / general manager Howie Roseman and the rest of his staff can turn their attention to the rest of the off-season.
The main task for the Birds in the coming weeks is to get the team below the salary cap, which will reportedly be no lower than $ 180 million. After the team announced it would release wide receiver DeSean Jackson on Friday, saving the team $ 4.8 million, the Eagles are still $ 43 million above that $ 180 million threshold, according to Over The Cap.
So there is plenty of work to be done.
Over the past two weeks, we’ve looked at the Eagles roster by position and what could be done in each position. In this space, we would forecast the outlook for each position on the roster in the coming months.
Quarterback [read more]
Carson Wentz is gone. Nate Sudfeld is a pending free agent. Jalen Hurts will be the last man when the new competition year starts March 17. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he has an open route to the runway. ESPN reported that the Eagles plan to bring in competition for Hurts, and that could take a number of forms.
The Eagles could add a veteran like Tyrod Taylor to compete with Hurts in the hopes that the 2020 second round beat him. Or the Eagles could line up a quarterback at No. 6 overall to pair up with new coach Nick Sirianni and move on from there. When the quarterback the Eagles want is here, they have to get him.
But given the dire situation that the salary ceiling issue for the Eagles will create in 2021, it could be good to hand out the No. 6 pick to a playmaker like LSU wide receiver JaMarr Chase or Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith and see what they’re in. Have hurts. a full season. By 2022, the Eagles should have more flexibility and resources if Hurts isn’t the answer.
Run back [read more]
Miles Sanders is one of the most dynamic young players on the roster regardless of position, and with unproven talent at the wide receiver, Sanders appears to be a focal point of the attack on Eagles. And that’s a role he should thrive in, even if he got down significantly in some parts of his game last season, especially in the passing game.
If Sanders can bounce back to the form he showed during his rookie season, then the Eagles backfield should be in good shape. Boston Scott could be productive in a Sirianni-led pass game that could highlight the running backs in the passing game. But the Eagles may need to add depth here or hope that Jason Huntley or Elijah Holyfield is ready to perform.
Wide receiver [read more]
This off season should be crucial for Eagles wide receivers. They spent three draft picks to pass catchers in the draft last season, including a first-rounder on Jalen Reagor, after spending a second-rounder on JJ Arcega-Whiteside in 2019. Reagor, John Hightower and Quez Watkins all showed some game skill. times, but it was not on a consistent basis.
But then again, nothing was consistent about Eagles’ attack in 2020. Sirianni retained wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead, who offers some continuity for young, developing players, but it’s absolutely crucial for Moorehead to advance the draft picks. along with Travis Fulgham, who disappeared in the second half of the season after his star return.
The Eagles should be looking for players here, be it someone like Chase or Smith at number 6 or another player later.
Tight end [read more]
Zach Ertz is another prominent player who should move elsewhere this off-season, and that leaves the door open for Dallas Goedert, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, to step down and take on a full-time starting role. Goedert has flashed some potential, but the presence of Ertz always put a limit on his production.
If Goedert is the clear number 1, the Eagles should get a good idea of whether he could be a long-term fix on the position. Sirianni coached under Frank Reich, who coached under Doug Pederson, who emphasized multiple tight sets. That means the Eagles may be looking to add this to the position off-season.
The other tight ends on the roster at the end of the season were Richard Rodgers, Caleb Wilson, Jason Croom and Hakeem Butler. Florida’s tight ending, Kyle Pitts, a potential matchup nightmare, could be an option for the Eagles at No. 6 overall.
Offensive line [read more]
There’s no way this group could be blown up more in 2021 than in 2021, right? Right guard Brandon Brooks (Achilles) and left tackle Andre Dillard (biceps) were lost to injuries before the season even started, then right tackle Lane Johnson (ankle), left tackle / right guard Jason Peters (toe) and right tackle Jack Driscoll (knee) everyone finished the season on injured reserve. Left guard Isaac Seumalo (knee) also missed seven games on the injured reserve.
It shouldn’t be that much worse, right? Brooks and Johnson will return in 2021, automatically raising the floor of the Eagles attack, while Driscoll looks ready to slide in as a top backup down the line. Guard Nate Herbig was given valuable playing time and should also be an important backup in the inner line of attack.
But other questions remain. Pro Bowl center Jason Kelce, 33, could move on, whether through retirement or a potential trade, while Dillard, 2019’s first round, has no starting spot waiting for him on the offensive line in 2021 after the rise from Jordan Mailata last season.
Still, Sirianni kept offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, which bodes well for the future of this group, even with some potentially significant changes on the horizon.
Defensive ending [read more]
The Eagles are short of young talent on the roster, but two of their key players 25 and under could be defensive in Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat. Barnett may never live up to the expectations that come with picking a first round, but he has proven to be a skilled pass rusher who plays with great difficulty. Sweat, a fourth rounder in 2018, meanwhile took a significant step forward in his game in 2020.
With starter Brandon Graham making the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, entering the twilight of his career, the Eagles must find their next generation of young pass rushers. Barnett and Sweat could be those players, but the Eagles need them to continue their upward trajectory.
Defensive equipment [read more]
Fletcher Cox, along with Graham, could be a key veteran in the locker room as the Eagles try to make it through a year of transition in 2021, and he continued to play at a high level in 2020 with his sixth consecutive Pro Bowl nod. He could be a candidate for contract restructuring to free up some space.
However, one of his running mates doesn’t seem to be back in Malik Jackson, who appeared in just 16 games (six starts) for two seasons after signing with the Eagles in 2019. Jackson flashed some of his talent, but struggled with some injuries, and then the Eagles made him expendable by signing Javon Hargrave to Free Agency last year.
Hargrave is an interesting player for 2021. He came out strong to close the season, and he and Cox could form a formidable duo in the interior. But there are some questions about the depth of the team behind them.
Linebacker [read more]
Alex Singleton was one of the few pleasant surprises in the 2020 season, and he should have a good chance of playing a major role in the defense in 2021, alongside TJ Edwards. However, the Eagles need 2020 draft picks Davion Taylor and Shaun Bradley to move forward, with Taylor hopefully getting into the regular rotation.
Nathan Gerry and Duke Riley are poised to become free agents, and given the course of the coaching staff, it seems unlikely that Gerry will return. The Eagles also had rookies Joe Bachie and Rashad Smith on their roster at the end of the season. In recent years, the Eagles have not over-invested in the position, and given the off-season restrictions, that seems likely to continue.
Cornerback [read more]
The Eagles made a big splash last offseason by trading for Darius Slay, giving the Eagles the shutdown angle they’d never had before under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, and the veteran was as advertised. But the pass defense still struggled with opposing fouls against Avonte Maddox, who struggled from the outside.
New Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has been the coach of Colts’ defensive backs for the past three seasons, so he probably has a lot of input on what’s going on with this position group, and it’s one of the more interesting off-season storylines. The Eagles need to find the right spot for Maddox in the secondary and figure out what the philosophy will do after focusing on position-less players around Slay last year.
Safety [read more]
The teams’ future on safety is similar to that of cornerback. One of the 2020 startups, Jalen Mills, is a free agent. The other, Rodney McLeod, is recovering from a torn ACL. The rest of the players on the position are a mix of young players with different skills and experience levels. One of Gannons’ jobs, along with defensive backs coach, Dennard Wilson, is figuring out how the pieces fit together at the back. Cornerback and safety are two positions that the Eagles could certainly take into account in the design.
Special teams [read more]
The Eagles have had the same core group of specialists for the past three years, and with long snapper Rick Lovato and kicker Jake Elliott having a tough 2020 season with extensions they signed in 2019, at least two should remain the same. Punter may be on the air a bit more with Cameron Johnston becoming a limited free agent and the Eagles signing Arryn Siposs to a futures contract.
The Eagles will also have a 29-year-old special team coordinator in Michael Clay to coach the group.
The Eagles squad will undergo a major transformation this off-season as the team gears up for serious rebuilding in 2022.A number of cumbersome contracts for older players lapsed.
As things look for the 2021 season, the Eagles could face a long year. But they will come out on the other side with financial flexibility and more opportunities to add talent to their roster. Still, it might not be pretty for a year or so.
Daniel Gallen covers the Philadelphia Eagles for PennLive. He can be reached at [email protected]You can follow him Twitter and FacebookFollow up on PennLives Philadelphia Eagles coverage Twitter Facebook and YouTube
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