Philadelphia Eagles: Depth and defense the focus for Philly
What a bizarre year 2019 was for the Philadelphia Eagles. At one point they looked in serious trouble following a loss to the Miami Dolphins dropping them to 5-7. However, they won four straight, including a crucial victory over the Dallas Cowboys to win the NFC East at 9-7.
In the large part this season will be remembered in Philadelphia for injuries. At the start of the season they had Carson Wentz throwing to DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffrey with Jordan Howard lining up in the backfield. By the end of the season, Josh McCown was throwing to receivers most people had never heard of with Miles Sanders hobbling through games as the running back. That is not to mention some of the injuries they suffered across the offensive line this season. Those injuries demonstrate a need for the Eagles to try and develop more strength in depth going forward.
A massive positive for this team is that Carson Wentz got through a full regular season for the first time. His season did finish with injury, but in this instance it was a concussion caused by a more than questionable hit in the playoffs. Unless something dramatic comes of his head injury, Wentz should be ready to roll for 2020.
General Manager: Howie Roseman
Head Coach: Doug Peterson
While 2019 was a strange one for the Eagles, it is the third straight year the team has finished with a winning record and gone to the playoffs. In his time as the coach of the Eagles he is 38-26 with just one losing season in his three years leading the team. Between Pederson and Roseman the Eagles have put a lot of talent on this roster, but they desperately need to look adding some depth if they want to head back to the Super Bowl in 2020.
Cap Space: $44.8 million
Their cap space situation falls pretty much dead in the middle of the pack this season. Fortunately for them they have a lot of high end talent already under contract, because they will struggle to open up much space this offseason. The only players they could cut this season to free up more than $2 million per person would be Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham, the second of which has a club option that could save just over $4.5 million.
The only other way to free up some extra cap space this year would be through contract restructures. However, with a lot of the top end talent secured and the likelihood being they are looking for roster depth this offseason, there should not be a major need to create space immediately.
Impending Free Agents
The Eagles do have some of their own free agents they need to make tough decisions on. At the top of that list is Jason Peters, their long term left tackle. However, with the Eagles having made the decision to trade up for Andre Dillard last year there is a very real chance they make the tough decision to let Peters walk this offseason.
The defensive back free agents will be fascinating. Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills and Rodney McLeod have all had ups and downs but the Eagles may want to retain at least one of the three for continuity in their secondary. The question will just be about whether the price is right with their other plans this offseason.
Nelson Agholor is another name worth mentioning, but simply in the context that it would be somewhat of a shock if they re-sign a player that has been as inconsistent as he has.
Major Need: Defensive Back
At times this season the defensive backfield for the Eagles was a joke. Now with three players in their secondary hitting free agency it has to be a point of emphasis this offseason. The good news is that many draft analysts see this class as a loaded one in the secondary, especially at the secondary position. There will also be some interesting options available in free agency when it comes to the secondary. Depending on what the Eagles decide to do regarding their own free agents the corner and safety markets may be a place they look to target for a veteran addition to anchor their secondary.
Major Need: Wide receiver
Agholor is likely gone and then there are a lot of question marks. Jeffrey has reportedly been the source of critical comments about Wentz, and his injury history is also questionable. Talking of questionable injury histories, Jackson is a player that the Eagles simply cannot rely on to play a full season. Therefore, they need added depth at the receiver position to ensure that Wentz is not left throwing to former-quarterbacks and receivers we have never heard of again in 2020.
Image credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports