7 Eagles’ offseason objectives: Start with Jalen Hurts, spend big for this free agent CB

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Perhaps no off-season will test the mettle of Eagles general Howie Roseman more.

The Eagles are coming off Super Bowl season, but as free agency begins Monday with the so-called legal grace period, about a third of the 53-man roster will be eligible to sign elsewhere.

Rosman has already been on record saying that the Eagles won’t be able to keep everyone, and that’s clear because they have limited cap space in the new league year. So Rosman will be busy trying not only to keep some of his most important free agents, but also to find new players through free agency, trades and the draft to replace many of those who left.

Here, seven aims for the Eagles as the new league year begins on Wednesday:

BG Back; is slay?Eagles free agent tracker: As a legend decides to return, star DB wants a trade, report

Keeping up with the Jones:How Giants’ Decision On Daniel Jones Contract Will Cost Eagles’ Jalen Hurts A Ton Of Money

sign jalen hearts

It’s a no-brainer, at least on the Eagles’ part. The sooner they can sign Hearts to that extension, the sooner they can move forward with their off-season plans. Sure, it will cost the Eagles dearly, especially after Giants QB Daniel Jones signed a deal last week averaging more than $40 million in per-season incentives.

Based on that, Hurts’ deal could average more than $50 million per season, making him the highest-paid quarterback – at least over the long term by Cincinnati’s Joe Burrows, Justin Herbert of the Chargers and Lamar Jackson of the Ravens. till the signing of the deals.

By signing Hurts now or soon, the Eagles can start to spread the signing bonus over the 2023 cap. So far, Hurts counts $4.9 million on the cap. By adding the $10 million-$15 million to Hurt’s bonus, the Eagles will have an idea of ​​what they can spend on the rest of the roster not only this season, but in future years when Hurt’s cap hit is much higher.

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But it takes two to tango, and Hurts can leave money on the table by signing now with quarterback salaries and the cap continuing to skyrocket.

spend this free agent cb

The Eagles could lose both starting cornerbacks Darius Slay, 32, who was reportedly allowed to seek a trade, and James Bradberry, 30, who is a free agent.

Rather than spend heavily to keep one of them, the Eagles should spend heavily to sign a high-quality free agent that short. And the main target should be Tampa Bay’s Jamel Dean, who is 26 years old. He was the full-time starter last season and had two interceptions.

If Slay’s cap is $26 million pending reorganization or paycheck, and the potential cost of keeping Bradberry would be at least $12 million, the Eagles could spend Bradberry’s money on a young cornerback with his best years. can spend.

If past seasons are any indication, Rosman strikes a chord with a player in free agency early. Last season it was Hassan Reddick, and in 2020, it was Javon Hargrave.

Los Angeles Chargers free safety Nasser Adderley (24) returns an interception near the goal line in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)

In terms of safety, it may fit the UD Star

It’s hard to fathom three of the top five defensive backs leaving, but it’s very likely that Slay, Bradberry and safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson will be playing elsewhere in 2023.

Of the three, the Eagles should prioritize re-signing Gardner-Johnson, who is 25. But his age, along with his ability to play both safety and nickel, is what makes him so attractive as a free agent. The Eagles will not and cannot engage in a bidding war, so it is more likely that the Eagles will re-sign starting safety Marcus Epps and pursue a low-cost free agent.

That player might be very familiar to fans of Chargers’ safety Nasir Adderley, Los Angeles’ second-round pick in 2019 out of the University of Delaware. Adderley, however, lost playing time to Alohi Gilman. While that could be a red flag, the Eagles could find him competing with Reed Blankenship for the starting job.

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Philadelphia Eagles running back Javon Hargrave (97) and teammate Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) celebrate Hargrave's sack during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Atlanta.  (AP Photo/Brian Anderson)

Philadelphia Eagles running back Javon Hargrave (97) and teammate Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) celebrate Hargrave’s sack during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brian Anderson)

Should re-sign big free agent Eagles

Of all the Eagles’ free agents, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave is the one they should bring back. Others are more replaceable, whether it’s running back Miles Sanders, right guard Isaac Seumalo, fellow DT Fletcher Cox and the aforementioned defensive backs.

That’s because the Eagles only have three players under contract for 2023 in Milton Williams and Marlon Tuipulotu, along with first-round draft pick Jordan Davis. However, Hargrave will not come cheap. And at 30, he can be somewhat risky.

But Hargrave has had his best seasons in sacks over the past two seasons, with 7½ in 2021 and 11 last season. The Eagles desperately need a veteran presence in the middle.

change draft strategy

The Eagles have four picks in the first three rounds. Even if they address some of their needs in free agency, they will still have to draft for need unlike the past few seasons when they traded Davis, center Cam Jurgens and linebacker Nakobe Dean. As the successor was drafted. ,

Expect the four first-round picks to be a defensive end, two defensive backs and a running back. Even with Graham’s return, the Eagles will need a defensive end to rotate with him, Hassan Reddick, Josh Sweat and possibly even Derek Barnett.

The drafted running back could serve as a replacement for Sanders, moving with Kenny Gainwell and perhaps Trey Sirman if necessary. And the Eagles would have to develop a corner instead of constantly dipping into the free agent/trade market for a high priced player.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Cuz Watkins (16) makes a catch during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Cuz Watkins (16) makes a catch during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, in Philadelphia.

Quiz Questions on WR

It’s hard to nitpick with a prolific offense, especially with the constraints facing the rest of the roster. So don’t expect the Eagles to spend for a third wide receiver to replace Cuz Watkins. And really, why should they? Despite Watkins’ mistakes, he remains the Eagles’ best pure deep threat by bulking up the defense and allowing more space for AJ Brown, Devonta Smith and Dallas Goedert.

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Granted, Watkins needs to improve in both ball safety and catching 50-50 balls, but he’s not going to be a huge part of the offense. Brown, Smith and Goedert accounted for 69% of the Eagles’ goals, and Goedert missed five games with a shoulder injury.

He is not going to change. Watkins, a sixth-round pick in 2020, had 33 catches for 354 yards last season. That’s good production for their draft spot and often exceeded what the Eagles got from first-round picks Nelson Agholar and Jalen Rigor.

be patient

Roseman was named the NFL’s Executive of the Year last season because he found players much later during the off-season.

In fact, Rosman often mentions how he was criticized two weeks into free agency last season for not doing much. They then traded for the Browns on draft night, signed Bradberry in May, traded for Gardner-Johnson in August, and made defensive deals for Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph in November.

All were players in the Super Bowl run.

It could happen again this year. There’s always a player like Bradberry who gets released after multiple teams have already used up their cap space, and thus signs a one-year deal, proving it’s worth it. In addition, Roseman will also have significant draft capital in 2024 to trade.

Roseman said the “player-acquisition period,” as he prefers to call it, lasts until the trade deadline in late October and probably beyond.

Contact Martin Frank at [email protected] Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.

This article was originally published on the Delaware News Journal: 7 Eagles Off-Season Objectives In Free Agency, The Draft And Jalen Hurts