Eagles Free Agent Tracker: A starting safety continues to flee on defense; going o-lineman

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It’s becoming clear that the Eagles of 2023 will look a lot different from the team that went to the Super Bowl last month.

The Eagles have close to 20 free agents as the new league year officially begins on March 15 at 4 p.m. ET, nearly a third of the 53-man roster, and not nearly enough money to sign them all. Talks can start from 12:01 pm on Monday

And it also potentially includes a new mega-contract for quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is expected to become one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL based on average annual value.

It will take some tough decisions for some of the longest-tenured Eagles defensive linemen, such as Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. It could also lead to some tough decisions for key players like defensive backs James Bradberry and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

Some of these moves began in the days before the legal loophole period opened on Monday.

Here, a look at the moves, rumors and fallout as the 2023 season officially begins.

Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Andre Dillard runs on the field before the start of an NFL football training camp practice on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, in Philadelphia.

Eagles Loses First Offensive Lineman While Kelce Stays

Longtime center Jason Kelce probably started a chain reaction on the offensive line when he posted on social media that he would for a 13th season. With Cam Jurgens drafted to replace Kelce or Seumalo in 2022, right guard Isaac Seumalo’s chances of returning remain slim.

And after guard Chris Lindstrom signed a five-year, $105 million deal with the Falcons, it certainly looked like Seumalo paid the price for returning himself.

But the Eagles also lost another offensive lineman when it was reported that Andre Dillard would sign with the Tennessee Titans for three years and as much as $29 million. Dillard was the Eagles’ first-round pick in 2019, but was ousted for the starting job at left tackle by Jordan Malata to begin the 2021 season.

Dillard has proven to be a useful backup at both left tackle and left guard, but he will get a chance to start with the Titans, most likely at a starting salary. The Eagles weren’t going to pay for backup blocking by Melata and Landon Dickerson at left guard.

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starting security (not that) is also going to

Marcus Epps is joining the exodus of defensive starters as he will reportedly sign a 2-year deal worth $12 million with the Raiders.

Epps became the full-time starter last season for the first time in his career, and played 99% of the defensive snaps. This could be a sign that the Eagles will try hard to retain Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. The Eagles currently have Reed Blankenship, K’Veon Wallace under contract through 2023.

Gardner-Johnson was tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with 6 despite missing five games the previous season. But the Eagles will have to pay a lot to keep him. A good gauge would be Jesse Bates’ four-year deal with the Falcons worth as much as $64 million.

Eagles’ top D-tackle signing with 49ers

The Eagles’ major losses in free agency began early as defensive tackle Javon Hargrave would sign a four-year deal reportedly worth $84 million.

Hargrave had a career-high 11 sacks last season and became one of the top free agent defensive tackles. Hargrave clearly outperformed his previous contract, a 3 year $39 million deal the Eagles signed in 2020. Fletcher Cox is also a free agent, and he may go too.

Hargrave’s departure means the only defensive tackles under contract for 2023 are youngsters Jordan Davis, Milton Williams and Marlon Tuipulotu.

Eagles losing key LB to start free agency

It didn’t take long for the Chicago Bears to deal for linebacker TJ Edwards, agreeing to a three-year deal reportedly worth $19.5 million. The signing won’t be official until 4 p.m. Wednesday, but it could potentially be a huge loss for the Eagles.

Edwards had 159 tackles the previous season, the second most in team history. The Eagles’ other starting linebacker, Kazir White, is a free agent. The Eagles have Nakobe Dean, a third-round pick in 2022, ready to replace one of them. But if White leaves as well, they may have to go after free agents.

Bradberry: Eagles want chance to match an offer

Cornerback James Bradberry, one of the Eagles’ top free agents, told NFL reporter Josina Anderson that the Eagles want a chance to match any offer that Bradberry receives in free agency.

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“I would love to play for the Eagles,” Bradberry told Anderson. “I definitely see how bright the future is… I’m expecting interest from other teams as well. So he told me whoever calls, just make sure I give them a chance to play as well. “

Do not mistake this for the meaning of eagles Desire Match an offer. They likely have a price in mind that they won’t go over. After all, if the Eagles really wanted to keep Bradberry, they wouldn’t have let him go in free agency in the first place. The same is true of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, who he didn’t carry the franchise tag with, or defensive tackle Javon Hargrave.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (55) reacts as he leaves the field after the NFL Divisional Round Playoff football game against the New York Giants on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia.  The Eagles won 38–7.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (55) reacts as he leaves the field after the NFL Divisional Round Playoff football game against the New York Giants on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 38–7.

Brandon Graham decided to stay

Graham could easily become a highly sought-after free agent, even as he nears his 35th birthday next month. After all, the Eagles’ longest tenure as a first-round pick came in 2010, with a career-high 11 sacks despite only playing 43% of the snaps.

will still graham sign a one year deal for a of up to $6 million, which was first reported by ESPN. The Eagles later confirmed Graham’s return.

Graham could have gotten at least a two-year deal, most likely for more money, had he decided to test free agency.

The Cleveland Browns were reportedly interested, with former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in the same role in Cleveland. And it’s possible the Arizona Cardinals, along with another former Eagles defensive coordinator led by Jonathan Gannon, could also be interested.

But Graham told ESPN that he instructed his agent to make a deal with the Eagles before free agency even started “so that I didn’t have to go through that part. I’m just glad everything worked out.”

Graham then said: “It wasn’t even without money. It was about wanting to be an Eagle as long as I could still play at a high level.”

Graham is fourth in Eagles history with 70 sacks, six behind Clyde Simmons.

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Darius Slay moving on?

ESPN reported Friday that the Eagles allowed Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay and agent Drew Rosenhaus to seek trades.

It makes sense from a financial point of view. Slay is 32 years old, entering the final year of his contract, and he counts for $26 million against the salary cap for 2023.

The Eagles may renegotiate Slay’s contract. But that would add additional guaranteed years, and likely something the Eagles aren’t ready to do at his age. Slay is coming into his fifth Pro Bowl season, so there’s doubt he can still play at an elite level beyond this season.

Slay, who had three interceptions last season, recently posted on the Montgomery & Company podcast that he would welcome an extension with the Eagles.

“I want an extension with the Eagles. I love the Eagles,” Slay said on the podcast. That is all; That’s what we do when we have a year left on our deal.

ESPN’s report indicated that the Eagles were hopeful of finding a solution to retain Slay.

But other than a significant pay cut, it seems hard to imagine that. By trading Slay, the Eagles could save $16.8 million on the cap if they designate the trade after June 1 (they’ll hit the $12 million salary cap in 2024, though).

The Eagles traded for Slay in 2020, giving the a third and fifth round pick. It’s hard to imagine the Eagles getting that much in now.

Eagles Reconstituted Kicker

The first restructuring began on Friday with kicker Jake Elliott, who restructured his deal to save $2.5 million on the salary cap. The Eagles did this by converting his salary for 2023 into a signing bonus.

The Eagles could save a lot more money by doing so with right tackle Lane Johnson, who counts $24 million against the salary cap. By restructuring Johnson, the Eagles could save another $10-12 million on the cap.

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

This article was originally published on the Delaware News Journal: Eagles free agent tracker: Marcus Epps, Javon Hargrave start D’Exodus