The Philadelphia Eagles have a very talented, young nucleus of players that should all be back next season, but as with any offseason, there is turnover and the Eagles will lose a a few key starters and reserves to free agency and possibly even one or two via a trade.
The Eagles are in prime position to get back into contention in not only the NFC East, but as a Super Bowl contenders.
They still need to add a key piece or two to their championship puzzle, and in that process a few familiar faces will be moving on to another city. The Eagles have 10 draft picks and an estimated $20 million in cap space to both resign current players and add a player or two in free agency as well.
This offseason will be huge for Andy Reid and company. We saw this team take a major step backward this season, but we also saw them take a small step forward in the final four weeks. A good offseason would put this team right back into contention.
It's safe to say that Vince Young did more damage then good in 2011 for the Eagles.
On top of his nine interceptions and a 1-2 record as a starter, he also coined the phrase "dream team," which Eagles fans were sick of after about 5 minutes of the national media beating it to death.
Young has always been a big tease throughout his career. He will show flashes of a big-time quarterback with a knack for pulling out games in the fourth quarter only to follow that up with poor decision making and inconsistent accuracy.
Most of the games Young has lead his team back late in the fourth quarter were actually partly due to his inconsistent play in the previous three quarters. He won't be back as an Eagle and definitely hasn't earned the chance to do more than back up any quarterback in 2012.
Ronnie Brown was another one of the Eagles one-year wonders who probably should have never been.
Brown, like Young, did more damage then good for the Eagles in 2011. He attempted a pass as he was going down on a running play against the 49ers when the Eagles were inside the 9ers 5-yard line. The play was ruled a fumble that was recovered by San Francisco and cost the Eagles three points in a one-point loss.
Brown finished 2011 with 136 total yards and one touchdown. He still has the ability to be a decent No. 2 back for some team in 2012, but it won't be in Philadelphia. Dion Lewis—the Eagles fifth-round draft pick from last year—showed enough to earn the opportunity to be the No. 2 back and compliment LeSean McCoy in 2012.
The hot topic of the 2012 offseason for the Philadelphia Eagles is whether or not DeSean Jackson will be an Eagle this season.
Depending on what you read and who you believe, DeSean wants somewhere around $10-12 million per year in his new deal. I don't believe the Eagles will pay a penny more then $8 mil a year for a receiver who is invisible in the red zone and doesn't have the body to play at a high level for another six or seven years.
More then likely, the Eagles will try and get something out of their speedster wideout.
The Eagles could franchise Jackson and try to trade him to the team most in need of a deep threat. If he hits the open market, he could create a bidding war. That would be motivation enough for a team like San Francisco to make the move and give up a early draft pick or two to get one of the most dangerous receivers in football.
I don't believe the Eagles want to pay top five receiver money to a player who can't help them in one of their biggest concerns on offense in the red zone. Look for the Eagles to instead go after a big name free agent or a big time receiver in the draft.
King Dunlap is one of those low risk, high reward draft picks that actually worked out well for Andy Reid.
Dunlap was a seventh-round draft pick in 2008 who lost his starting job as a senior at Auburn. He has worked hard to both earn a spot on the Eagles roster for four straight seasons but also to become a very valuable backup.
He has started at both tackle and guard during his career for injured starters, and he has proven to be a capable starter. He doesn't move quite as well as a Howard Mudd linemen should and the Eagles will probably look at the draft to bring in a quality tackle as a backup for 2012.
Dunlap will get plenty of offers to compete for a starting tackle spot next season, and that will be the main reason he will not be back as an Eagle in 2012.
Despite being a quality center and a constant professional during his tenure as an Eagles, Jamaal Jackson will get the boot this offseason. He is set to make over $1.7 million this season, which is pretty pricey for a backup center.
He hasn't been the same player since suffering back to back season-ending injuries on his ACL in 2009 and his triceps in 2010. He is still a quality linemen who should get a shot as a starting center somewhere, just not in Philadelphia.
The Eagles are very crowded right now at defensive end.
Trent Cole and Jason Babin are Pro Bowl caliber starters while Darryl Tapp is a quality backup for Trent Cole. Both Brandon Graham and Phillip Hunt are players that havn't even scratched the surface for how good they can become in this league.
That leaves out 33-year-old Juqua Parker.
Parker didn't have a bad 2011 season after he recovered from a high ankle sprain he suffered in Week 2: He finished with 1.5 sacks and gave constant pressure on the opposing quarterback. He will get scooped up by some pass rush needy team, but unfortunately for the Eagles, they just have too much talent at defensive end to re-sign a 33-year-old on the decline.
Asante Samuel is all but assured to be dealt this summer. He is 31 and he is set to make $8.4 million this season. His unwillingness to tackle is a huge concern for this defense.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was forced to play in the slot last season with both Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha playing on the outside, and he suffered because of it. This season, the Eagles will look to move Rodgers-Cromartie back to the outside and try to get something for Samuel in a trade.
Samuel was part of trade rumors in both training camp and at the trade deadline last season, but remained an Eagle. This offseason the rumors will come true. The question is whether the Eagles can get a draft pick or two for the 31-year-old corner, who can't tackle and makes too much money.