The Philadelphia Eagles enter the 2012 season with expectations to contend in the NFC East, especially coming off a disappointing 8-8 campaign in which the team was mired by inconsistency and fourth quarter collapses.
The Eagles signed a slew of players in the offseason, locking up DeSean Jackson, Trent Cole and Todd Herremans to long-term deals, while the team acquired DeMeco Ryans in a trade and drafted standout defensive players Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks and Brandon Boykin.
Most of the main free agents are locked up, but the following five players need long-term deals sooner rather than later.
The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Jeremy Maclin in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft, trading up to acquire the University of Missouri standout receiver. Maclin progressed strongly in his first two seasons before enduring a rough 2011 campaign when he dealt with a cancer scare and struggled in fourth quarter situations in several games.
Maclin lost weight during the preseason and wasn’t at his normal playing weight during 2011, so I give him a pass to some extent. Maclin is a free agent after the 2013 season, but assuming he produces at a high level for the first several weeks of ’12, the Eagles should give him a four or five-year extension. He’s an important part of the wide receiver corps, and he’s a strong complement to Pro Bowler DeSean Jackson, who was just locked up to a five-year extension himself.
I’m torn on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to a certain extent. He really underperformed in 2011, although he was used out of position and struggled in the slot, where he couldn’t use his size to play at a physical level.
DRC will move back outside in 2012 with Asante Samuel having been traded to the Atlanta Falcons, and he and Nnamdi Asomugha should give the Eagles an elite group of cornerbacks, especially with the explosive defensive line the team has up front.
The problem with DRC is that he really struggled in 2010 with Arizona on the outside, rating as the worst cornerback in the game, according to Pro Football Focus. Then again, he didn’t have very good teammates on the Cardinals, and that will be different in next year’s defense in Philly. Assuming DRC can play at a high level for the first several months and show the Eagles he can man the position for the next several years, the Eagles should give him a new deal.
A long snapper is not the first guy you’re likely to think about when you think of players that need long-term deals, but Jon Dorenbos deserves a contract extension in Philly.
He’s been absolute money during his six years as long snapper. I never notice him on the field because I don’t recall him ever having a bad snap. He’s still just 31 years old and signing him through 2015 or 2016 would be a good move.
When you have a good long snapper, there’s no reason to let him go.
Special teams players are always a nice luxury to have, and Colt Anderson is one of the best in the business. He’s a little-used safety but a special teams ace who was having a Pro Bowl caliber season before tearing his ACL late in 2011.
Anderson was still voted the Special Teams MVP by his teammates. He hits free agency after 2012 and considering he is coming off quite an injury, the Philadelphia Eagles should wait several weeks to see that Anderson is at full strength and then lock him up for the next several seasons.
The Philadelphia Eagles signed Derek Landri to a one-year deal last year to serve as part of the rotation on the interior defensive line. Landri enjoyed a phenomenal season, rating as the fourth-best defensive tackle in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.
Landri was a force in both rushing the opposing quarterback and in stopping the run. The Eagles did draft Fletcher Cox with their first-round selection, and that gives them a fearsome interior defensive line with Mike Patterson, Cullen Jenkins and Antonio Dixon. Signing Landri to a long-term deal means he will just be a backup for the Eagles, but a three-year deal or so would really solidify the defensive line.