The Philadelphia Eagles have eight players who will become free agents this offseason. In a perfect world, the Eagles would find a way to keep all of them, as they have all served a function on the team in one way or another. Darryl Tapp has proven himself useful in certain pass-rushing situations, and King Dunlap has had experience as a starter and has shown some improvement.
Unfortunately, roster space and salary cap issues must be considered, and the Eagles cannot simply keep every player who might serve some sort of role on the team. Players must be let go and replaced for the good of the team.
But while some may call for a complete roster overhaul and for free agents to all be let go, the Eagles would be ridding themselves of some very valuable players. Some should be allowed to walk, but these four players must be retained.
Special teams is one of the most overlooked areas on a team, so arguably the best special teams player on the Eagles should not be allowed to walk.
The Eagles special teams struggled mightily in 2012, and the organization clearly has a lot of work to do to turn things around. That includes both schematic and coaching changes as well as personnel changes. The last thing the Eagles should be doing is losing their best special teams personnel.
Jon Dorenbos is a Pro Bowler and possibly the best long snapper in football. He should be given a long-term contract and retained for many years to come.
Speaking of special teams players, Colt Anderson is another ace the Eagles can't do without. Anderson always seems to come up with the big tackle on kickoff returns and sets the Eagles up with valuable field position.
He even showed himself as being very valuable as a depth player, suiting up to play safety late in the season and playing better than most anticipated.
The Eagles seem to have overlooked finding good special teams players over the years, but Anderson has been a redeeming factor. He will likely come cheap, so there really is no reason why the Eagles should not keep him.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has taken his fair share of criticism in 2012, and justifiably so. For all of the attention given to Nnamdi Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie has also allowed big plays and big catches despite the hype that the past season would be his breakout year in Philly.
Still, despite his mediocrity the Eagles have little choice but to keep him. Rodgers-Cromartie is still one of the fastest players out there and is tremendously athletic. He has allowed big plays but, unlike Nnamdi Asomugha, he has the speed to catch up with the wideouts after being burned. At only 26 years of age, he is still young, and perhaps with the right coaching he can still be turned into an effective player.
And even if DRC does not drastically improve, the Eagles are short on defensive backs. They cannot afford to lose DRC or they will have virtually no experience in their secondary.
Although Jake Scott is not an above-average player by any means, he actually filled in for Danny Watkins fairly nicely. He provided a solid presence at right guard and helped solidify the line a bit for the rookie Nick Foles.
The Eagles seem to completely lack stellar talent and depth along the right side of the line. They need to keep Jake Scott, most likely to a short-term contract, just to provide some stability.
Jason Peters and Jason Kelce will likely not be 100 percent when they return. If the Eagles draft a right tackle, he will be a rookie and inexperienced. They need to retain all the depth players they can on the O-line.