To say that the Philadelphia Eagles have a lot of work to do under new head coach Chip Kelly would be a drastic understatement. The Eagles are officially in a rebuilding phase and wouldn't be foolish to completely rebuild the entire roster during the next six months.
This past season, the Eagles were one of the worst teams in the National Football League, collecting just four victories, including losses in 11 of their final 12 games. Their eight-game losing streak after a 3-1 stretch sealed the fate of Andy Reid, who was immediately fired following the end of the season.
This offseason, the Eagles have already begun the complicated reconstructive process of their once-proud franchise. Veteran quarterback Michael Vick was re-signed to a one-year deal, while former University of Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon was signed because of his familiarity with Kelly's offense.
The Eagles also cut veteran defensive tackles Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson, increasing the likelihood that the team uses a 3-4 defensive front next season.
The team will look to address a lot of its needs in April's draft, but before the draft even begins, the Eagles have the beginning of free agency. Their initial decisions will involve what to do with the eight free agents on their own roster, beginning with former Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and ending with long snapper Jon Dorenbos.
Only one of the eight players is a potential starter, no matter which team he ends up on. Regardless, the Eagles will likely look to re-sign at least a couple of the players, as all have the capability to contribute as key backups on the 2013 roster.
The eight players are as follows: guard Jake Scott, tackle King Dunlap, defensive tackle Derek Landri, defensive end Darryl Tapp, linebacker Akeem Jordan, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, safety Colt Anderson and long snapper Jon Dorenbos.
Veteran guard Jake Scott wasn't even in the National Football League when the Eagles signed him in midseason to fill in for the ineffective Danny Watkins at right guard.
Scott held down his own over the season's final seven games, especially as a screen blocker.
Scott shouldn't enter the 2013 season as the starter, but he would be a viable option to have as a backup. He'll be 32 years old in April, and he's likely not going to be very coveted this offseason. If the Eagles want Scott on the roster next season, a one-year deal worth about $750,000 should get it done.
The mammoth left tackle for the Eagles is one of the most wrongly criticized players on the team. He's not good enough to be a starter, and he obviously can't hold his own against Jason Peters or even Todd Herremans.
But Dunlap is a great option to have on the bench. In fact, he ended up starting 14 games at left and right tackle in 2012 after Jason Peters missed the entire season with a torn Achilles tendon and Demetress Bell proved to be completely ineffective.
According to Pro Football Focus, Dunlap ranked 33rd out of 80 qualifying tackles. In other words, he was above average.
Now don't expect him to play that well again, especially since he may never play 14 games in a season again.
But the Eagles should look to lock up him to a two-year deal worth about $1.5 million. Dunlap turns 28 this offseason, so the next two years could be the last of his career. The fact that he's already turned in a five-year career as a seventh-round draft pick is remarkable.
The Eagles originally brought Landri on board during their famous free-agent signing spree before the 2011 season. He responded by turning in the best season of his career, rating as the fifth-best defensive tackle in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.
But he was not highly sought-after at all during the offseason, and the 28-year-old ended up returning to the Eagles on a one-year deal.
After a disappointing 2012 season in which he failed to show that his success in 2011 wasn't a fluke, he likely will not be re-signed by the Eagles. If they are interested, however, they'll likely be able to sign the veteran tackle to a one-year deal worth a little under a million, perhaps around $900,000.
Signing him would be a mistake, though, even after the Eagles cut veterans Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson. Fletcher Cox, Antonio Dixon and Cedric Thornton are still on the active roster.
Veteran defensive end Darryl Tapp entered the season buried on the depth chart behind Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Brandon Graham and Phillip Hunt. Throughout the season, he failed to show that he deserves to be brought back for a fourth season in Philly.
He played in just 257 snaps, recording one sack and two quarterback hits. Almost 29 years old, Tapp's career could be winding down. The Eagles could likely have him on a one-year deal for about $750,000, but that won't happen. He won't be re-signed by the Eagles, who have Cole, Graham, Hunt and 2012 rookie Vinny Curry on their 2012 roster.
Veteran Akeem Jordan just completed his sixth career in Philadelphia, which is pretty amazing considering the fact that he's never even been an average linebacker.
He has talent as a special teams performer, but he was really phased out of the defense by the end of the season, playing in just seven total snaps during games 13, 14 and 15.
Jordan is your classic backup linebacker who can play well on special teams. The Eagles may re-sign him, and they may not. It really won't impact the team at all. If they choose to bring him back, they can likely do so on a one-year deal worth about $1 million.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is the big risk for the Eagles heading into the 2013 season.
One of the original dream team acquisitions, he played poorly as the nickel cornerback in 2011 and struggled as a starter in 2012.
But he's just 27 years old, and he does have a Pro Bowl on his resume. He's also going to be reunited with Billy Davis, who was added as the Eagles defensive coordinator this offseason. Davis was the coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals when DRC turned in his best season, in 2009.
The Eagles could replace all four starting members of the secondary and nobody would complain. The pass defense was historically awful in 2012, highlighted by an eight-game stretch without an interception (one game shy of the all-time record, set by the 2011 Minnesota Vikings).
But realistically, the entire secondary can't just be replaced in one offseason. It makes sense for the Eagles to re-sign Rodgers-Cromartie and hope that he can rekindle some of the magic he had when he worked with Davis in Arizona.
Rodgers-Cromartie will be sought after by a number of teams in the NFL this offseason, mostly on his past success, but also because cornerback is a very difficult position to find talent. For the Eagles to bring him back in 2013 and beyond, they will likely need to offer him a deal worth about $27 million over three years.
Whether or not they would be willing to pay that much for a player who really hasn't had a good season since 2009 is another question.
If the Eagles re-sign Colt Anderson, it won't have anything to do with his play as a safety. He actually played well in the final few games of the season, but he's on the roster because of his standout play at special teams, where he's one of the very best in the game.
Anderson, 27, rated as the second-best special teams player in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. The Eagles were really lacking early in the season when Anderson was recovering from a torn ACL and coverage improved almost immediately following his return.
It's hard to tell whether other teams will covet a special teams stud like Anderson, but I'd imagine there is definitely some interest in him across the league. For a two-year deal worth about $2 million, the Eagles should be able to lock him up.
There is absolutely no reason why the Eagles shouldn't re-sign veteran Jon Dorenbos this offseason. As a long snapper, Dorenbos is flawless, even playing through a high ankle sprain late last season. He didn't miss a game, and he's never had a bad snap in Philly.
He'll be 33 years old this summer, but he can likely still play a few more seasons. It won't make or break the 2013 team if Dorenbos is let go, but expect him to be back on a two-year deal worth about $1 million.