Projecting the Eagles' Free Agent Targets
Chip Kelly is about to get his first taste of the free agency frenzy as the new league year (and with it the start of NFL Free Agency) begins Tuesday.
With a whole new system and regime in place, there are a number of needs and plenty of options via free agency for the Eagles to address those needs.
Here's a look at some of the possible targets the Eagles may have in this year's free agency period.
An ideal situation for the Eagles would be if they can grab a solid right tackle to allow Todd Herremans to kick back to guard, where he has enjoyed previous success in his career. And it just so happens that there is a strong right tackle on the market.
Eric Winston is a strong tackle who can move well and would seem to fit pretty well in Chip Kelly's up-tempo scheme. He also won't command a huge, huge payday, though the Eagles do have plenty of space, with about $29 million in cap space based on the numbers from spotrac.com.
Amazingly, Winston has been cut twice in two offseasons. Why? No idea. Cap reasons, maybe? Whatever the case, Winston is available and could be the best free agent option for the Eagles to upgrade an offensive that was decimated by injuries in 2012.
Safety is another key need for the Eagles after the struggles of both Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen.
Knee injuries hurt Phillips' 2012 season. Pre-injury, however, Phillips showed he is a solid cover safety and could come pretty cheap. He does come with injury questions, obviously. Only twice in his five-year career has he played all 16 games. It will be interesting to see if they feel a veteran safety is the way to go, or if they will go after someone like Matt Elam or Jonathan Cyprien in the draft.
Whichever way they go at safety, they will be likely to address this position. Coleman wasn't good and is probably better as just a special teamer. Allen can't seem to shake the injury bug anymore, or at least regain his strength. Phillips may be another injury question, but if healthy, Phillips easily provides a big upgrade in the defensive backfield.
Nnamdi Asomugha is just about gone, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a free agent and likely won't be back. Could Sean Smith be the next top cornerback for the Eagles?
Smith had an up and down season for the Dolphins after they leaned on him to lead the cornerback chart after trading Vontae Davis to the Colts. That being said, he is still one of the top cornerbacks on the market for a team that is now very thin at the position, with Brandon Boykin now likely sitting at the top of the depth chart along with Curtis Marsh.
If the Eagles don't want to break the bank for Smith, a cheaper option could be Kyle Arrington.
Arrington slipped down the Patriots' depth chart as the season wore on, especially after the Patriots acquired Aqib Talib during the season, eventually settling in as the nickel corner. That said, Arrington is only one season removed from posting seven interceptions. He could rotate with either Boykin or Marsh (Arrington is three inches shorter and about the same weight as Marsh).
Arrington may not be a quote-unquote No. 1 cornerback, but as referenced above, the Eagles would need depth in the secondary with the two "Dream Team" cornerbacks both halfway out the door.
Andy Levitre is easily the best guard in free agency, and the Eagles have a clear need at guard, provided they don't end up kicking Herremans inside.
The Eagles obviously have to be careful as far as grabbing top-tier free agents, but Levitre is another guy that could work well for a new-look Eagles team.
Danny Watkins is still on the roster as a first-round pick, but he is creeping toward bust status, and as we all know, was benched during the season for Jake Scott, a street free agent from the Titans. Scott is a free agent as well, so that leaves a bit of a hole for the Eagles at guard.
As mentioned before, the Eagles have plenty of cap space. It's a matter of will they try to improve the guard position here? Do they take a guy like Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper or D.J. Fluker in the draft? Do they stick with Watkins?