Free Agency: Where Do the Philadelphia Eagles Go from Here?
The Philadelphia Eagles have already signed eight unrestricted free agents, seven of whom play defense and seven of whom could have a chance to start and/or play major roles in 2013. Five come from 2012 playoff teams and four have been to the Super Bowl in the last 14 months. At least five have recently dealt with injury issues and/or are coming off down years. Seven are signed for three years or less and zero will make more than $8 million guaranteed.
That's what I'd call a deliberate, consistent approach to free agency.
So are the Eagles done?
My best estimate is that they have just under $20 million in cap space. They will want nearly half of that money to sign draft picks and plug gaps later, and have the ability to carry over anything they don't spend to 2014.
With that in mind, I'd imagine they're now going to look for a bargain or two while beginning to shift the focus to the NFL draft and that No. 4 overall pick. ESPN.com's Dan Graziano points out that they now have the luxury of being able to draft the best player available on April 25, rather than obsessing over a particular area of need.
The secondary might already have four new starters, they've shored up the pass rush a little and they've added a nose tackle. They still need defensive linemen who can compete with Cedric Thornton for the starting job opposite Fletcher Cox, and more options for the secondary and offensive line, but you can see this team coming together.
If the Eagles do decide that Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner is their guy, they might try to grab a guard or right tackle option on the second-wave free-agent market. If they decide to go with someone like Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher in order to move Todd Herremans inside, they might attempt instead to sign one more defensive back on the open market.
Here are a few names the Eagles might still want to consider in the coming days and weeks, whether they've decided where to go in the draft or not:
Andre Smith (Bengals), Sebastian Vollmer (Patriots) and Eric Winston (Chiefs): I'm absolutely shocked that all three right tackles remain unsigned. These guys would do huge things for Philly's offensive line, giving the Eagles a chance to move Danny Watkins to the bench. Since there's three of them and we're now three full days into free agency, they can't all be that pricey.
Aqib Talib (Bucs), Brent Grimes (Falcons) and Antoine Cason (Chargers): Three veteran cornerbacks who are probably better than Cary Williams. Talib has red flags and Grimes is coming off an Achilles injury. Cason is coming off a down year. In other words, they all fit the profile.
Alan Branch (Seahawks) and Roy Miller (Bucs): Two possible five-technique ends.
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