How Much Will the Philadelphia Eagles Miss Departed Free Agents in 2013?
After a miserable 2012 season, the Philadelphia Eagles parted ways with several overpaid players on the roster. Gone are cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha, neither of whom played up to his potential.
Quarterback Michael Vick's contract was restructured to just a one-year deal. Veterans like Cary Williams, Patrick Chung and Bradley Fletcher were brought in on cheap deals, with Chip Kelly hoping to maximize their potential in the defensive backfield.
The Eagles won't be hit hard with free-agent losses. In fact, DRC was the only notable player hitting free agency. Several veterans were released and have been included on the slides also. I went with a scale of 1-10 for how much the player will be missed; 1 signifies he won't be missed at all and 10 means he almost can't be replaced.
Nnamdi Asomugha wasn’t technically a free agent. He had signed a five-year deal prior to the 2011 season, one set to pay him a hefty $60 million over five years. That’s the richest contract by a defensive back in NFL history.
Two years later, the Philadelphia Eagles tore the contract up and showed Asomugha the door. It goes down as one of the more colossal free-agent bust signings in recent years. The Eagles thought they were adding arguably the game’s best corner, as Asomugha had made three straight Pro Bowls with the Oakland Raiders.
During that span, he allowed a grand total of one touchdown pass. In 2010, he was targeted 29 times, per Pro Football Focus. He allowed just 13 completions (44.8 percent) for 185 yards and no scores. Asomugha quite literally took away the one side of the field.
And then all fell apart in Philadelphia. He was one of the league’s more burned cornerbacks for two miserable seasons. Asomugha was mercifully released. The Eagles will be going with Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher next campaign, a pair of free-agent signings that will undoubtedly produce just as much as Asomugha.
Miss Scale: 1
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was one of the more disappointing players on last year's Philadelphia Eagles. As the biggest free agent on the team, DRC had everything to prove in 2012.
He began the year in dramatic fashion, intercepting Brandon Weeden twice and holding Cleveland receivers to just one catch. Like the Eagles though, DRC went straight downhill. His potential is there, but the effort seemed lacking too often.
DRC generated little interest in free agency, signing just a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos. He's probably a better player than either Cary Williams or Bradley Fletcher. But Rodgers-Cromartie had worn out his welcome in Philadelphia.
Miss Scale: 5
Jake Scott wasn't expected to be a key contributor on the Philadelphia Eagles. He spent the first half of the season unemployed.
Scott was signed to step in for struggling first-round bust Danny Watkins. Scott was exposed at times, as would be expected from a lineman that hadn't played in nearly a year. But he was probably better than Watkins.
The Eagles didn't make any attempt to re-sign Scott in free agency. It still could be done, as league-wide interest is low. Chip Kelly has to know he's better off with a long-term solution at right guard though.
Miss Scale: 4
King Dunlap spent five years on the Philadelphia Eagles. The fact that he's now projected to start for the San Diego Chargers is remarkable for the former seventh-round pick.
That being said, there's no way Philip Rivers can feel too confident in Dunlap guarding his back. Dunlap is huge, almost too big to effectively play tackle. He struggles to get low on smaller defensive linemen, and he can be extremely inconsistent.
The Eagles spent a fifth-round pick on Dennis Kelly last year. Whether Kelly amounts to anything remains to be seen. But he allows Philadelphia to move on from Dunlap with no regrets whatsoever.
Miss Scale: 3
Akeem Jordan was one of those players that spent six years in Philadelphia without ever really having a highlight.
He was a rotational linebacker who somehow always seemed to find his way into the starting lineup. Jordan doesn't really offer anything over a replacement player. He's a marginal tackler and can't rush the quarterback. New defensive coordinator Billy Davis won't lose any sleep if Jordan isn't around.
Miss Scale: 1
In 2011, Derek Landri was a key piece of the rotation at defensive tackle. He was especially adept at getting to the opposing quarterback.
Landri really dropped off last year. He had almost no impact and saw his snaps diminish. The Philadelphia Eagles have yet to make him an offer in free agency.
Considering the Eagles are short on defensive linemen though, Landri would be a bargain in 2013. He's a big body that would serve as a rotational player at 3-4 end. He may still come back, but that will probably depend on who the team acquires in the draft.
Miss Scale: 5
Darryl Tapp was a similar player to Akeem Jordan. He rarely started but was always there.
Tapp was a piece of the rotation at defensive end but nothing that can't be replaced by a fifth-round draft pick. With just six sacks in 39 games with the Philadelphia Eagles, Tapp hasn't been a hot commodity in free agency. He may struggle to find a team for 2013.
Miss Scale: 2
It should be noted that Cullen Jenkins was not a free agent. Like Nnamdi Asomugha, he had signed a five-year deal in the 2011 offseason.
Unlike Asomugha though, Jenkins had played well. He was one of the better defensive tackles in the NFL, and made his mark as a pass-rusher. Jenkins still put pressure on opposing quarterbacks even in a disappointing 2012.
It was purely a salary cap move that led Chip Kelly to release him. It's disappointing, because Jenkins' $4.1 million scheduled salary in '13 was reasonable for a player of his skill.
He also has experience as a 3-4 end, and that's precisely where Kelly would have shifted Jenkins for next year. An end duo of Fletcher Cox and Jenkins would have been a good one. As it stands now, Cedric Thornton is the projected starter opposite Cox. And Jenkins will be playing for the division-rival New York Giants.
Miss Scale: 8
Mike Patterson gave the Philadelphia Eagles eight good, although not spectacular, seasons. He wasn't quite worth a first-round pick, but Patterson was a solid player that played consistent football.
It's certainly understanding that his time in Philly is done though. Patterson has spent the last two years battling a fairly serious brain condition. He has more important concerns than football. He was also due to make $4.25 million in 2013, which is a lot for a player with his health concerns.
Miss Scale: 5
For the sake of players that won't return to Philadelphia in 2013, I included Demetress Bell.
He was signed to be an adequate replacement for Jason Peters. Bell became the worst player to wear an Philadelphia Eagles uniform since Mike McMahon, this after being a solid lineman with the Buffalo Bills.
Bell was benched soon after the season started, giving way to players like King Dunlap and Dennis Kelly. Bell's lack of effort was entirely evident, and there's no reason for any NFL team to sign him again. The Eagles released him almost as soon as the season ended.
Miss Scale: 0
Mat McBriar was merely a stopgap for the Philadelphia Eagles. He was just a mediocre punter in 2012 and was released when the team signed former All-Pro Donnie Jones to a contract.
McBriar is nearing the end of his NFL career. He ranked near the bottom in yards per punt and net yards per punt last season. McBriar will probably get a job when a punter gets injured, but it won't be right away.