Philadelphia Eagles Free Agency: 80-Man Roster
The Eagles are still looking for a few good men, 80 in all and ten more by way of free agency. They may add a few more than 10 by the start of the OTA's, but the not-so-magic number is 80 when it comes time for mandatory camp.
If memory serves, the Eagles held 83 players under contract during OTA's in 2009 and they released three prior to training camp with Jeremy Maclin not yet signed (Amon Gordan, Walter Mendenhall and Adam DiMichelle).
As per the Eagles website, the official roster lists 66 players as of now. Five are unrestricted free agents and the Eagles have seven regular drafts picks and anticipate two more compensatory ones.
Assuming they do not sign their unrestricted free agents and new signings or trades notwithstanding, the total post-draft roster would be 70 (66-5+9=70). If the Eagles lose more productive free agents than they gain (cuts are not included), they will qualify for additional compensatory draft picks in 2011.
If the Eagles' free agents like Sean Jones and Jason Babin perform well elsewhere, that will factor into the top secret NFL equation used in determining the round and quantity of their 2011 compensatory picks.
So, even if they are not Eagles in 2011, be sure to root for those guys.
Back to the point;
The Eagles will also sign at least half a dozen rookie free agents. I believe they signed nine in 2009. Of those players, some were cut, some went to the practice squad, some signed elsewhere and some were called up.
Jordan Norwood and Dallas Reynolds were 2009 rookie free agents that got the call up from the practice squad and could be role players and possibly starters in 2010—particularly Reynolds.
Akeem Jordan and Quintin Mikell were also rookie free agents.
Based on the numbers from 2009, I'll assume that the Eagles will again sign nine rookie free agents. Many of whom would more than likely have been drafted in a lesser class of prospects or in the historic days of a twelve round draft.
That brings body count to 79.
If the Eagles lose a tendered free agent, they will gain a draft pick and the roster effect will be a wash. Conversely, if they sign a restricted free agent like Ray Edwards, they will likely lose a draft pick and it would be a roster wash just the same.
Safety OJ Atogwe is a very interesting exception to that rule as he was a low tender.
We all expect the Eagles to take a long hard look at a veteran defensive back, linebacker and/or defensive lineman that could challenge for a position on the depth chart.
There are many candidates.
A challenger for a starting job seems unlikely, but not out of the question as the core of this team is apparently on this roster already with the biggest impact additions to come by way of this rookie class.
There will be more tweaks, fine tuning and signings in camp as teams release veterans to make room for youngsters and new faces (ala Jason Babin). But for now, the focus is on a quantity of players very close to 80 with three or four to come by way of veteran free agency.
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