Eagles' Top Players to Avoid in 2021 NFL Free Agency

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMarch 1, 2021

Eagles' Top Players to Avoid in 2021 NFL Free Agency

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    Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia Eagles are going to be on a tight free-agent budget this offseason. Even after trading quarterback Carson Wentz,Β Over the Cap projects them to still be $43 million over the NFL's salary cap (assuming a cap of about $180.5 million).

    With free agency set to begin on March 17, the Eagles are likely going to make some moves to improve their financial situation, perhaps by releasing some players on big contracts who don't fit into their long-term plans.

    So while Philadelphia should have the ability to sign some free agents,Β it will have to make sure it makes smart decisions and not dole out contracts to players who won't end up helping the team for the future. The Eagles may pursue more affordable free agents rather than the biggest names on the market and bring in less proven players who have a ton of potential.

    With that in mind, here are three free agents Philadelphia should avoid pursuing this offseason.

Will Fuller V, WR

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Although the Eagles have some young wide receivers who have yet to break out, they could use a proven playmaker to bolster their offense and give quarterback Jalen Hurts a top target to throw to. Philadelphia has already released DeSean Jackson and is reportedly also going to cut Alshon Jeffery, so its receiving corps will be thin on experience.

    Still, the Eagles shouldn't go after Will Fuller V, who may not cost quite as much as other top free agents such as JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chris Godwin and Allen Robinson II. The 26-year-old likely has some productive years ahead of him, but it's not a risk Philadelphia should be willing to take at this point.

    Fuller has had trouble staying on the field throughout his five-year NFL career, all of which has been with the Houston Texans. Injuries limited him to 28 games from 2017 to 2019, and he played only 11 games this past season, missing the final five games because of a suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy. Before that, he set career highs in receptions (53), yards (879) and touchdowns (eight).

    If the Eagles are going to spend money on a free-agent receiver, they need to use it on somebody who is either affordable or highly reliable. Fuller doesn't fit either description, so Philadelphia should look elsewhere to bolster its receiving corps.

Jason Peters, OT

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    Jason Peters may be 39, but he's made it known that he's going to be back for the 2021 season. However, that doesn't mean the Eagles should bring him back for a 13th year with the team.

    Because Peters' career is nearing an end, he likely doesn't have much time left to try to win another Super Bowl, so he should be looking to join a contender. Philadelphia should be looking to get younger, so while it could use a boost on the offensive line, it shouldn't be trying to bring back Peters for another season.

    Peters played only eight games this past season because of injury, marking the second time in four years he's played eight or fewer games. And while he's a nine-time Pro Bowler, he's naturally less durable than he once was.

    Even if Peters comes at an affordable price, he would be taking away playing time from somebody younger, so signing him wouldn't be a beneficial move for Philadelphia. And while he's been a key member of the franchise for more than a decade, it's time for his Eagles run to come to an end.

Richard Sherman, CB

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    The Eagles are set at one of their starting cornerback positions, as Darius Slay under contract for three more seasons. But Philadelphia is going to need to add to its secondary this offseasonm with Nickell Robey-Coleman becoming an unrestricted free agent and potentially not coming back.

    While it may be tempting for the Eagles to pursue Richard Sherman, a veteran who could be affordable and may still have a few productive seasons ahead of him, it would be better for Philadelphia to either sign a younger free agent or add a cornerback or two in the 2021 NFL draft. And like Peters, Sherman may end up going to a team with which he has a better chance to win soon.

    Sherman, a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro selection, will be 33 when the 2021 season arrives. And although he played only five games last season, he had played 29 games over his previous two years with the San Francisco 49ers. So he could be in line to have a bounce-back season in 2021.

    However, Sherman likely won't fit into the Eagles' long-term plans, which should include getting younger in the secondary and surrounding Slay with some high-potential players who will get an opportunity to develop. If that's going to happen, Philadelphia should pass on cornerbacks like Sherman.