With just a few hours until NFL Free Agency beginning the Philadelphia Eagles have over $30 million in cap space and many needs to fill. Chip Kelly will most likely fill more needs in the draft, but count on Eagles GM Howie Roseman making a splash with all the cap space available. The Eagles needs are abundant, but the most glaring are easily recognizable. WIth the likelihood of CBs Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha not returning, and the abysmal play of starting safeties Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen, the Eagles are poised to make offers to the available defensive backs in Free Agency.
Rumors have been swirling about the Eagles interest in safeties Dashon Goldson and Louis Delmas (of the 49ers and Lions respectively), but they may be too pricey for the cap-savvy Eagles brass. Howie Roseman has always been adamant about not overpaying for anyone, and I can not see him changing that for a safety. But there are a few safeties that may come cheaper than what they are worth, due to the abundance in the market. Some names to look out for are Glover Quin Jr. formerly of the Houston Texans, Dawan Landry of the Jaguars, LaRon Landry of the Jets, Kenny Phillips of the Giants, and on a short term fix, Adrian Wilson of the Cardinals. There are at least a dozen starting safeties that are free agents this year and I, among countless others expect to sign at least one of them. Prediction: I think the Eagles sign Louis Delmas and then draft a safety in the first 3 rounds.
At corner, this is one of the deepest free agent classes in recent memory likely caused by NFL teams trying to increase their cap space. The big names available at the CB position include Aqib Talib of the Patriots, Sean Smith of the Dolphins and Brent Grimes of the Falcons. All three are good corners in their own right, but will come at a high cost. Others to consider that will still be good players at a lower cost include Derek Cox of the Jaguars, Greg Toler of the Cardinals and Chris Gamble of the Panthers (although Gamble is rumored to have retired). I believe the Eagles will sign one of the big names at corner, because I believe Eagles brass has confidence in Curtis Marsh and Brandon Boykin to fill the other CB slots. The most likely of the big names for the Eagles to sign is Sean Smith, a physical corner who can come off a block and make a tackle, something the Eagles have lacked for a last few seasons.
After the secondary, the Eagles other needs include another TE, and depth along offensive and defensive lines. Expect the Eagles to sign a few guys who are not household names, but can contribute to a team who is rebuilding behind first year coach Chip Kelly. Some names to keep an eye on are Delanie Walker, the versatile TE from the 49ers and Doug Legursky, another versatile player who can play any interior offensive line position.
By Josh Collacchi