Free Agency Review: Philadelphia Eagles

Key Additions: WR Alshon Jeffery ($9.5M), QB Nick Foles ($5.5M), WR Torrey Smith ($5M), DE Chris Long ($2.3M), G Chance Warmack($1.5M), CB Patrick Robinson ($1M)

Key Re-signings: C Stefen Wisniewski ($2.7M)

Key Losses: DT Bennie Logan (Chiefs), CB Nolan Carroll (Cowboys), DE Connor Barwin (Rams), CB Leodis McKelvin (FA)

Estimated Cap Space: $2.3 million

Dead Money: $14.6 million

Estimated Salary Per Year: $188.4 million for 73 players

Snaps Gained/Lost in Free Agency:

Role2016 Snaps2017 SnapsChange
Offense12,32213,8361,514
Defense11,2159,544-1,671
Special4,0674,757690

Player Signings

Alshon Jeffery- 1 year, $9.5M, $8.75M guaranteed

I’m not sure if there is anything to not like about this signing. In Jeffery the Eagles get a legit potential number 1 receiver which was their biggest need of offense especially given a desire to make life easier on their young quarterback. While there are incentives that can make the contract higher, I think this price is well worth it.  Even if he were to be on pace to meet those incentives I would say its likely they would extend him to a big deal rather than just letting it expire and paying out those incentives.  These types of players rarely make it to free agency and even if he flops they didn’t even spend $10M. Grade: A

Nick Foles- 2 years, $11M, $5.5M guaranteed

The concept of signing Foles isn’t a bad one. He’s a reasonable player to bring in if Wentz gets injured and had the best success of his career in Philadelphia. He seemed fine with the concept of being a backup last season and should be a fine mentor to help Wentz with dealing with the pressure that comes with having expectations in Philly. However, while the signing of Foles makes sense in theory I am not sure how you look at your roster and determine that spending this money on Foles is worthwhile. The Eagles already were on the hook for $5 million to Chase Daniel (they should bet $1 million or so back on that) so in reality you are looking at paying over $7 million a year to bring him back.  Because the Eagles were somewhat tight on the cap they also had to resort to using the void contract structure to fit his bonus in. The Eagles will be carrying $14.1M in cap charges this year for Sam Bradford, Daniel, and Foles. Grade: C-

Torrey Smith- 3 years, $15M, $500K guaranteed

Smith hasn’t had a good season in three years, but this will be the first time he will be playing with no expectations which can sometimes be beneficial. Smith exceled for the Ravens in 2013 and seemed to struggle as he played for a contract and then attempted to justify his contract in San Francisco. It’s hard to judge the SF years too because of all the front office turmoil and turnover. Either way there is no risk here.  If he flops in the summer the Eagles cut him with just $500,000 in charges.  If he plays up to a 2 level they are getting a $2-3M discount. Even if he plays at a 3 level its only a touch above the going rate. Grade: A

Stefen Wisniewski- 3 years, $8M, $2.7M guaranteed

I’ve never been able to figure out why Wisniewski was never able to land a reasonable contract in free agency, especially in todays NFL, but that is the Eagles gain. Wisniewski is a solid versatile player that will be able to give the Eagles snaps at both guard positions and center which should give them a lot of options on the line. His two year cost is basically the same as Ryan Groy in Buffalo and while Groy is younger Wisniewski is, at this stage, the better player.  Grade: A

Chris Long- 2 years, $4.5M, $500K guaranteed

If you are looking for a veteran body to throw on your line you could do a lot worse than Long, who certainly can do whatever dirty work you need. The Eagles guaranteed him next to nothing in the event he doesn’t seem to fit in their defense, so in many ways this plays out like an insurance policy if they cant fill needs in the draft or just want to ease a draft pick in, which is common for a pass rusher. They also used void years here but with just a $500,000 signing bonus that really makes no impact. The Eagles wisely packed in two tiers of roster bonuses, which is not very common in the NFL, that probably helped get the deal done. Grade: B+

Chance Warmack- 1 year, $1.5M, $500k guaranteed

Give the Eagles credit for not getting wrapped up in a name or caving into the perception of draft status on this one. Warmack comes in cheaper than Jonathan Cooper, DJ Fluker and especially Luke Joeckel all of whom were essentially similar levels of bust.  He probably won’t amount to anything but this is a reasonable amount of money to guarantee to get a look. Grade: B


Overall Thoughts

I’m a little biased towards Jeffery, but I thought his signing was one of the best, if not the best, in free agency. It’s a reasonable cost and a perfect fit for the needs of the team. While none of the other players will blow anyone away, and its quite possible that few will be on the team this September, the Eagles made good use of a small amount of cap room to bring in guys with upside on relatively low risk contracts. I actually think this was a better use of space than what they did last season with all the big signings and extensions.

Like many teams they have left themselves with a number of holes on defense with the likely expectations that the draft will help fix it which I think makes for an interesting draft for teams looking for offensive talent and the reached we could see for teams that are not. These are small reasons why signings like Foles are more questionable, though it’s doubtful that would have given them enough to get much more than a Morris Claiborne type and there probably is not much of a difference between Claiborne and Patrick Robinson besides salary.

The only notable loss in free agency was Bennie Logan and there is no reason to blame the Eagles for not paying $8M or more for a player that is basically a part timer. That most likely would have been a mistake and the Eagles cant really afford to make those kind of mistakes. If you are going to make that mistake its better to whiff on a potential gamechanger like Jeffery than the status quo.

Moving forward the Eagles have one of the more difficult cap positions in the NFL but they do have some flexibility to move on from veterans in the future and most of their talented players are all already locked up for the long term. I’d be curious to see how things would have played out had they been unable to trade Bradford last year which really put them in a much better position than they ever could have dreamed of and it has led to a pretty successful offseason for Philly.

Overall Grade: A-
  • ANDY TAYLOR

    Curious to know if I am the only one who thinks that Howie Roseman is probably one the worse GM’s in the NFL – or whether his dealings in this free agency cycle and draft will prove me completely wrong!

    I look at his actions in 2016 – as seemingly having one intent – to completely remove any traces of Chip Kelly – with no thought on the team’s progression.

    The Alonso – Maxwell trade- was a win win for Miami,

    De Marco Murray a clear win for Tennessee,

    Giving up all those draft picks (including 1st and 2nd round) for Carson Wentz….Cleveland did well

    And only due to Teddy Bridgewater injury in Minnesota – did lady luck get him out of trouble with the Sam Bradford trade (who in 2016 was actually a better QB than Wentz)
    Time will tell – but I feel for Eagles fans with that GM steering the ship.

    • Kaedwon

      Maxwell and Murray were colossal blunders by Chip Kelly, who destroyed both the roster and the locker room in 3 seasons. Roseman did exceptional work unloading those exorbitant contracts and getting draft picks in return. Getting a 1st back from Minny for Bradford was part luck but mostly seizing a golden opportunity to rebuild a decimated talent pool. You have to be really ignorant not to see this.

      • Ken Horner

        Looking at the Chase Daniels for Nick Foles ‘swap’, it doesn’t look like they really have a plan.