Now with the offseason in full swing, the Eagles have some big decisions coming on the free agent front. They don't have it as bad as some other teams, but there are still some important names on both sides of the ball.
I thought it would be fun to look through the 9 unrestricted, 4 restricted and 1 exclusive rights free agents to see which ones the Eagles should keep or not.
RB Jordan Howard(UFA)
Howard's career story is pretty incredible, as he went from a pro bowler to out of the NFL in a matter of 4 years. However the Eagles picked him up on the practice squad last season, and he ended up being a valuable addition for the Eagles playoff run. Howard will probably be more sought after due to his success with the Eagles, but I have a feeling that if the Eagles want him back they will be able to sign him for a relatively cheap contract. I understand his value, but with the emergence of Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell I think it's better to let him go elsewhere. If he doesn't attract interest, definitely bring him back on the practice squad.
DE Ryan Kerrigan(UFA)
Don't let the 2 sacks in the Wild Card game fool you, Kerrigan had an almost impossibly bad season last year. He didn't record a single sack in the regular season after playing 15+ snaps in every game. Sure, the Eagles are going to need edge rusher help, but I have a feeling retirement might be in the cards for Kerrigan here. Even if he does come back, he can't be on this team next year.
DE Derek Barnett(UFA)
Barnett is really not as bad as fans make him out to be, but he still has been incredibly disappointing for a first round pick. He actually gets good pressure most games but is never able to finish with a sack. His biggest offense is obviously penalties, which was showcased in possibly his last game as an Eagle against Tampa. If you could get a fair deal for Barnett I'd actually consider getting him back, but we know that edge rushers get paid in free agency and I'm sure Barnett will be asking for a lot.
DT Hassan Ridgeway(UFA)
Ridgeway has been a depth guy for the past few seasons and hasn't really done anything of note. Everyone else in the defensive tackle room is under contract, so maybe signing him isn't the best idea. But he's still 27 years old and I guarantee you the contract will be a minimum deal. I have no issue with signing him as depth once again.
LB Genard Avery(UFA)
I really didn't know what to do here, since Avery is kind of just a "meh" player. The only reason he got playing time last season was due his role as the SAM linebacker in Jonathan Gannon's defense. I'm going to bank on the idea that Gannon is not here next season due to his multiple head coaching interviews since the Eagles were eliminated. If he is here next year however, I think Avery will be back as well.
CB Steven Nelson(UFA)
I wouldn't say I had huge expectations for Steven Nelson when he signed a 1 year deal with the Eagles before camp, but he definitely outlasted them. Nelson was really solid as the CB2 next to Darius Slay and allowed the Eagles to move Avonte Maddox to his natural position at slot corner. This is a tough one, since the Eagles will have chances to get another corner in free agency and the draft, but I still think Nelson might end up being your best option. He is going to cost more than last year, but I think he's earned it. If the Eagles don't end up signing Nelson, assume that means they like this years cornerback class and will be drafting one very early. I still think the Eagles should target a corner even if they re-sign Nelson.
S Rodney McLeod(UFA)
Well, here is the big one. McLeod is an all time Eagle, a guy who always gives 100% on the field and was a huge part of the Super Bowl year in 2017. However, he'll be 32 years old by next season and was splitting snaps with Anthony Harris/Marcus Epps last season. It pains me to say cutting ties might be the best for both sides. However, I still think he'll be back. I'm not sure what the deal will look like, but McLeod loves it here and I don't think he'd snake the Eagles for a big money contract. I still am not sold on K'von Wallace or Marcus Epps and unless the Eagles can get Kyle Hamilton in the draft, there is no top tier safety they can acquire. Sure, the Free Agent class has the likes of Marcus Maye and Quandre Diggs, but we all know those will come at a steep price. However, I would not be shocked to see this go the other way.
S Anthony Harris(UFA)
Now we head to the other safety spot. Harris had a poor start to the season but definitely stabilized down the stretch. He did basically what you would expect for a veteran on a 1 year deal, but I'm honestly not sure he played well enough to demand a lot more money. He's a solid guy, but I feel like he'll be too pricy for what the Eagles want at that position. The Eagles can probably confidently head into 2022 with Epps, Wallace and McLeod + another cheaper guy they can get in free agency or the draft.
TE Jason Croom(UFA)
You probably forgot about Croom because he tore his patella tendon in the preseason and stayed on injured reserve for the whole season. In a crowded Tight End room, I can't see Croom being re-signed unless he ends up being a practice squad guy at some point.
RB Boston Scott(RFA)
Maybe if Scott was an unrestricted free agent then we would have the same discussion we had with Howard, but it would be hard to see the Eagles not extend the qualifying offer to the Louisiana Tech product. A 1-2-3 of Sanders, Gainwell and Scott sounds good to me.
WR Greg Ward(RFA)
Another former practice squad guy here in Ward, who didn't play a lot last season but maybe should've over a guy like Jalen Reagor. Even if the Eagles are planning on bringing in some reinforcements at wideout, there should be no problem with bringing back Ward considering he's restricted.
G Nate Herbig(RFA)
Although Herbig was injured for the last game of the season, let's not forget that he did a pretty good job filling in at RG down the stretch. The Eagles are pretty stacked with O line depth and Herbig is a big part of that. No reason he's not back.
LB Alex Singleton(RFA)
As you may have seen in my first mock draft, I believe there is a good chance the Eagles end up taking a linebacker with one of their 3 first round picks. That doesn't mean they won't extend the qualifying offer to Singleton, who's future could only be for depth and on special teams.
CB Andre Chachere(ERFA)
If you are an exclusive rights free agent it essentially guarantees you will be on that team the next season. As long as the Eagles offer Chachere a 1 year deal at the league minimum, then he cannot negotiate with any other teams. Chachere is a key special teams guy and has been depth in the crowded room of cornerbacks on this roster.