5 Free Agents the Philadelphia Eagles Should Target This Offseason
Free Agents the Eagles Should Target This Offseason
The first season of the Chip Kelly era in Philadelphia brought a playoff berth and a franchise quarterback. Even though they benefited from playing in the weak NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles were one of the best offensive teams in the league, as expected, and brought a fast paced offense that the league has never seen before.
Chip Kelly brought in his hurry up college offense from Oregon, which resulted in the Eagles leading the league in rushing and finishing ninth in passing. Second year quarterback Nick Foles led the NFL in passer rating at 119.2 and had the best touchdown to interception ratio with 27 TDs and only two picks. Running back LeSean McCoy won the rushing title by a wide margin, finishing with 1,607 yards and nine TDs. He was the only player in the league to average 100 yards per game and finished with 268 more yards than Matt Forte, who finished second.
The defense finished 29th overall in the league, but most of that was because of the amount of plays that were ran against them. With Philadelphia going through its offense so quickly, the defense had very little time to rest. No team has ever faced as many plays per game as the Eagles did in 2013. They finished tied for second in the NFC in turnover margin with a +12 and were one of the best teams at forcing and recovering fumbles.
After losing at home to the New Orleans Saints in the first round, the Eagles are one of those teams that may just be two or three players from being Super Bowl contenders in 2014. They were able to pass the ball with no true weapon outside of DeSean Jackson after the injury to Jeremy Maclin. Addressing that, plus their secondary and rush defense issues should be at the top of their free agency list.
5. Eric Decker
With Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper set to be free agents, the Philadelphia Eagles need to find a compliment to DeSean Jackson. Eric Decker has the size and route running ability of a possession receiver, but is also fast enough to be a punt returner. It isn't likely he will leave Denver unless the money is much greater.
4. B.J. Raji
B.J. Raji is one of the most versatile defensive lineman in the NFL. He has the ability to be a 3-4 end or tackle and a 4-3 tackle. For Philadelphia, he could play end in their 3-4 on running situations and slide over to nose tackle in passing situations. He would be an upgrade over Bennie Logan and also would be able to play alongside him in their base defense.
3. Paul Soliai
Paul Soliai is one of the best nose tackles in the NFL and is currently playing out of position in Miami. He has been in a 4-3 defense the last two years, after spending the majority of his career in a 3-4. He would be the perfect nose tackle for Philadelphia to build its defensive line around and could improve its run defense all by himself.
2. T.J. Ward
Starting safety Patrick Chung finished the season with 59 tackles, but no interceptions or sacks. Nate Allen, who played the opposite safety position, had 82 tackles, one sack and one interception. A combined one sack and one INT from your safeties means you need a playmaker back there to take the ball away. T.J. Ward of Cleveland had a career year with 112 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. He would be a big upgrade over both of those guys.
1. Aqib Talib
The Philadelphia Eagles have not had recent success signing free agent cornerbacks. Aqib Talib would be another risk with his off the field issues and his injury problems on the field. However, he is one of the most versatile corners in the league, being able to shut down Jimmy Graham and most receivers. He finished the season with four interceptions and 43 tackles, but missed time with various ailments. If healthy, he would be a great compliment to Brandon Boykin, who would be better off covering the smaller and quicker receivers.