5 Free Agents the Philadelphia Eagles Should Re-Sign This Offseason

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5 In-House Free Agents the Philadelphia Eagles Should Re-Sign

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Howard Smith-USA Today Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles rebounded nicely from the departure of longtime head coach Andy Reid at the end of the 2012 NFL season. Under the leadership of new head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles finished the season 10-6 in 2013. Kelly’s fast-paced, college style spread offense which he made famous at the University of Oregon took the league by storm despite many claims that such an offense would never work in the NFL.

Kelly immediately had to deal with controversy when wide receiver Riley Cooper said a controversial phrase while at a country music concert. The way Kelly kept his team together in wake of the controversy and then turned many Eagles’ offensive players, including Cooper (who many suggested be removed from the team), into stars, he may well be named Coach of the Year.

The Kelly-led Eagles had the No. 1 ranked rushing offense in the NFL and the league’s ninth ranked passing offense to complement it. Kelly’s offense was so successful that his assistants are now getting promotions with other teams, such as former quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor who is now the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins.

After the Eagles started the season off with an impressive show of offense and a win, Philadelphia then lost three straight. It seemed Kelly’s offense wouldn’t work in the NFL and that coaches had already caught up to it.

In reality Kelly’s players were still getting used to the system, and after a 1-3 start and a struggling Michael Vick was replaced by Nick Foles, the Eagles finished the season 9-3.

While the Eagles have most of their core players signed for next season, out of the ten free agents these are the five they will need to keep if they want to enjoy more success in 2014.

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5. Colt Anderson, S

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Eric Hartline-USA Today Sports

Anderson is a core special teams player for the Eagles. He won the Ed Block Courage Award in 2012 after coming back from a torn ACL. Anderson led the Eagles in special teams tackles in 2013 and was the Special Teams MVP in 2011 and 2012.

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4. Donnie Jones, P

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Robert Stanton-USA Today Sports

Donnie Jones is one of the best punters in the league. Punters are not hard to come by, but if you have a good one you have to keep him. Jones ranks fifth all time in both net and gross punting averages and set a franchise record in punts downed inside the 20-yard line. In today’s NFL coaches take any advantage they can get, and being able to flip field position and pin your opponent inside the 20 is a huge advantage. Special teams is still one-third of the game.

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3. Mike Vick, QB

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Howard Smith-USA Today Sports

In Philadelphia’s offense, which uses the quarterback as a moving part, a backup quarterback is essential. If Nick Foles goes down with an injury, Matt Barkley would be the Eagles’ starting quarterback. No one in Philly wants that. If Vick can’t land a starting job anywhere this offseason it might be best for both parties if he re-signs with the Eagles.

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2. Jeremy Maclin, WR

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Howard Smith-USA Today Sports

Before Maclin tore his ACL he was one of the Eagles’ most dynamic playmakers. The combination of Maclin and DeSean Jackson was one of the best duos in the NFL, and if the Eagles re-sign Maclin, who has yet to play in Kelly’s up-tempo offense, they could become one of the great offenses of all time.

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1. Riley Cooper, WR

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Howard Smith-USA Today Sports

Cooper responded from his controversial offseason with his best season as a professional. Cooper became Nick Foles' favorite target and had 47 receptions for 835 yards and eight touchdowns. His big frame and ability to go up and catch the ball is a good contrast to DeSean Jackson. If the Eagles manage to retain Cooper and Maclin then Foles will have three dynamic and different receivers to throw to.


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