So far, fans should be pleased with how the Philadelphia Eagles‘ offseason has gone. With such a frenzy in NFL free agency, the Eagles were able to maintain some of their big-time free agents, including Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper. Philadelphia was also able to add some marquee names to its roster. They began the rebuilding of their secondary by signing safety Malcom Jenkins, and added a big-play threat in Darren Sproles to the backfield. It’s safe to say the Eagles’ offseason scheme is going exactly as planned.
However, there are still some holes on this roster Philadelphia shouldn’t hesitate to fix.
Ever since transitioning to a 3-4 defense, the Eagles have lacked a big, run-stuffing defensive tackle. Sure, there have been many who have tried to fill the role, including last year’s acquisition Issac Sopoaga. His stint in an Eagles uniform didn’t last long, as he was traded midway through the season. Philadelphia has lacked that big presence in the middle of the defensive line for quite some time. There is one man who, if he is released, would be a great fit wearing green next season.
If he’s released, the Eagles should not hesitate to go after New England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork. He is the biggest (literally) leader for the Patriots on the defense, and has been the anchor for New England for the last 11 seasons. At 325 pounds, not much can slow down Wilfork, as he has been one of the best interior lineman in football for the last decade. As a five-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion, he is one of the most dominant and successful defensive tackles in the NFL. However, father time may have caught up to the big man. Just four games into the 2013 campaign, Wilfork suffered a season-ending achilles tear, the first major injury of his career. Now, there is doubt that a man of his size and playing style can return to his old dominant self, especially at 32 years old. After refusing to take a pay cut from New England, Wilfork has asked for his release, which would end his 11-year tenure with the team.
Even though the Patriots haven’t officially released him, the Eagles shouldn’t hesitate signing Wilfork. Philadelphia’s transition to a 3-4 defense has been slow and shaky, to say the least. Although they showed signs of improvement last year, there were games some of the players looked like they didn’t belong. The New Orleans Saints ran all over Philadelphia’s defense in their playoff matchup, which eventually costed the Eagles the game. In order for Philadelphia to be a contender, they must fix their defense, and Wilfork fills one of the biggest holes at defensive tackle.
The Patriots run a hybrid 3-4 defense that can come out in different formations. However, whenever they came out in the 3-4, Wilfork would play the run-stuffing nose tackle position, and played it well enough to become a Pro Bowler. The Eagles would be adding a former Pro Bowler to their roster, and someone who has a lot of experience at the position. Even though rookie Bennie Logan had some moments last year, adding Wilfork would be adding a veteran who could not only add some leadership to the team, but also could still make an impact on defense. Wilfork still has some left in the tank, and, if he’s released, the Eagles should use whatever he has left in it.