S Colt Anderson
I’ve liked Anderson’s work as a fill-in safety and on special teams, but he’s been identified as part of the terrible safety group that the Eagles have and has a chance of being let go too. He also made $1 million last year, which is way more than his actual value. And despite being the special teams captain, he only had 11 tackles on the year; that can easily be replaced. Anderson will either have to take a pay cut or walk because he’s replaceable.
P Donnie Jones
The Eagles signed the former All-Pro Jones to a one year deal in hopes that he’d retain that type of skill, and he certainly tried his best. While it’s hard to consistently be one of the top punters in the league, he did a great job this past year and should stay. He was one of the best punters in getting punts inside the 20, and he had very few touchbacks. The best part was that he made just $620k this past year, way less than he probably deserved. Even if it means doubling his salary, I would be happy to keep Jones around. It’s hard to come around a consistent punter like him nowadays without overpaying.
S Kurt Coleman
Coleman had (what I thought) were two great years with the Eagles when they had some injuries to safeties, but this year he scarcely played with the addition of Earl Wolff and Patrick Chung. His only stats comprised of 14 tackles and was often left aside for other guys at his position despite his solid play in two straight years. I think he’s actually the best safety that the Eagles have right now that doesn’t frequently get injured (yes Chung, I’m talking about you), but that’s an unpopular opinion. He’s probably not coming back, but I’m hoping his top work ethic will prove the team wrong and they’ll keep him around.
DE Clifton Geathers
Geathers was mainly a reserve and didn’t play much for the team this year, so it’s hard to determine if he’s worth holding onto. He only made $630k this year which is pretty low, so it wouldn’t be too hard to keep him around if they could keep his salary low. He’s been largely ineffective in his NFL career though and could probably be replaced. I would actually rank Geathers below Hunt in the depth chart for DE, but I’d look for them to keep one or the other. Either way, I wouldn’t be too upset if Geathers left the team this offseason.
WR Riley Cooper
If there’s anyone I’m torn on this offseason, it’s Cooper. I’ve always viewed him as no more than a 4th WR on the depth chart, and his performance in the first half of this season was one of the worst among WRs in the league. But then he finally exploded and had an amazing second half of the year with Nick Foles at QB, finishing with 47 catches for 835 yards and 8 TDs. His size was a great compliment to DeSean Jackson’s speed, and they created a nice dual threat for Foles to throw to. But that was mainly because Maclin was out; with Maclin, the team’s real #2 WR coming back, is Cooper really needed? I’m sure they wouldn’t mind having three solid WRs, but it’ll ultimately come down to whether they can afford all of them. Cooper’s going to want a big pay raise after this year and will want to retain a lot of touches, so would the money be well spent? I was sold on letting him go after this year and drafting someone new, but his performance in the playoff game this year proved to me that he should stay if the money is right.
Overall, there aren’t too many key pieces that the Eagles need to retain, but people like Maclin and Thornton are guys that they really need to make an effort to retain. This free agency is more about unloading guys that they don’t need anymore such as Allen and Vick. They’ll likely make an effort to fill a couple holes in free agency, but it’ll probably be with mid-level players. This year’s free agency could go a lot of different ways, but I’m guessing it won’t be too noteworthy.