Links of the week: cap casualties continue, free agent interest expands

Preparation for free agency is heating up around the league as teams have already begun to cut some high-priced veterans to clear some more cap space. The Eagles are among those teams, releasing their second player in as many weeks. They are definitely gearing up to make a couple important signings, and they’ll have to make some big decisions about the future of their franchise, especially defensively. Here are some links from the past week regarding Eagles news:

1. Eagles part with a warrior: Todd Herremans confirms release

By Les Bowen, via Philly.com

The biggest news surrounding the Eagles this past week was the release of long-time starting right guard Todd Herremans. He was a big leader for this team and a mainstay on the offensive line for a very long time. I’m sure it was a tough decision to let him go, but they saved $2.8 million in cap space after releasing him. The move likely means the Eagles have acknowledged that while they have a talented offensive line, it’s aging and has had some recent durability issues. Herremans himself missed the second half of last year with a torn biceps. Andrew Gardner may step in as the starter, but they could always draft someone.

2. Should Eagles focus draft on offensive line?

By Phil Sheridan, via ESPN

This article was actually posted just a day before Herremans was released, so it was very timely. Everyone seems to be caught up in the talks of Marcus Mariota and the secondary, but addressing the age of the offensive line is very important. Lane Johnson will hopefully be a long-time starter at right tackle, but Evan Mathis and Jason Peters are also getting older. They will both definitely stay on the team this year, and maybe even next, but it’s a very real argument to say that they need to start thinking about replacements for these guys this year. It’s yet another reason why trading all their picks for Mariota could be detrimental.

3. Eagles free agent targets: Byron Maxwell

By Reuben Frank and Geoff Mosher, via CSN Philly

About a month ago, I thought all of this “Maxwell to the Eagles” talk was a myth exaggerated by the fans. Sure it sounds great hypothetically, but do the Eagles actually have interest in him? Well now, there have been multiple sources saying the Eagles are actually the front-runner to sign him. After thinking about it for a while, I think signing Maxwell is a must this offseason. They desperately need a great cornerback like him, and this is a perfect opportunity. Once free agency starts, I’d love to see them pull the trigger.

4. Don’t rule out Trent Cole returning to the Eagles

By Brandon Lee Gowten, via Bleeding Green Nation

I’ve also thought a lot about the whole outside linebacker situation, and the more I think about it, the more I just find I second-guess myself. I honestly have no idea what they’re going to do. If I were to have to guess though, I think Trent Cole will be back despite his high cap hit. I think they’ll be able to restructure his contract to make him cheaper. But on the other side, I don’t think they’ll bring back Brandon Graham, meaning retaining Cole in some way is extremely important. He’s still an above average player and is the longest-tenured Eagle. He definitely could still be in Philly in 2015.

5. Day 4 NFL Combine preview: safeties to watch who could interest the Eagles

By Jimmy Kempski, via Philly Voice

This piece was obviously written before the combine ended, but it discusses a position that the Eagles could easily target in the first round of the draft. Landon Collins of Alabama seems like the most obvious choice to fall to the Eagles. There are still plenty of other safeties that they could go with if they don’t want to use a first round pick on one. Who knows if the other guys are just a bunch of Nate Allens, but it’ll be up to them what they want to do there. I think safety is the most important position of need right now, so drafting Collins would make me very happy.

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