Links of the week: rumors of roster changes looming

Nothing exactly concrete happened in the past week, but the rumors of who’s staying and who’s going in Philadelphia have seemed to intensify. In addition to that, many analysts and writers are beginning to point out players in the draft that would be good fits for the Eagles. One of the bigger ongoing pieces of news is that Jeremy Maclin still hasn’t been re-signed, but I still don’t think it’s at the point of concern for fans. Here are some interesting articles from the past week:

1. Eagles’ Brandon Graham will be popular in free agency

By Chris Wesseling, via NFL.com

OLB Brandon Graham had a breakout season for the Eagles despite still coming off the bench. He had a slightly bigger role due to Trent Cole getting older and playing fewer snaps, which allowed his effectiveness to show on a more regular basis. It was announced that he’d be looking for a contract in free agency for about four years and $30 million, with at least $20 million guaranteed. While it would be great for the Eagles to retain him, I don’t think they’re financially able to, especially since he’s more of a 4-3 pass rusher anyway. Whatever team ends up with him will likely have to overpay, so the Eagles are likely out of the picture.

2. Nick Foles not the answer for Eagles offense, Chip Kelly must find QB in 2015

By Cian Fahey, via Bleacher Report

I am still a big believer in Nick Foles, but even I have to admit this article makes a lot of sense. The article has very detailed examples of how Foles has always struggled or just been average, but it has just been masked by the type of offense the Eagles run. True, he sometimes struggles with accuracy downfield and mostly throws short passes, but if that’s all the Eagles are looking for, he can do the job. I would take this article with a grain of salt, but it’s still definitely worth reading to see a different perspective.

3. A look at eight potential Eagles cap casualties

By Jimmy Kempski, via Philly Voice

The Eagles already have a solid amount of cap room, but there are a group of players the Eagles could easily release or restructure the contracts for in order to gain a whole lot more cap space. Guys like Trent Cole and Cary Williams headline this group, although Cole is more likely to come back under a smaller contract while Williams is likely to just be released altogether. Even LeSean McCoy seems to get thrown around in this group because he has the highest cap hit on the team in 2015, but he’s still one of the best players. There’s no way he’s leaving Philly.

4. Eagles’ Marcus Smith answers critics, has a chip on his shoulder after disappointing rookie season

By Matt Lombardo, via NJ.com

Everyone knows that Marcus Smith had a very disappointing rookie year, and almost everyone has chimed in on the criticism. But he finally responded to these critics, especially that of former Eagles assistant coach Tra Thomas. Smith owned up to all the criticism and agreed that he needed to improve a lot and get bigger. I’m glad that he accepted it, but now he just needs to actually do it. It’s good that he isn’t arguing it, but I’m interested to see if he’ll actually improve.

5. Sig stats: tackling efficiency by team

By Nathan Jahnke, via Pro Football Focus

People have been criticizing the Eagles’ defense for years because of how poor they have been, but people also need to start accepting that they’re improving. Their pass defense was still one of the worst in 2014, but according to this PFF article, they were one of the best tackling teams in the league. They were rated as having the fourth best tackling efficiency in the league and tied for seventh for fewest tackles missed on special teams. That is definitely worth at least a pat on the back. The defense is improving in small steps, and eventually they should be back to at least the top half of the league.

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