The Eagles definitely had the busiest day in yesterday among the entire NFL, signing people, missing out on signing people, and apparently being linked to trades with other people. It is absolutely crazy, and free agency hasn’t even started yet. Yesterday was part of the period of time in which teams can talk with free agents and work out deals, but nothing becomes official until Tuesday when free agency actually starts. There’s a lot to cover here, so let’s look at every move and non-move and what it means for the rest of the offseason.
Eagles signed CB Byron Maxwell
The Eagles officially will sign former Seahawks CB Byron Maxwell on Tuesday to a six year, $63 million contract with $25 million guaranteed. That’s a whole lot of money for a guy who really hasn’t completely proven himself as an elite cornerback, but he was at the top of the market for his position and the Eagles were willing to overpay. Maxwell was part of the famous “Legion of Boom” in Seattle, the best secondary in the league. He knows what it’s like to win and is a big, physical cornerback. He will be an immediate upgrade over last year’s CBs and will obviously start. Who he’ll start next to is still to be determined, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Eagles signed RB Frank Gore
The Eagles kept moving forward with their free agency plans and agreed to a contract with former 49ers RB Frank Gore. The deal will technically be three years, but it’s essentially a two-year deal where $7.5 million in the first two years is guaranteed. This is a relatively low risk move because it’s on a short deal. Gore is a long-time successful running back, rushing for over 1,000 yards in eight separate seasons. Some people may be worried about his age and durability, but he likely won’t be asked to do too much. He’s never been a 300 carry per season guy, and I definitely don’t expect him to be in the Eagles system. They’ll likely still draft someone and use a committee along with Chris Polk and Darren Sproles.
Eagles re-signed QB Mark Sanchez
This both surprised me and didn’t surprise me, but the actual deal around it was a bit strange. The Eagles agreed to re-sign QB Mark Sanchez to a two-year deal worth $16 million maximum, although more accurately about $9 million. The deal includes $5.5 million guaranteed and will likely be about $4.5 million per year. That is a pretty steep price for a backup, although it may be that high if they had to out-bid other teams who might have wanted him as a starter. In my mind, this deal essentially means Nick Foles is on his way out of Philadelphia. Chip Kelly wouldn’t re-sign a Sanchez to that much money just to backup Foles for another year or more. That makes no sense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sanchez be the backup next year in which Marcus Mariota is the starter. It just seems bound to happen at this point.
Chiefs sign WR Jeremy Maclin
After it seemed like he was coming back to Philly, it was then reported that WR Jeremy Maclin would be leaving the Eagles and signing with the Chiefs. The Eagles were doing so well in free agency so far, but this really set them back. They apparently offered Maclin $9 million/year, but he wanted $11 million/year. In the end, Andy Reid and the Chiefs were willing to do that, so he made the switch. The move kind of makes sense for Maclin since he’s going back to the state where he went to college and to his former coach, but it does show a bit of a lack of loyalty. Chip Kelly on the other hand has shown very little loyalty to highly paid RBs and WRs, so maybe he thought he’d be on his way out shortly anyway. This way, he could leave on his own terms and still get a lot of money. I get it, but it’s a big loss for the Eagles. They’re left with Jordan Matthews, Riley Cooper and Josh Huff as their top three wide receivers. Not good. Wide receiver immediately becomes one of the biggest positional needs for them.
Patriots re-sign S Devin McCourty
Not too long after it was announced that Maclin would be joining the Chiefs, it was reported that the Eagles would miss out on another of their top free agent targets. McCourty chose to take less money and re-sign with the Patriots, agreeing to a five year, $47.5 million deal with $28.5 million guaranteed. This deal gives McCourty the most guaranteed money for a safety in NFL history and is actually higher than what I thought the Eagles would’ve been willing to give him anyway. I’d be interested to see what the Eagles offered him, although it must have not been enough to lure him away from the Super Bowl-winning Patriots. This is another blow to the Eagles’ offseason plans, but they’ll have to move on and try with a new safety. Rahim Moore comes to mind as the next guy up, although he’s clearly not as talented as McCourty.
Eagles linked to trade rumors with QB Colin Kaepernick
The Eagles are confirmed as one of the two teams in talks and an unnamed NFC team as the other. (Colin Kaepernick trade)
— Jayson Braddock (@JaysonBraddock) March 9, 2015
There has already been a lot of speculation as to whether this report is accurate, as it has already been rejected as “fake” by both Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport, two of the best NFL Insiders in the NFL. It would make me feel a little better if Jayson Braddock were verified on Twitter, but I still believe his report. As for if it’s true, I would hate for the Eagles to trade for him. He’s very expensive and, frankly, isn’t that great of a quarterback. Foles is a better option and he’s millions of dollars cheaper. Just because he’s a mobile quarterback doesn’t mean he’s the perfect fit in the Eagles’ system. I’ll pass on him.
The Eagles filled some important roster holes such as running back, backup quarterback and starting cornerback, but they now have a gaping hole at wide receiver and are still out a starting safety. The latter two positions will obviously be big needs going forward, and I expect them to target guys at each position going forward in free agency. They’ll also likely target another cornerback to start alongside Maxwell. I’ve heard they’re interested in former Packers CB Tramon Williams, which sounds like a great option as the other starter. Whether they’re seriously considering him is up in the air though. They’re also apparently targeting former Steelers OLB Jason Worilds, but I’m against this move. They’ll likely have to massively overpay for him, and he’s really not that great. Spending less money for a different guy seems like a better move in my opinion.
- Analyzing Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster after final cuts
- Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster predictions: Version 2.0
- Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster prediction: Version 1.0
- Analyzing Eagles’ trade to No. 2 overall: Was it worth it?
- Why the Eagles shouldn’t draft any running back in the first round