(Photo Credit: Mark LoMoglio/Icon SMI)
The Philadelphia Eagles re-signed both Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper. With DeSean Jackson also on the roster, the Eagles likely won’t pursue any wide rreceivers before the 2014 NFL Draft. They are also set at running back with LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk on the roster. The Eagles also look solid at tight end with Brent Celek, Zach Ertz and James Casey.
The Eagles need depth along the offensive line, particularly at center/guard, and the team needs a quarterback to challenge Matt Barkley for the backup spot.
The Philadelphia Eagles will likely focus their free agency efforts on the defensive side of the ball. Since safety Nate Allen is not returning, and the Eagles are thin at the position, the Eagles will need some help. They also need an edge rusher that is a natural fit in their 3-4 scheme and depth along the defensive line as well as at cornerback.
Let’s take a look at some free-agents that could be good additions for the Eagles:
Colt McCoy, QB
McCoy was hardly given enough time to prove if he has what it takes to be a legitimate NFL starter. McCoy started for the Cleveland Browns in 2011. Then, the team drafted Brandon Weeden and named him the starter in 2012. In 2013, McCoy was traded to the San Francisco 49ers where he backed up Colin Kaepernick. McCoy might be unproven as a starter, but he is a solid backup option.
Michael Vick, QB
Vick has been with the Eagles since 2009. During that span, he has played in 54 games, the vast majority of them as a starter. Vick is a polarizing player, but he has served the team well. The Eagles chose Nick Foles to be their starter, but Vick wants to be a starter too. The , Eagles should keep the door open for Vick, as he may not be guaranteed a starting job elsewhere. Vick already has one year of experience in Chip Kelly’s offense and while he is an aging player, he was Kelly’s first choice as a starter before the emergence of Foles.
Jon Asamoah, G
I wrote about Asamoah at Inside the Iggles. He plays guard and was good last year in Kansas City. Unfortunately for him, Geoff Schwartz was even better and he took the starting job away from him. Both are free agents, but Asamoah is younger (25 years old) and likely less expensive. Asamoah has upside. The Eagles could find a decent backup in Asamoah, and a possible replacement for Todd Herreman.
Mike McGlynn, G/C
McGlynn was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008. While most of his playing time was at the guard position, he can also play center. After a one-year stint with the Cincinnati Bengals, McGlynn spent the last couple of seasons in Indianapolis, protecting Andrew Luck. He struggled and the Colts let him walk. McGlynn is a limited player, but he is big (6’4”, 325 lbs.), versatile and has been with the Eagles before.
Mike Neal, DE/OLB
The Green Bay Packers’ outside linebacker makes sense for Philadelphia. He is 26 years old, has experience in a 3-4 defense and he can also play defensive end. Neal had five sacks in 2013. This number could have been greater if he didn’t battle injuries for a large part of the season. It would be intriguing to see what Neal can do if healthy in an up-and-coming defensive line like the one the Eagles have.
Lawrence Sidbury, OLB
Sidbury has shown promise, but he never got the chance to start or play on a regular basis. He was a defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons from 2009 to 2012 and last season, he signed with the Indianapolis Colts. He was supposed to get more playing time there, but a shoulder injury ended his season before he played a single snap. Sidbury won’t demand a lot of money and would definitely be a better backup option than Casey Matthews.
Linval Joseph, DT
Bennie Logan has been excellent as the starting nose tackle, but the Eagles will need someone to play there. Joseph is big (6’5”, 325 lbs.) and still 25 years old. Despite some moments of inconsistent play, he has been one of the better defensive linemen for the New York Giants. If the Eagles sign Joseph, their defensive line becomes flexible. Additionally, they have one less reason to worry if one of their starters is injured.
TJ Ward, S
Jairus Byrd has been the most talked-about free agent for the Philadelphia Eagles. But, for the Eagles to land Byrd, they’ll have to pay $8 million per year for him. TJ Ward, on the other hand, is coming comes off a breakout season with 75 solo tackles, two interceptions, and one and a half sacks. The Eagles will have to spend big to sign Ward, but his demands are expected to be lower than Byrd’s.
Rashean Mathis, CB
Rashean Mathis is not an upgrade over Cary Williams or Bradley Fletcher, who were the Eagles’ starting cornerbacks in 2013. However, he would be a much better backup than anyone the Eagles had the last few years. Mathis has been playing at the NFL level since 2003, spending his first ten years in Jacksonville. He played for the Detroit Lions last season. He will be 34 years old before the 2014 NFL season kicks off, but he is still better than other cornerbacks on the Eagles.