Eagles guide to free agency: How will the Birds address areas of need? (George Iloka, Matt Forte, Jeff Allen)
With nearly $27 million in salary cap space, the Eagles will be big players when free agency starts.
After a shocking Tuesday that saw Howie Rosemancleanse the Eagles of Chip Kelly acquisitions Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso and DeMarco Murray, the team has quite a few new holes to fill.
With new draft choices expected to be announced as compensation for the Birds' recent dealings with the Dolphins and Titans, the Eagles will address a lot of their needs through the draft. But NFL free agency, which starts Wednesday at 4 p.m., will likely also be very busy for Philadelphia.
They got to an early start, signing Bills recent cut cornerback Leodis McKelvin to a two-year deal. The defenseman played under Jim Schwartz when he was coaching in Buffalo.
Here's a look at some positions of need and how the squad is most likely to act.
Already have: Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez,McLeod Bethel-Thompson
Need: A long term solution and backup if Sanchez is cut
Action: The Eagles are likely to draft a quarterback. Where and who will depend a lot on the return they receive for their recent dealings, but Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson have implied that the quarterback of the future could come from the class of 2016.
Already have: Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Kenjon Barner
Need: Depth, clear featured back
Action: The Eagles have two talented runners in Mathews and Sproles, but neither seem to be an every down back, the kind that will thrive in the Pederson offense. They could always stay put, but there are options on the free agent market like Matt Forte and Doug Martin. There are also intriguing draft prospects like Derrick Henry and Paul Perkins. This position is probably a bit lower on the priority list.
Already have: Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff
Need: Depth, veteran leadership
Action: The Birds could use a veteran presence in the wide receivers room, as well as a reliable, sure-handed option alongside the team's talented youngsters. While drafting a wideout is possible, the team could add from a relatively deep pool that includes Andre Johnson, Roddy White, AnquanBolden, Marques Colston and others.
Already have: Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Matt Tobin and others
Need: Youth, starting guards
Action: This is perhaps the biggest position of need and one the Eagles will address both in the draft and in free agency. Look for them to ink a guard when free agency begins, and also pick the best available o-lineman in April. The current group, aside from Johnson is getting older and lacks depth and there should be a lot of movement here.
Already have: Mychal Kendricks, Jordan Hicks
Need: Depth, replacement forAlonso
Action: The Eagles have enough starting talent to move Connor Barwin or Brandon Graham from defensive end back to outside linebacker (where they played in the 3-4) but will also likely add a veteran, middle-priced linebacker in free agency to replace Alonso.
Already have: Eric Rowe,E.J. Biggers, Leodis McKelvin
Action: In all likelihood they will try and bring back Nolan Carroll IIIbut competition will be fierce in this year's market. After recent experiences with Byron Maxwell and others, the Birds will be shy to offer any large contracts to premier free agents. They will be looking to add some depth behind McKelvin, who has 12 career interceptions in 60 starts.
Already have: Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Maragos,
Need: A starter opposite Jenkins
Action: The Eagles and Walter Thurmond have shown mutual interest to get a deal done, but nothing has happened yet. If he doesn't return, there has been a lot of interest in several other safety free agents like Tony Jefferson andGeorge Iloka. This will be a target position Wednesday.