What a wild couple days for Eagles fans. Discount LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin jerseys will soon be a dime a dozen, and a revitalized and revamped roster will bring with it confusion and mixed opinions over Chip Kelly and his general managing.
Here are four things to think about as free agency begins (officially) in less than 24 hours.
QB controversy starts to brew
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As far as quarterbacks go, there appears to be only one certainty for the Eagles moving forward — Mark Sanchez will be on the squad in 2015.
It was announced late Sunday that Sanchez, a 28-year-old veteran who completed a team record 64 percent of his passes for 2,418 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2014, signed a two year deal worth up to $16 million. Just $5.5 million is guaranteed.
So what does this mean? Well, he would be a well-qualified mentor and tutor for Marcus Mariota, should the Eagles move up and draft him. And it also puts Nick Foles on trade watch. The Jets, at No. 6 could be a trade partner for the Birds if Mariota is still on the board. With their recent acquisition of Brandon Marshall, Foles could be their perfect signal caller to compete right away.
However, Foles could still return to give the Eagles the same depth they had last year. Stay tuned.
Kelly made Maclin, McCoy, Jackson better
All over twitter this weekend, Eagles and NFL fans pondered, and some mourned the loss of the final dynamic Eagles weapon from the Andy Reid era.
Jeremy Maclin showed it was all about the money, spurning the Eagles and their $9 million offer for $11 million and a reunion with Reid in Kansas City.
So now Maclin, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson (a year ago) have all left after a career year in Philly. This begs the question: how much did the Chip Kelly system inflate the performances of those three superstars?
Maclin was second-fiddle to Jackson from 2009-2012, but his production jumped from career highs of 122 catches and 964 yards to 144 for 1,318 under Kelly in 2013. And it could have been even more if Nick Foles, who cited Maclin as a favorite target, didn’t get hurt.
McCoy, similarly, gained a ridiculous 43 percent of career yardage during the last two years, with the other 57 percent came during the four seasons from 2009-2012.
Jackson also jumped from a high of 1,156 yards pre-Kelly to 1,332 under Kelly, to 1,169 post-Kelly.
While it’s certainly arguable, perhaps it’s the system that prevails. Kelly might just know what he’s doing after all.
It’s all about the money
Lets take a look at the LeSean McCoy-for-Kiko Alonso trade in a different way. LeSean McCoy will make a bunch of money with the Bills, up to $16 million this upcoming season. The Eagles got salary relief that exceeded the $7.5 million they opened up via the trade, while also acquiring a stud linebacker in Alonso, who will make just over half a million this season, and a similar salary over the next three seasons.
For $7.5 million split over two seasons, the Eagles will sign Frank Gore, who has gained over 1,000 yards in eight of the last nine seasons. They’re also left with at least $6 million, if not more, to play with at running back or other positions after McCoy’s departure.
Not a bad haul.
Needs are being addressed
The consensus weak spot from the 2014 Eagles was cornerback, and the Birds went out and got the best one available in Byron Maxwell.
Entering his prime at 27-years-old, Maxwell has impressive size and is a playmaker. With the best defense in the NFL in Seattle, Maxwell six interceptions, 24 pass breakups and two forced fumbles in 29 games in 2013 and 2014. At worst, he fills a need and replaces the train wreck that was Bradley Fletcher. At best, he’s the shutdown corner of the future.