Friday, December 26, 2014

Eagles, NFL free agency notes

On Tuesday, I wrote about how reverting to the old free agency rules could affect the Eagles this offseason.

Eagles, NFL free agency notes

Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw could be an unrestricted free agent. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw could be an unrestricted free agent. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

On Tuesday, I wrote about how reverting to the old free agency rules could affect the Eagles this offseason.

Most notably, if players are only required four years of service to become unrestricted free agents, Stewart Bradley, Jerome Harrison, Max Jean-Gilles, Dimitri Patterson and Sav Rocca would all fall into that category, and they'd be able to test the open market.

As I mentioned, I think the Eagles still believe Bradley can be a big part of their future, but at some point he needs to stay healthy and show he can compete at a high level.

Harrison proved to be a nice complement to LeSean McCoy last season, but he operated in a limited role. My guess is he'll want to start somewhere, especially considering he's 28 and this might be one of his final chances to do so.

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Jean-Gilles showed improvement in 2010, but would be returning strictly as a reserve (barring an injury to one of the starters).

Patterson got a chance to play last year, but considering that the Eagles have added cornerbacks in each of the last two drafts (Trevard Lindley and Curtis Marsh), he likely wouldn't have much of a role here. If he just wants to fight for a roster spot, though, we might not have seen the last of him.

And if I told you I knew what the market would be like for Rocca, I'd be lying. But I thought he had a pretty good season in 2010, and Football Outsiders had the Eagles punting unit ranked in the top third of the league.

Looking at the bigger picture, every other team will be in the same position as the Eagles. Here's a roundup of some links I've found useful, many focusing on the Birds' competition in the NFC East.

Let's start with the Cowboys, whose starting left tackle, Doug Free, would be poised to hit the open market under the new rules. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com, Jerry Jones and company hoped to pair first-round pick Tyron Smith on the other side of its offensive line with Free, but if Free leaves, the Cowboys will have some decisions to make.

Per MacMahon's article, the other Cowboys that would become free agents are defensive linemen Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher, along with special teams captain Sam Hurd.

One more not from MacMahon. He points out that while Nnamdi Asomugha might be interested in reuniting with new Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, Dallas already has $136.6M committed to the cap for next season, not including draft picks.

The Giants, meanwhile, have some key free agents on offense to re-sign. According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, wide receiver Steve Smith and tight end Kevin Boss will all hit the open market with four years of service.

Bradshaw ran for a career-high 1,235 yards last season, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, although the Eagles did a good job against him. In two games against the Birds, Bradshaw carried 31 times for 95 yards (3.06 yards per carry). In his career against the Eagles, Bradshaw has averaged 3.41 yards per carry. He turned 25 years old in March.

Smith, when he's not engaging in Tweet wars, is also a very good player, but is coming off a knee injury. In 2009, he caught 107 balls for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns. He turned 26 last month.

And finally, Boss had 35 catches for 531 yards in 2010. He averaged 15.2 yards per reception, third behind Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis, among tight ends with at least 25 grabs. He turned 27 in January.

Before the 2009 season, Eli Manning signed a big, seven-year deal. This offseason, it looks like the Giants will have to do some work to keep some key weapons around him.

Rich Tandler of CSN has a list of Redskins free agents, but it doesn't appear their potential losses are as significant as the other teams in the division.

And finally, Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post does a good job of breaking down the proposed deal, identifying certain aspects we should still keep an eye on. As he points out, nothing is final until both sides agree to all aspects of the deal.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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