The Eagles watched six players from the 2017 roster sign elsewhere. Nine are still on the open market. Here’s an update:
LeGarrette Blount, RB: The Eagles’ leading rusher landed with the Detroit Lions on a one-year, $4.5-million contract. Blount had a strong season with the Eagles and the league noticed — he lasted two months on the open market last offseason and two days this offseason. Blount will likely have a notable role for the Lions, who are coached by former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Patricia knows Blount from their time in New England.
The Eagles have Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement atop their running-back depth chart. Look for them to also draft a running back. The Eagles are bullish on this running-back draft class.
Vinny Curry, DE: Curry signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, landing a three-year, $27 million deal one day after the Eagles released him. That shows how much Curry was valued in the NFL. The Eagles moved on from him to save money, but Curry landed in a defense in which he’ll start and play a key role.
Derek Barnett is likely to step into a starting job and veteran Michael Bennett will also factor into the defensive-end rotation after coming in a trade from Seattle.
Beau Allen, DT: Allen will remain teammates with Curry because Allen signed a three-year, $15 million deal in Tampa Bay when free agency opened last week. Allen should have a chance to start next to Gerald McCoy. He received a bigger deal than the Eagles would likely spend on a third defensive tackle.
The Eagles signed veteran Haloti Ngata to replace Allen.
Trey Burton, TE: Burton was a priority signing by the Chicago Bears, who gave him a four-year, $32 million contract to be their starting tight end. Burton had a situational role for the Eagles, but he’ll have big responsibilities in trying to jump-start the Bears offense.
The Eagles lost Burton and Brent Celek this offseason, so they’ll need to reshape their tight-end depth chart. They will look hard in the draft, where they haven’t selected a tight end since 2013, although they could also go value shopping for a veteran.
Patrick Robinson, CB: The Eagles could not keep Robinson, who turned a one-year deal with the Eagles into a four-year, $20 million contract in New Orleans. He has spent the past three years on one-year contracts, so Robinson finally earned the long-term deal he wanted.
The Eagles have depth at cornerback, yet those corners are unproven in the slot. The Eagles will spend the offseason trying to determine which cornerback can replace Robinson. It might be Jalen Mills, who could play outside in the base defense and inside in the nickel.
Caleb Sturgis, K: Sturgis’ 2017 season ended with a Week 1 injury, but his impressive 2016 season with the Eagles was enough to land him a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Sturgis was expendable because Jake Elliott had earned the Eagles’ kicker job after replacing Sturgis in Week 2.
Still free agents
Brent Celek, TE: The Eagles released Celek after 11 seasons to save $4 million in salary-cap space. Celek said he wants to continue playing, and the 33-year old appears to be searching for an opportunity.
Darren Sproles, RB: Sproles is coming off a torn ACL and will be 35 next season. He has been one of the NFL’s most versatile players since entering the league and doesn’t want his career to end on IR. Sproles lives in Southern California and could seek a job closer to his offseason home. The Eagles could do worse than bringing him back, although Clement appears in line for the third-down responsibilities.
Corey Graham, S: The Eagles didn’t sign Graham until August. He played well as the Eagles’ third safety, but they could look for a younger option in 2018. If they strike out finding one, Graham knows the defense.
Najee Goode, LB: Goode played on a one-year deal last season and has been with the Eagles since 2013. The team knows him and he has helped on special teams, but the addition of Corey Nelson last week might have pushed Goode out of a roster spot.
Kenjon Barner, RB: The Eagles didn’t bring Barner back in free agency last offseason and added him after Sproles went down during the season. The Eagles will likely look to add a returner in the draft.
Dannell Ellerbe, LB: Ellerbe signed as a veteran middle linebacker after Jordan Hicks’ injury. With Hicks back in 2018, Ellerbe likely won’t be.
Bryan Braman, LB: Braman was an in-season special-teams replacement for Chris Maragos. Similar to Barner, the Eagles didn’t keep Braman last offseason. They want to focus on special teams, but they could look elsewhere to do so.
Will Beatty, T: Beatty earned a Super Bowl ring, but that will likely be the end of his Eagles career. Jason Peters will take back his roster spot, and the Eagles could add a tackle in the draft.
Jaylen Watkins, DB: It was not surprising that the Eagles didn’t tender Watkins as a restricted free agent. Watkins can look elsewhere, and the Eagles can always leave open the possibility of bringing him back on a team-friendly deal.