NFL free agency officially began yesterday Wednesday, March 13 at 4:00p.m., but since the legal tampering period began on March 11, the Eagles have made many moves in pursuit of a Super Bowl run again this year. Howie Roseman has again created cap space and the Eagles are expected to be relatively active this offseason.
The Eagles started off by officially announcing the Michael Bennett trade to the Patriots. In return for Bennett and a 2020 seventh-round pick, the Eagles received a 2020 fifth-round pick. This is extremely unfortunate, but it had to be done. Though Bennett was second on the team in sacks last season with nine, the Eagles could not pay him what he wanted.
Michael Bennet went on NFL Network and said “I’m not willing to take a pay cut. I actually want a pay raise at this point.” Knowing he could not pay him, Roseman knew he had to let him go, despite the production he gave the Eagles. It would be irresponsible for a GM who is already in salary cap hell to give a raise to a 33-year-old player who is already due to be paid $7.2 million this year and $8 million next year.
Another big move the Eagles made so far this offseason was signing the Jacksons – DeSean and Malik. Malik Jackson, veteran defensive tackle, signed with the Birds for three years. Malik Jackson played only 61% of snaps in Jacksonville last season, as it was determined, he was not playing well enough against the run. Playing next to Fletcher Cox this year, who is bound to get double-teamed nearly every play, could help Jackson produce more efficiently. He will see a ton of 1-on-1 matchups this season and the Eagles will certainly hope he capitalizes on it with his pass-rush ability. Jackson has 32.5 career sacks and eight in 2017.
Eagles fans, myself included, are most excited about the return of DeSean Jackson was traded back to Philadelphia along with a 2020 seventh-round pick, for a 2019 sixth-round pick. The eagles signed D-Jax to a three-year deal. In his previous tenure with Philadelphia, Jackson was a three-time Pro Bowler through six seasons. It was at that point that Chip Kelly, the worst coach ever allowed in Philadelphia, elected to release him.
Fans are excited to see No. 10 (Mack Hollins agreed to give him his old number back) have an explosive deep threat to pair with Carson Wentz. In his career, the 32-year-old has 589 catches for 10,261 yards, averaging 17.4 yards per catch, and 53 touchdowns. Jackson will join the receiving crew of Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffrey, and Nelson Agholor, who now officially has a spot back with the team this coming season.
With DeSean Jackson returning, there is no more room for Golden Tate so the Eagles recently released Tate, who signed a four year deal with the New York Giants (though he is not quite OBJ.) The Eagles are also expected to lose Jordan Hicks to the Arizona Cardinals while Jay Ajayi is set to interview with the Indianapolis Colts.
The one thing the Eagles must focus on this free agency is the running back position. Now with Le’Veon Bell to the Jets, Mark Ingram to the Ravens, and Tevin Coleman to the 49ers, options are getting limited. Cross your fingers for Jordan Howard, Eagles fans. In Howie we trust…