by Mario Granata
Pederson, Reich and Schwartz, three names that seem more suited for a law firm, negotiated the Eagles to a 7-9 mark in 2016, and in all respects, started to build the foundation of winning in Philadelphia. The three gentlemen in question, coming from the Chiefs, Chargers and Bills, respectively, are all individuals who know what it is going to take to win in the NFL. They have just about stripped away all the remnants of the “Chip Kelly Experiment” and are moving forward.
Head Coach: Doug Pederson
Career Record: 7-9
Offensive Coordinator (Rank): Frank Reich
22nd YPG, 24th Pass, 11th Run
Defensive Coordinator (Rank): Jim Schwartz
13th YPG, 13th Pass, 15th Rush
All due respect to 7-9, the Eagles were not your “typical” 7-9 team. The Eagles were 5-4, but then went to go on a 5 game losing streak due to their inability to close out games. With experience, they will win at least 2 of those games. Schwartz is a large reason as to the turnaround of the team. The Eagles were abysmal prior to getting Schwartz, finishing in the 20’s or higher (32nd against the rush) in 2015, and they were in the teens in each category in 2016. They were also able to defeat their two division rivals to close out the year (Cowboys, Giants), which should serve to give them some momentum going into 2017.
As was stated on last years On the Clock: 2016 Philadelphia Eagles, the contract that deserves a second look would be Jason Peters. Because of the acumen of Schwartz and his ability to do more with less, much of the focus this off-season was on the offensive side of the ball. This leaves the Eagles with a mere 1.9 million dollars of cap room to work with. For those of you who are new to the On the Clock series, as it has been mentioned before, it takes roughly 10 million dollars to sign a whole draft class. So unless the Eagles are thinking of trading away more picks for lower rounds, they have to start clearing some room for the foreseeable future.
If the Eagles were really desperate, they could cut ties with Lane Johnson as well, designating him as a post-June 1st cut, saving 5.8 million.
Darren Sproles, who will be turning 34 prior to the 2017 season, would also save an additional 4 million if he were released. Wendell Smallwood showed enough last season that the Eagles can feel comfortable moving on.
In all, if they were to release Peters, Johnson and Sproles, the Eagles could clear up 20 million in savings, leaving the Eagles to sign their draft class, as well as get a cheaper replacement for Peters and Johnson. I don’t think that King Dunlap is doing anything and would run the Eagles around 6 million to sign him. Details of Peters contract are below:
As mentioned earlier the Eagles are about 2 million under the cap. Since this section is going to be short, lets take a look at an excerpt from this very section on last years article:
“Bradford has just as good a chance of being paid top dollar as Kanye West has does opening gofundme account. Oh wait.”
Well, that escalated quickly.
The last time the Eagles took a quarterback in the first round prior to last year was when Andy Reid, in his rookie season, took Donovan McNabb in 1999. They had a great run, and Philly fans hope that Pederson and Wentz follow a similar path.
Now the Eagles aren’t officially on the clock until the 14th slot due to their trade with Minnesota involving Sam Bradford (brilliant by the way) so they have a lot of options here.
The general consensus has the Eagles going with Reuben Foster, MLB, Alabama, Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State, or Tre’davious White, CB, LSU.
While these players would improve the team, there are just as many reasons for the Eagles NOT to draft these players, then they should.
Foster, is going to be a very successful player in the NFL, but he will do it on a team that is more desperate for a 4-3 MLB, than the Eagles are. Schwartz led a Bills defense that ranked in the Top 5 of multiple categories in 2014, and he did it without a 1st round pick at any of the linebacker positions. Plus, he has two 1st round picks at defensive tackle, eating up blocks, allowing players like Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, and Mychal Kendricks to roam free.
Okay, I am sure the Eagles fans would be more than happy to get the 2nd best secondary players from Ohio State or LSU with the 14th overall pick. While the Eagles could use some help in the secondary, its not like they are in immediate need. They have to face Eli Manning, Dak Prescott and Kirk Cousins. They could wait another year to take a player in the secondary.
If the scenario plays out that is listed above, with the Eagles releasing certain players and picking up Dunlap, they could draft the highest rated tackle in the draft with the 14th pick. They could take either Ryan Ramczyk, T, Wisconsin or Cam Robinson, T , Alabama. While Ramczyk seems like the better prospect at this time, it would be alluring to put Cam Robinson next to the newly acquired Chance Warmack to have a formidable side of the line #RollTIde.
So there is a reason why the Eagles are only 2 million under the cap: they went on a shopping spree. They brought Nick Foles back to Philadelphia, which could be a very interesting situation should Wentz struggle. The most popular guy in town is the backup quarterback, especially if that quarterback has familiarity with the city.
They added weapons on the outside in Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery to join Jordan Matthews. Last season, Wentz had an impressive 62% completion percentage for a rookie and with these three together, that number is sure to improve.
Chris Long takes the place of the recently departed Connor Barwin in Schwartz’s scheme. The front seven looks solid for the Eagles, and will have to be if they are to improve on their 15th ranked rush defense from last year.
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On the Clock: 2016 Philadelphia Eagles
On the Clock: 2015 Philadelphia Eagles