With the Philadelphia Eagles, becoming an up and coming team last season, it is quite certain that this off season will be very important to hopefully make a couple more transactions that can contribute to the success they already have shown. The Eagles are now one of the top teams in the NFC and made the playoffs for the first time since 2010. With them having such a young, talented group of guys this off-season will be very vital to whether or not they take the next step for the future. What exactly should they do this off-season?
With a $17 million cap rollover from last year, the Eagles have given themselves a nice buffer in which to sign a defensive back or a linebacker to bolster the defense, but they also have a full set of draft picks with which to address those weak spots. Philadelphia has a few defensive stars in linebacker DeMeko Ryans, Trent Cole, and Connor Barwin. Last season the Eagles gave up 6,307 yards, which was the fourth most in the league.
Philadelphia, had the worst passing defense in the league giving up 4,636 yards, which was the highest in the NFL. The rushing defense on the other hand was ranked the 10th best defense.
Looking at the free agents that are available at the defensive back position a couple names catch your attention, including: Safety Jairus Byrd, and cornerback Alterraun Verner. Those guys being the top two secondary free agents will draw a ton of interest from other teams. Which may make it more difficult to land Byrd and Verner. Other names that are available are cornerback Aqib Talib, safety T.J. Ward, cornerback Brent Grimes, and cornerback Vontae Davis, who can also play some safety. If the Eagles can land at least one of these big name defensive backs the pass defense will improve significantly.
Steal Brian Orakpo From Rival Washington Redskins
If they could pull off the steal of a lifetime and sign Brian Orakpo and take him from NFC East division rival Washington Redskins that would be a huge win. The signing would take away a division rival's best defensive playmaker and add to their own rush defense which is already top 10. Orakpo is a three-time Pro Bowler and prototypical 3-4 edge rusher, which fits the Philadelphia's defensive scheme perfectly. Orakpo is still in his prime at age 27 and he shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. Many football writers don't expect him to hit the open market, but if the right amount of money and the right systems approaches him with an offer he may not refuse.
Bring In More Weapons For Foles
Obviously, we all know Nick Foles emerged onto the scene as a top NFL quarterback. When he tied the record for most touchdowns in a game, (7), everyone knew this guy was "for real". LeSean McCoy because the NFL's leading rusher last season to go along with the great season from Foles.
In the NFC Wildcard Matchup against the New Orleans Saints the team fell short. They have very little room for improvement offensively to keep up with the other teams in the conference. If Philadelphia can bring in some more weapons for Foles to throw to. Maclin's status with the team is still uncertain, so if he does leave, a guy like Eric Decker will draw internet from the team. The draft would be good to fill this need as well since this year's draft is filled with great wide receiver prospects. The way the offense looks under Chip Kelly's fast offensive system was a tremendous success in 2013 and they hope to continue that success for years to come.
What They've done This Off-season Already
Wednesday, the Eagles announced they signed potential Hall of Fame left tackle Jason Peters to what looks like a team-friendly four-year extension. On the surface, that seems to be a hefty deal, lengthwise, for a 32-year-old, but the reality is that Peters will essentially be guaranteed a fair salary of approximately $10 million each of the next two years before the team gets to decide his fate in 2016.
On Thursday, the team confirmed that two more crucial offensive weapons, including wide receiver Riley Cooper and center Jason Kelce, both of whom are 26 years old and coming off breakout seasons have received contract extensions.
According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, Cooper will receive $10 million in guaranteed money. The first two years of his five-year, $25 million contract is set in stone, which is similar to the Peters' situation.
This Off-season could make or break the Eagles future success in the league. They currently possess the best offensive line in the NFL, a young up and coming star quarterback in Foles, one of the best running backs in the league in McCoy, Jackson and Cooper as weapons on offense, and a top 10 ranked rush defense. If they can bring in a few talents to simply make a difference and contribute early, they could possibly end up being one of the teams in the NFL.
Written By Dedrick Hendrix
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