Don’t worry Eagles fans, your 2012 season is finally over. The miserable regular season will be immediately followed up by one of the more exciting offseason in the franchise’s history. There will be a new head coach, top 5 picks in all seven rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft and plenty of cap flexibility with several veteran players that can be released with little or no cap penalties.
What will the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles look like? We really have no idea at this point. Losing your head coach will do that to you. At this point we don’t even know if the Eagles will run a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. The good news is the Eagles have cap flexibility, early draft picks, a solid GM in place and enough talent to attract quality coaches and free agents. The Eagles are going to be one of the more exciting teams to follow this offseason.
Here is a preview of the Eagles upcoming offseason:
For the first time since after the 1998 season, the Eagles are looking for a new head coach. Owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman will take their time trying to get the best candidate who can win right now. This is a roster that has enough talent to contend in 2013, but they need a coach that commands respect from day one. Reid lost that respect and all hell broke loose.
Chip Kelly, Mike McCoy, Dirk Koetter and Greg Roman are all major possibilities along with a surprise candidate or two. From what is expected around the Eagles camp, it sounds like Lurie will be hiring a coach with a offensive background. If that is the case, that coach could easily bring in a very experienced defensive coach to run that side of the ball such as Lovie Smith, Ray Horton, Romeo Crennel, Dick Jauron and possibly Ron Rivera.
The potential cap casualties for the Eagles is endless. From Jason Peters, Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson, Michael Vick, Nnamdi Asomugha and Jason Avant could all be in jeopardy of getting cut. Vick is scheduled to make $17.9 mil in 2013 with $7.2 mil in dead money if he is released ($10.7 mil in savings on cap). Nnamdi is scheduled to make $15 mil with $4 mil in dead money. Jenkins is scheduled to make $5.5 mil with a little over a $1 mil in dead money while Peters and Patterson will not cost any money to release. Avant will make $2.7 mil with about half that guaranteed.
The Eagles are all but assured to released Demetress Bell who was signed on to a deal last spring that made it pain free to release him after one season if they desired so.
More than likely Vick and Asomugha will be released as well along with either(or both) Patterson or Jenkins getting cut as well. Vick, Asomugha, Bell and Patterson being released would save the Eagles around $36 million this offseason. Currently the Eagles would be about $17 million over the salary cap. That would give them around $19 million in cap space with the potential to restructure the contracts of Jason Peters and maybe DeMeco Ryans if they so choose to.
The Eagles will need to decide if they want to re-sign cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromarite or if they want to completely rebuild the secondary. The first year of Rodgers-Cromartie’s new deal could be anywhere from $4-7 million.
The only other player whose contract is up that the Eagles would be likely to bring back would be Akeem Jordan. Jordan is a special teams ace who can step in at either outside linebacker spot. He likely returns for a pretty fair deal.
The more veterans like Jenkins and Peters that the Eagles release, the more money they will have for free agency. The question will be do the Eagles want to go after any big name free agents. Those players are still pretty unknown with a NFL team’s ability to use the franchise tag when a new deal can’t be reached after the contract is up. The Eagles biggest needs heading into free agency will be strong safety, strong side linebacker, offensive line, defensive tackle, cornerback and quarterback. The role and type of player the Eagles will need at each of those portions is still very much up in the air.
2013 NFL Draft
The Eagles will have the fourth overall pick in next April’s draft. Based on what Howie Roseman did with the 2012 draft, there is a very good chance he could come out of the draft with 8 solid prospects(2 picks in the 7th round). The Eagles are currently projected to draft Geno Smith, Luke Joeckler and Star Lotulelei by most mock drafts at this point.
More than likely the Eagles will come out of the draft with at least one bigger wide receiver, a run stuffing defensive tackle, a guard, a tackle, a outside linebacker and a safety.