A contract season can be very crucial for an NFL Player. It brings on a lot of stress that could either make-or-break their season, and ultimately their career.
As of now, a total of 12 players on the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster are in their final year with the team. Let’s take a deep look into those 12 players and see which ones have the best shot at getting that new contract in Philly.
On only a one-year contract, Trent Edwards is a lone bird in Philadelphia. This offseason, not only will be fighting for a position at quarterback, but he’ll also be competing just to make the team. With Mike Kafka and rookie quarterback Nick Foles with the upper-hand at a backup being Mike Vick, the odds of the Eagles keeping this fourth QB is very slim. However, if things go Edwards’ way and he makes the team, then this will be the contract year for him. Honestly, this one is a no-brainer. Edwards will not get his wish and will most likely be homeless yet again in 2013.
The Eagles have 13 men playing on the defensive line in 2012. A player at this position in the City of Brotherly Love will be under a lot of pressure to perform, especially when the level of talent is so high. What will the Eagles do? Next year, the starting four will most likely be Trent Cole, Fletcher Cox, Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin. Landri plays on the inside, so being strong and powerful on the snap will earn him some credit. His playing time will be limited, but he knows he needs to make the best of every chance he gets. And that’s what makes Landri such a great player. Landri is one guy that will never awe you with his skills, but you can bet every single play, he will give it 110%. Given the final 53-man roster predictions, Landri makes the team and will need to go all out in 2012. He has always been a reliable player, and reliability on defense is something any team can benefit from.
Akeem Jordan has been a part of the Eagles for the last five seasons, but has always been in the shadows and never made much of an impact. With the revamped linebacker group in Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans and Brian Rolle, Jordan will make the team in 2012 but will need to shine coming off the bench. The Eagles have struggled over the past couple of seasons to form a solid linebacking corps, and Jordan was apart of the failure. I’m not pointing any fingers, but Jordan never really made any highlights. With the Eagles defense looking to be headed in the right direction in 2012, Jordan will need to make that extra tackle when his number is called if he wants to continue playing NFL football.
Much like the situation of Derek Landi, Antonio Dixon is a solid guy to backup at the defensive tackle position. Dixon missed the majority of last season with a torn triceps and he may have to battle back to prove that he still has what it takes to keep playing. If Dixon does prove he has fully recovered and does make the team, he still has four guys ahead of him at his position. When it comes to contract time at the end of next season, I think the Eagles will select either Dixon or Landri to bring back. Keep an eye out to see who has the upper hand.
With Jason Peters on the sideline in 2012 and potential for the rest of his career, I think King Dunlap will finally have his chance to shine. Dunlap is an absolute monster, standing at 6′ 8″ and towers over his opponents. However, newly acquired Demetress Bell will take that No.1 slot and will have most of the playing time. If Bell goes down- and he has been injury prone the last three seasons- the Dunlap will take over. With all the recent injuries at the offensive line in Philly, Dunlap knows this may be his year. I’ve always been a fan of the giant, and I think the Eagles will give him that extra year or two.
The casual fan may not recognize this name, but any die-hard Eagles addict knows what Colt Anderson brings to the Eagles. Colt Anderson is a safety, but makes his impact on special teams. The Eagles allowed zero punt and kick returns in 2011, and a large part of that is because of Colt. However, last season, Anderson ended his season early with a ACL injury. If he returns fully healthy next year, the Eagles will know they need him on the team. Like I said, he may not bring it at the safety position, but special teams are an important part of the game as well.
Again, much like teammate Akeem Jordan, Moise Fokou is in his final year with the Eagles. He too has been apart of that mediocre linebacking group for the past couple years and never made a splash. Honestly, Fokou is the most average player on the team. He’s not good, but he’s not bad…he’s Fokou. Whether the Eagles bring him back in 2012 depends on how he does off the bench next season, and the fight will be between himself and Jordan. Battle of the positions, yet again.
Now in his sixth year with the Eagles, Hanson will be the backup cornerback yet again this offseason. I say “offseason” because whether he makes the team or not is to be seen. Nnamdi Asomuga and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will be the starters with Curtis Marsh and Brandon Boykin behind them. If the Eagles do want a fifth option, Hanson may be that man. The Eagles signed Hanson last year to the practice squad and made a few appearances during the season. His time as a Bird may be coming to an end, especially if Boykin makes an impact at the slot position.
At the lonely fullback position, the one and only Stanley Havili is in his final year. Who is this Havili? Well, no one really knows, as he does not get much attention as a blocker for LeSean McCoy. The Eagles seem to have a new fullback every year, with Weaver and Schmitt leaving back to back. Fullback is a position that is seemingly useless in the NFL, so if Havili makes the team, big whoop. (Sorry Stan, if you read this)
I should’ve included him in the Hanson section, because this is another cornerback with a slim to none chance of making the team again. If he does and the Eagles keep more than a few corners, just in case, then Hughes will not be returning in 2013. Regardless of whether this is a contract year, he most likely will not even get the chance to prove himself.
What do you know, another defensive tackle. When I said 13 players on the d-line, I meant it. Darryl Tapp is a guy that will only make a few appearances during the game and is really only good for a series or two. Behind Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Phillip Hunt, and Brandon Graham, Tapp will need to have some sacks piled up on his record sheets if he wants to return in 2013.
Another player many people have not heard of is Jon Dorenbos. Who is he you ask? Well, you certainly won’t hear his name being called for making a great play, because Jon is that guy hiking the ball on punts…the longsnapper. During his tenure with the Eagles, he has never really snapped a ball that the punter had to chase after. Will he return after this season? Sure! As a matter of face, unless the Eagles find someone capable of being better at longsnapper, I expect him to be here for a while.
DRC for short, Dominique will start at cornerback as the 2012 season opens. Last year, DRC was mainly the slot corner behind Asomugha and Asante Samuel. Now that Samuel is in Atlanta as a Dirty Bird, DRC can finally have his chance to shine and do what he did back in Arizona. Still at a fairly young age, DRC may be the man of the future at this position in Philly. I do expect the Eagles to re-sign him after next year and with a boat load of money on the line, DRC best have a great season.