Image courtesy Fansided.com
The NFL free agency “tampering” period is set to begin on March 7. At midnight, teams are allowed to begin discussing contracts with free agents, but are not allowed to sign those players until March 10.
On Tuesday, the Birds cleared a whooping $31.75 million dollars in cap space with the trade of running back LeSean McCoy and the releases of cornerback Cary Williams and outside linebacker/defensive end Trent Cole. In the McCoy trade, the Birds took back a paltry $1.172 million onto the salary cap. With those moves, the Eagles are more than $45 million under the cap.
Heading into the offseason, many pundits assumed the Eagles would need to prioritize defense. With Tuesdays moves, the Eagles will be able to make almost any move they want in free agency, but just what exactly does Chip Kelly want to do?
With rumors swirling and names such as Byron Maxwell, Mark Ingram, and Jason Worilds all free to sign, let’s look at what rumors may or may not be true.
Marcus Mariota: Let’s just start here. Mariota obviously is not a free agent, but his is the apple in Chip Kelly’s eye. It is widely rumored and reported that Kelly and his Eagles will attempt to trade up for the Oregon quarterback. Everything in the offseason will revolve around Kelly getting his man. If the Eagles believe they can land the golden duck, then expect the Eagles to be players in free agency.
Jake Locker: The Eagles should have interest in the former Tennessee Titans starter. Locker, an oft-injured, but mobile game manager could be Kelly’s next reclamation project if Mark Sanchez departs via free agency.
Mark Ingram: Kelly likes his north-south runners, and that’s what Ingram is. There is little razzle-dazzle in the former Alabama running back. What connects Ingram to the Eagles? Two things, actually. One of which is his connection with VP of player personnel Ed Marynowitz from their Crimson Tide days. The other being that Ingram is a local kid, hailing from Hackensack, New Jersey. Oh, and this too…
CJ Spiller: Last year, before acquiring Darren Sproles, the Eagles attempted to land the former Buffalo running back, according to a report from CSNPhilly’s Geoff Mosher. So, one year later, with the Eagles searching for a bellcow running back, what would make the Eagles interest feign? Despite Spiller’s history of injury, he could thrive in Kelly’s spread offense…so long as the price is right.
Jason Worilds: The Eagles are in need of depth at OLB with the impending departure of Brandon Graham and the release of Trent Cole. Bleeding Green Nation picked up on an Adam Caplan tweet from a 2014 preseason game indicting that Worilds would have signed with the Eagles had he not been given the transition tag by the Steelers. Like in the case of Spiller, if the Eagles entertained the thought of acquiring the player a year ago, why not go after that player when they are free.
Byron Maxwell: While Darrelle Revis is the top CB on the market, the most popular will certainly be the former Seahawk. Maxwell has been linked to the Eagles since the playoffs. The Birds are in dire need of at least one starting caliber cornerback, and with their massive amount cap space, can afford to overpay for the second best corner on the market.
Chris Culliver: The former San Francisco cornerback will be a hot name when free agency begins. He attended South Carolina, but is a local kid, growing up in Philadelphia. Culliver, who missed the 2013 season with a torn ACL, returned in 2014 finished the year with 45 tackles and four interceptions.
Devin McCourty: It was an interesting decision that New England chose not to designate McCourty with their franchise tag. The 6th year safety from Rutgers is the kind of athlete that Chip Kelly loves. McCourty, a cornerback turned safety, is amongst the best in the business, and could create a superior tandem with incumbent Malcolm Jenkins.
Rahim Moore: If one were to connect the dots, Moore would appear to be the best, and most likely fit in Philadelphia. The Eagles signed former Denver coach Cory Undlin to handle defensive back coaching duties. Moore, unlikely to re-sign with the Broncos due to salary cap reasons, could be a nice fit in Philadelphia, after finishing last season with 49 tackles and four interceptions.