It’s a transitional period for the Philadelphia Eagles as they make major changes in the organization. It started with replacing their Super Bowl head coach, Doug Pederson, with Nick Sirianni. Sirianni’s coaching staff only has six coaches returning from the 2020 staff, as he brought in 17 new coaches. If that wasn’t enough, the Eagles then moved on from quarterback Carson Wentz, who became the franchise quarterback in 2019 when he signed a four-year, $128 million contract.
These might be the biggest moves, but there is still plenty of work to do. Here are eight moves the Eagles need to make this offseason.
- Bring back ERFA Alex Singleton and Greg Ward
The Eagles have three exclusive rights free agents, and they need to bring both back. Linebacker has been a weak spot for the Eagles, but Alex Singleton was a bright spot as he had 120 tackles, which was good enough for 16th in the NFL. He has played his way to stay, much like receiver Greg Ward.
Ward’s story is incredible, going from undrafted to the AAF, returning to the Eagles practice squad, and now being one of the main receivers for the birds. Ward led the team in receptions last year and will most likely be back next year.
Running back Boston Scott is the third ERFA, and it might be beneficial to bring him back, but he is not a must for the Eagles.
- Re-Sign Jalen Mills and Richard Rodgers
Out of all of the free agents the Eagles have this year, Jalen Mills and Richard Rodgers are two (in addition to Singleton and Ward) that the Eagles must bring back. “The Green Goblin” Jalen Mills moved from cornerback to safety this year after the departure of Malcolm Jenkins. However, after many injuries, Mills bounced around between safety and cornerback, which shows the versatility he brings. The Eagles secondary struggles to stay healthy, so bringing back Mills to fill multiples roles is critical.
I’ll get to the tight end situation shortly, but Rodgers is a solid backup for the birds. With the way the Eagles seem to be moving at the tight end position, Rodgers will get a bigger role this upcoming season if he returns. The Eagles have a lot of holes on their football team, but tight end isn’t one, unless they don’t bring back Rodgers.
- Trade Zach Ertz
This is a departure that will bring a lot of pain to Eagles fans, but one they all saw coming. After not reaching a contract extension, the Eagles will look to move on from Ertz and make the younger Dallas Goedert their starting tight end, who has shown he is more than capable.
According to Conor Myles, who covers the Eagles for Sports Illustrated, Ertz will ask for a release in March if the Eagles can’t work out a trade. The Eagles can’t afford to let the third best tight end in the game go without any compensation. I believe Ertz is worth a second round pick, but even if they can’t get that, the Eagles will have to take what they can get before they come away empty-handed.
- Draft CB Patrick Surtain II 6th overall
I know all Eagles fans are calling for general manager Howie Roseman to draft either Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith and get a playmaker at receiver. But the bigger need for the Eagles is in the defensive secondary. They have Darius Slay, but he’s 30; who knows how long he’ll play at a high level?
Surtain seems like a surefire bet to be a shutdown corner in the NFL, and he is also disciplined enough to not receive penalties. Drafting Surtain fixes the biggest weakness on the team with one move, and then the Eagles can just add depth at defensive back.
- Sign RG3
The Eagles need a backup quarterback, as it’s time to move on from Nate Sudfeld. They need someone who can mentor Jalen Hurts but also be a capable starter. Hurts has potential but still has a lot to show before he can be named the Eagles franchise quarterback.
It’s been reported that the Eagles also want a competition at the position at training camp. Jacoby Brissett is a perfect option for the Eagles, but he’ll be too expensive, so next up is Robert Griffin III. I see Hurts as more of a dual threat quarterback, rather than purely mobile, but obviously Hurts’ legs are a key part of his game. RG3, being the veteran mobile quarterback he is, will be able to help develop Hurts into that dual threat.
- Negotiate a cheaper contract with Derek Barnett
The Eagles are very restricted with what they can do this offseason, as they have one of the worst cap situations in the league. Derek Barnett is set to make $10 million this upcoming season on the fifth year of his rookie contract. He is an impact player on the Eagles defense, and if they can keep him around, they should—just not for $10 million.
- Release Malik Jackson
Another way to clear cap space is through the harsh way: cutting a player. Wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery have already been released or will be released. Defensive tackle Malik Jackson is probably next.
- Sign Rashard Higgins
The Eagles will most likely draft a couple of receivers, but they will need to sign a veteran at a low cost. Rashard Higgins isn’t a bad option, as he hauled in 37 receptions for 599 yards for the Browns. Most importantly, he did not drop a pass last year. According to Spotrac, the 26-year-old’s calculated market value is $6.1 million, which isn’t awful if they can get receivers on rookie deals.
These are some key transactions that I think the Eagles should make, and in no way should they be the only ones. The Eagles will need to find a second running back while also adding depth at numerous positions. It has already been a busy offseason for the Eagles and Roseman as they try to rebuild into a contender once again. If they are to be contenders soon, they will need to have a productive offseason, and these are some possible moves to make it productive.