The Philadelphia Eagles got off to a roaring start in free agency by signing two big name wide outs and a former first round pick at guard. The Eagles came into the offseason with three goals- upgrade the corner position, get Carson Wentz some weapons on the outside and get more physical interior offensive linemen.
The Eagles did just that with absolutely no risk past 2017 which is unheard of in free agency. That’s right, the Eagles signed three players to one year prove-it contracts, similar to what they did with Jeremy Maclin after he tore his knee in 2013.
A quick breakdown of the Eagles three moves on the first day of free agency:
Jeffery wanted elite wide receiver money. After a down year that included a four game suspension for PEDs he wasn’t going to get it. So instead of taking less money than he thinks on a long-term deal, he took an expensive one year deal that can set him up for a bigger long-term deal after the 2017 season if he performs well.
This is a great move by the Eagles, no matter how you look at it. He’s going to be highly motivated, not that he hasn’t been in the past, but he’s playing for the contract to set up the rest of his career. If he gets hurt, has another PED suspension or just doesn’t play well the Eagles don’t owe him a dime after the season.
Torrey Smith as your number one wideout is risky. He’s not overly physical and isn’t a reliable third down receiver. He’s a deep threat and separation guy. If you pair him with another good receiver he will make plays like he did in Baltimore. If you put him as the sole receiving threat in the offense, he will struggle like he did in San Francisco.
Smith signed a 3 year, $15 million deal with just $500k guaranteed with an team option to keep him after year one and two. If he looks slow or uninterested at camp, he’s gone and they can use the money that would have gone to him to sign his replacement if need be.
Smith’s speed can have a DeSean like impact at half the cost and none of the risks. This is the best contract anyone has signed so far in free agency. He’s not the best free agent acquisition, but the value and minimal risk is pretty rare for a 28 year old wide out who has averaged 50 yards per game for his career.
Watmack was the 10th overall pick in the 2013 draft who started out pretty well in Tennessee. Injuries and a new scheme slowed him down a little bit and they decided not to take on his 5th year option. He hasn’t proven that he is a high caliber NFL guard just yet, but at the very least he is a solid backup.
Warmack signed a one year, $1.3 million deal with the Eagles for what most people believe is less money and years than he could have taken elsewhere. A big reason for that is the Eagles offensive line coach and former Alabama OL coach(when Warmack played there) Jeff Stoutland.
He will compete for the left guard spot along with Allen Barbre(if he’s still here) and Isaac Seumalo.
The Eagles also re-signed two depth players in center/guard Stefen Wisniewski to a three year, $8 million contract and linebacker Najee Goode to a one year, $875k deal.
With all the Eagles move so far this offseason, you can bet cornerback will be the focus on the draft while running back, defensive end and defensive tackle will also be addressed. Taking care of wide receiver and the offensive line in free agency gives them a lot of freedom in the draft. They still have to take a cornerback pretty early(which based on the strength of this draft clss would have happened regardless), but they have way more flexibility than what they had a week ago. I’ll break down the exact draft needs of the Eagles and start looking at specific targets once the dust settles from free agency.