Key additions: WR Marquise Goodwin, *WR Jalen Reagor, *QB Jalen Hurts, *WR John Hightower, *WR Quez Watkins (*draft pick)
Key departures: LT Jason Peters, WR Nelson Agholor, RB Jordan Howard, LT Halapoulivaati Vaitai
For the most part, the Eagles focused their time this offseason on the defensive side of the ball. There were no major additions through free agency for Doug Pederson’s offense. Although, there were some key departures from the team during free agency, but Howie added several weapons for Doug and Carson Wentz during draft weekend to help mitigate some of those losses. Here’s how the Eagles grade out for their offseason moves on offense.
Offensive Line: B- (B+ if Peters comes back)
Out: LT Jason Peters, LT Halapoulivaati Vaitai
In: OG Jack Driscoll, OT Prince Tega Wanogho
The rumors surrounding Jason Peters coming back to Philly grow louder by the day, and it’s starting to feel like a foregone conclusion at this point. So he probably won’t even count as a loss, but as of this moment, he has to be included as a departure.
Although Peters is clearly not the left tackle he used to be, he’s still pretty solid in his pass sets. He looked pretty quick in the recent workout video that surfaced.
Ideally, Andre Dillard would be ready to step in as the starting left tackle for this team, but based off his performance in his limited playing time as a rookie, he’s just not there yet. Bringing Peters back feel more like a need than a luxury at this point.
The Eagles lost a solid depth piece when Big V left for Detroit, but they were able to mitigate that loss with two rookie offensive lineman, guard Jack Driscoll and tackle Prince Tega Wanogho.
The Eagles offensive line has been one of the best in the league since Doug Pederson became the head coach, and with JP probably back in the fold, they should still be one of the better units in the NFL next season.
Out: WR Nelson Agholor, TE Richard Rodgers
In: WR Jalen Reagor, WR Marquies Goodwin, WR John Hightower, WR Quez Watkins
The Eagles waited until draft weekend to add offensive weaponry, injecting a surplus of speed into this aging wide receiving unit. Not only did Howie draft three speedsters at the wide receiver position (Reagor, Hightower and Watkins), he also traded for former Niners wideout Marquise Goodwin, who also has 4.3 speed.
Letting Agholor walk was bound to happen; I don’t think any Eagles fan is really bent over that departure, especially after Howie acquired four WRs to replace him. Richard Rodgers also left town, but there’s a chance he could come back on another one-year deal to be the third tight end, or maybe the team goes after the passer of the Philly Special, Trey Burton, since he’s on the open market. Regardless, the team is already set at tight end with Ertz and Goedert.
The Eagles clearly lacked speed on offense last season, but there’s no shot that will be a concern again this time around. Fans have voiced their displeasure with the Reagor selection ever since draft night, mostly because they valued LSU’s Justin Jefferson more.
Jefferson is a good receiver, there’s no denying that, but Reagor fits in the Eagles offense better and provides the speed they so desperately needed last season. Having solid deep threats in DeSean Jackson and Reagor should open up the entire offense and allow Wentz to thrive.
We all saw how prolific the offense looked in the one game they had a legit deep threat last season. Expect that to be the norm next season with all the speed at Pederson’s disposal.
Running Back: C (B if they sign Carlos Hyde)
Out: Jordan Howard
In: Corey Clement (Re-signed for a one-year deal), Michael Warren (undrafted free agent)
The Eagles didn’t do much for their running back position this offseason. They let Jordan Howard walk and join the Miami Dolphins in free agency, they released Corey Clement only to bring him back on a one-year deal and they picked up undrafted free agent Michael Warren out of Cincinnati.
Despite making no substantial moves to add to the position, the natural progression of Miles Sanders and Boston Scott, both of whom are 25 years old or younger, makes this backfield formidable. If Clement can come in and stay healthy, he’ll be a nice change of pace from Sanders and Scott, and he could even be a solid receiving option out of the backfield in passing situations.
The potential for this backfield to take off in 2020 is certainly there, but it still feels like they’ll add a veteran presence to the group, and reports have suggested this as well.
One name that’s floated around a lot recently is Carlos Hyde. If he joined the squad, he’d arguably be the best all around back on the roster. Although, I doubt he’d take that many touches away from Sanders.
Hyde’s coming off his best rushing year as a pro, and even though he’s 30 years old, the Eagles obviously wouldn’t rely on him as their featured back. His skill set would mesh well with what the Eagles already have in the backfield.
Add Hyde, and this backfield unquestionably improved this offseason. But as of right now, it’s hard to say they actually ‘improved’ at the position.
Out: Josh McCown
In: Nate Sudfeld (re-signed for a one-year deal), Jalen Hurts
It’s pretty funny listening to fans try and defend the Jalen Hurts pick in this year’s NFL Draft. There’s an obvious counterpoint to every argument made for Hurts and the people who adamantly argue on behalf of Hurts tend to just run in circles.
Here’s the thing, I totally agree in the value of having an adequate backup quarterback. I think most Eagles fans do. But trying to justify using a second round pick on an unproven rookie whose best pro comparison is Tim Tebow just doesn’t make sense. Especially when you consider how much cap space the team has and the handful of solid backups who were on the open market this offseason.
Hurts isn’t good enough to be the backup, it’s just the reality of the situation. If Wentz gets hurt again, it’ll be Sudfeld entering the game, not Hurts. Unless Hurts develops quicker than anyone expects, he won’t even be ready to hold the clipboard for Carson until his second or third year, and by that point the team will ideally be trying to flip him for draft capital.
I wasn’t a fan of the pick when it happened and I’m not a fan of it now. I would have much rather given Jameis Winston or Andy Dalton a chance as the backup. With them at least you’d have a fighting chance if Wentz goes down for an extended period of time.
I could go on about the Hurts pick all day, but all in all, the Eagles didn’t improve at the quarterback position this offseason. They still have an elite talent in Wentz, but they failed in finding a solid backup for him. I really do hope Hurts turns out to be a worthy investment, but I just don’t see it at this point.