Now that the Carson Wentz trade is behind us, it’s time for the Eagles to shift their attention to the needs facing them this offseason. Obviously, the team needs to figure out who their starting quarterback will be come Week 1. Whether that’s Jalen Hurts or someone they draft at No. 6 overall, that will be the first order of business once the new league year starts.
But aside from quarterback, the Eagles still have a plethora of holes they need to address this offseason. Given their dire cap situation, Howie Roseman won’t be able to completely re-make this team in one offseason.
That is, unless he hits on every single draft pick this year. But we all know that’s not going to happen.
It would make sense for the front office to narrow down their most glaring needs and work to address those first. In the spirit of telling the Eagles organization how to do their jobs (because I’m a fan and that’s just what I do), here are the top-3 biggest needs facing this team heading into the offseason.
Simply put, the Eagles don’t have any proven talent in their linebacking corps right now. There’s certainly potential there, but not enough to bank on heading into the 2021 season.
Alex Singleton showed some promise last year, leading the team in combined tackles (120), while recording 5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 interception returned for a touchdown. He has starting level potential, but that can’t be said for the rest of the group.
It would behoove Howie and Co. to finally address the linebacker position in a substantial way. Penn State’s Micah Parsons will likely be available at 6, but taking an LB that high probably isn’t the smartest move. Perhaps they address it in the second or third rounds, or maybe bring in a veteran linebacker on a cheap deal in free agency.
Regardless of how they handle it, something needs to be done to help bolster that position group this offseason.
The Eagles failed in replacing Malcolm Jenkins when they released him following the 2019 season. Jalen Mills was moved to Jenkins’ former position, but clearly wasn’t the presence that Jenkins was. He wasn’t absolutely terrible, but now that Mills is about to become a free agent, it would surprise me if the team decided to bring him back.
Assuming Rodney McLeod returns fully healthy next year, the team will only need to fill one of their two safety positions.
Perhaps the team will opt to ride with 2020 4th round pick K’Von Wallace at that second safety spot next year. He didn’t produce a whole lot in 2020 with his limited sample size, but he certainly has potential to become a solid starter.
If Howie decides to add someone into the mix at safety, I’d venture to say he’ll look at the free agency pool to see if he can snag someone reliable yet cheap. One name that immediately comes to mind is recently released Falcons safety Ricardo Allen. At 29 years old and coming off a down year in 2020, Allen can probably be had for cheap on the open market.
Allen, a four-time team captain in Atlanta, recorded 25 combines tackles, 2 interceptions, and 5 pass deflections in 2020. He’s also stayed relatively healthy over his five-year career, with the exception of a torn Achilles in 2018, but he’s only missed four games since that injury.
There are other names to consider, but Allen fits the bill for a stop-gap option at safety.
Unlike the two positions already mentioned, the Eagles have actually tried to address their wide receiver issue throughout the past few offseasons. They’ve spent high draft picks on Jalen Reagor and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, while bringing in veterans like DeSean Jackson and Marquise Goodwin. The problem is, none of these moves have worked out.
The jury is still out on Reagor — I believe if he’s used correctly he’ll be a very solid weapon for this offense. But as for JJAW, DeSean, and Goodwin, there’s a chance none of them will even be back in 2021. Neither will Alshon Jeffery for that matter, who will need to be released to save cap space.
That leaves Reagor, Greg Ward, Travis Fulgham John Hightower, and Quez Watkins as the only receivers on the roster. JJAW may be back, but it’s not a certainty at this point. Ward is the veteran of that group at just 25 years old.
The most obvious way to go about fixing their wide receiving corps would be to draft one of the marquee wideouts in the upcoming draft. Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, or Jaylen Waddle will be available at 6, and all have the potential to be No. 1 wideouts at the next level. It just depends on what the team wants to do at quarterback and whether they decide to go with someone like Justin Fields at 6.
It’s unclear right now what the organization will do with their first round pick. But what’s not up for debate is the need at wideout. Howie will need to find a way to fix this issue one way or another.