With an estimated $30-$40 million in cap space heading into this offseason, the Eagles figure to be big players during the free agency period.
Pro Football Focus released their free agency rankings a few months ago, but they held their free agency predictions until after the season. In their predictions, they have the Eagles acquiring two of their top-50 projected free agents, edge rusher Justin Houston and cornerback D.J. Reed Jr..
For Houston, PFF has the Pro Bowl defensive end inking a one-year, $7 million deal that’s fully guaranteed. And as for Reed, PFF predicts he’ll sign a three-year deal, $8 million per year with $24 guaranteed.
As far as needs go, PFF’s assessment of where the Eagles will allocate resources is pretty accurate. Howie Roseman has always favored adding depth along the defensive line and he’s proven in recent years that he’s committed to solidifying the cornerback position.
Although Houston is 33 years old, he’s still managed to be productive in recent years. In his lone year with Baltimore as a rotational EDGE defender, Houston recorded 4.5 sacks and 45 pressures. He’s clearly past his prime at this point, but he still makes sense as a depth piece to shore up the Eagles pass rush. They need a lot of help in that area, so adding anyone with a pedigree as solid as Houston’s is a step in the right direction. I’d prefer a younger player with more upside long-term, but Howie could always find that through the draft. And with the amount of talent at the defensive end position in this year’s class, I’m sure that’s going to be Howie’s plan.
In regards to Reed, he makes a lot of sense for the Eagles. He’s only 25 years old and is coming off his best season to date. In 14 starts with Seattle in 2021, Reed recorded two interceptions while allowing a completion percentage of 47.7 and a passer rating of 67.8 when targeted. Not to mention he graded out as the eighth-best corner in football during the 2021 season, earning a 78.6 overall grade from PFF.
Reed is a bit limited with the schemes he’d fit into, but Jonathan Gannon’s heavy emphasis on zone coverage should fit Reed’s skill set just fine. He is only 5-foot-9, which naturally causes some concern as an outside corner, but he proved last year that his size won’t hinder his play. Reed spent 858 snaps positioned on the outside in 2021.
These certainly won’t be the only free agents the Eagles look to acquire this offseason. And while they’re not the blockbuster names some fans are hoping for, both Houston and Reed would help solidify the Eagles defense.
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