Eagles: 5 offensive free agents Howie should target this offseason

While the Eagles don’t have many glaring holes on the offensive side of the ball, there’s still a good chance they add some talent to that side of the ball through free agency.

Acquiring a solid WR2, a suitable backup tight end, and another running back could all be in the cards once free agency rolls around. With over $30 million in cap space to work with, Howie Roseman will have more than enough capital to fill these needs.

Here are five offensive free agents that would make sense for the Eagles this offseason.

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

Although JuJu Smith-Schuster has never lived up to the billing of a No. 1 wide receiver, he’s been a very reliable slot receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers during his five-year career. He only suited up for five games in 2021 due to a shoulder injury, which could lower his value a bit, which is good news for any team looking to sign him.

Since 2017, Smith-Schuster is top-15 in third down receptions with 85. Outside of DeVonta Smith, the Eagles don’t have another reliable target at the receiver position. Playing alongside Smith could do wonders for Smith-Schuster, who had his best years playing next to a bonified No. 1 receiver in Antonio Brown.

At just 25 years old, Smith-Schuster will likely look for a long-term deal. But with the nagging injuries he’s sustained over the past few years, a one-year ‘prove it’ deal may be more warranted. Pro Football Focus projects he’ll sign for a one-year deal worth $8 million. With the potential that Smith-Schuster brings to this team, taking a one-year flier on the former Pro Bowler could be well worth it.

TE Mo Alie-Cox

In 2021, the Eagles ran 12 personnel (two tight ends, two wide receivers) 26 percent of the time and had a successful pass rate of 56 percent out of those formations — despite not having a viable TE2 alongside Dallas Goedert.

Though Jack Stoll showed some growth over the course of the season, he didn’t provide enough to cement his status as the clear cut TE2 heading into next season. Tyree Jackson has all the physical tools to be a great backup to Goedert, but his persistent injuries may prevent him from ever becoming that.

If Howie wants to find a proven tight end option to place behind Goedert, Indy’s Mo Alie-Cox makes perfect sense. He has ties to Nick Sirianni and has been a reliable player for the Colts over the past two seasons. Since 2020, Alie-Cox has hauled in 55 receptions for 710 yards and five touchdowns. He’s also an above average blocker at the tight end position, posting a pass-blocking grade of 64.0 in 2021, per PFF.

TE2 is one of the more underrated needs for the Eagles heading into this offseason. If Alie-Cox can be had for a reasonable price, don’t be shocked if he ends up in midnight green in a few weeks.

RB Rashaad Penny

Fresh off the best year of his career, Seattle’s Rashaad Penny could be a hot commodity on the free agency market this offseason. He finished the 2021 season with 749 rushing yards with a ridiculous 6.3 yards per carry average, along with finding the end zone eight times. He capped off his 2021 campaign with three straight 130+ yard rushing performances, averaging an astounding 7.6 yards per carry during that time.

Now, those numbers probably aren’t sustainable, which is why he may not receive a huge contract in free agency. But as a second or third running back in an already solidified backfield, Penny makes a ton of sense. In regards the Eagles specifically, if they lose Jordan Howard to free agency this offseason, Penny is a more than suitable replacement for him and could provide a legitimate weapon for Sirianni’s offense.

Penny possesses the same style of north-south running as Howard, but he provides a lot more big play potential. In 2021, Penny posted 19 explosive runs (runs of 10 yards or more) while averaging 4.52 yards after contact. For reference, Howard accumulated nine explosive runs last season and averaged 3.14 yards after contact.

At just 26 years old and very little tread on the tires, Penny could be a long-term option for the Eagles.

QB Jacoby Brissett

This is contingent on Gardner Minshew getting traded this offseason. If Howie can get some value in return for Minshew, there’s no doubt the team will be in the backup quarterback market during free agency. Jacoby Brissett would be an easy choice to backup Jalen Hurts next season given his connections to Nick Sirianni.

During Sirianni’s time in Indianapolis, Brissett had an entire year as the starter when Andrew Luck retired prior to the 2019 season. He wasn’t half-bad during that year either, tossing 18 touchdowns to six interceptions while posting a passer rating of 88.0 and a completion percentage of 60.9. Brissett is a low-end starter, but he’s one of the better backups in the league.

He’d be a fine choice to replace Minshew if he were to get traded this offseason.

WR Cedrick Wilson

The Dallas Cowboys have had a stacked wide receiver room over the past few years, leaving very little room for any unproven wideouts to leave their marks. Once Michael Gallup went down with injury this past season, Cedrick Wilson was given the opportunity to start and he didn’t disappoint.

In 2021, Wilson recorded 45 receptions for 602 yards and six touchdowns. When targeted, Wilson generated a 130.6 passer rating. Although he’s played in the slot for about 79 percent of his snaps during his career, he has the physical tools to produce on the outside. He’s just never had the opportunity with Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb eating up snaps.

PFF writes, “Wilson could prove a steal for a team willing to trust him with a bigger role within their offense.” The Eagles would certainly be in a position to be able to offer that to Wilson. At 26 years old, he could be a long-term option at receiver and he could be much cheaper than some of the other more notable options set to hit the open market.

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