Howie Roseman is a big proponent of resigning his core players before they even get the chance to test free agency. Last season, we saw Howie sign nearly every member of his 2018 draft class, which allowed him and the front office to focus more heavily on adding to the roster this offseason.
2022 should be no different. The Eagles have a handful of players who are clear extension candidates during the season.
Let’s take a look at the most likely extension candidates heading into the 2022 campaign.
DT Javon Hargrave
Hargrave was the best defensive lineman on the Eagles roster last season, earning his first Pro Bowl and recording a career-high 7.5 sacks from the defensive tackle position. He proved to be one of the best interior rushers in 2021, posting a Pro Football Focus pass rush grade of 91.6, second-best among all interior lineman (Aaron Donald was No. 1). Hargrave racked up a 61 total pressures last season, 20 more than his running mate Fletcher Cox.
At 29 years old, Hargarve still has a lot of good football left in him and he should be a great fit alongside Jordan Davis for the next few years. Davis’ gigantic frame and ability to just eat up blockers should free up Hargrave.
Don’t be surprised if this is the first contract extension that gets done during the season.
RB Miles Sanders
It’s hard to gauge just how much the organization values Miles Sanders. On one hand, he’s been a good back when healthy and is clearly the best overall running back on the roster. On the other, Sanders has struggled staying healthy throughout his career and it’s pretty obvious that the Eagles offensive line deserves the majority of the credit for the team’s rushing success. In other words, any half decent running back should be able to find success running behind this offensive front.
Sanders is the only player from the 2019 draft class that will get any contract extension consideration this season, that’s for certain. Andre Dillard might get traded by the deadline, JJAW barely plays, and the other two draftees, Shareef Miller and Clayton Thorson, aren’t even here anymore. Given how inept that draft class was, Howie may feel inclined to retain the lone bright spot in Sanders.
It’ll mostly depend on how Sanders performs early on this season. If he’s healthy and looks like he’s on pace to break 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, an extension could be in order. He’ll also need to find ways to contribute in the passing game, something he’s struggled with over the past few seasons.
At the end of the day, Howie has never shoveled over big money to running backs. The only one who ever got a serious payday was LeSean McCoy, and he’s a Hall of Fame talent. If Sanders is open to a reasonable contract that’s team oriented, the front office should have no issue handing him a new contract. Only time will tell.
RG Isaac Seumalo
He doesn’t get as much credit as he should, Isaac Seumalo has been a solid guard for the Eagles. But, he has struggled with injuries in recent years, only suiting up for 12 games since 2020, and the team has an in-house replacement for him already in Jack Driscoll.
There was some speculation that Seumalo could get moved before the 2022 season even starts. With training camp just over a month away, that seems unlikely at this point. But the fact remains — Seumalo probably isn’t at the top of possible extension candidates.
He’ll need to have a Pro Bowl level season for the Eagles to consider bringing him back, in my opinion.
LB T.J. Edwards
T.J. Edwards played well enough last season to earn another year in Philly, but the organization still clearly has some question marks with him. Howie went out and acquired two linebackers who will vie for playing time alongside Edwards this season, Kyzir White and Nakobe Dean. Not to mention Davion Taylor, who could become an x-factor for Jonathan Gannon’s defense if he develops a bit more.
When the team drafted Dean in the third-round of this year’s NFL Draft, it signified that Edwards’ days in Philly could be numbered. Dean has a very similar skill set to Edwards, but his ceiling is so much higher. Why pay Edwards if you already have a younger replacement for him who could be an absolute stud in this league?
I like Edwards a lot. He helped solidify the Eagles defense last year and it was no coincidence that Gannon’s unit started playing better once Edwards was inserted into the starting lineup. It’s just hard to imagine the Eagles — a team that has routinely undervalues linebackers — giving Edwards an extension when they have two young guys in Taylor and Dean to build around.
The Aging Vets: Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Jason Kelce
Simply put, I’d be surprised if any of these guys are back in Philly next season. I think there’s a good chance at least two of them retire at year’s end.
This feels like it could be BG and Kelce‘s final year, which would be okay with me. They’ve cemented their status as all-time Eagles and they’re both going to be 35 entering next year. Maybe BG comes back for one more hoorah, but as for Kelce, I’d be shocked if he returns.
If BG opts to continue his career, the Eagles will almost certainly give him an extension. Based off what we know from the relationship between the two, BG will take a team friendly deal to remain an Eagle.
In regards to Cox, that’s where things get a little dicey. He’s 31 years old and could stretch his career out a little longer if he wants to. Contrary to public perception, Cox hasn’t been bad over the past few years. He just hasn’t been the dominant force we’ve come to expect. If there’s a team out there that wants to add Cox as their final piece and offers him more money than Philly, he’ll more than likely take it. The team had to pay him $14M this year just so he stuck around. If he puts forth another subpar outing in 2022, they won’t do that again.
If I had to predict which one of these greats ends up back in Philly next season, it would be BG. If he returns to form this year, Howie should have no problem handing him an extension in-season.
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