Free-Agent Setup: Eagles may pay for success

By The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 24, 2018 at 10:00 PM
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The Philadelphia Eagles won't be using the franchise tag on anyone this year. They have 13 players who can become unrestricted free agents next month, including linebacker Nigel Bradham, cornerback Patrick Robinson, tight end Trey Burton and running back LeGarrette Blount.

Bradham is the one player the Eagles really can't afford to lose, but they have no plans to use the franchise tag to hang on to him. They are hopeful they can get a new deal done with him by the start of the free agency signing period. Bradham had the best season of his career last year, stepping up after middle linebacker Jordan Hicks went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon. He spearheaded the Eagles' No. 1-ranked run defense and was effective both in coverage and as a blitzer for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

After Hicks went down, Bradham also handled the defensive play-calling, something he had never done before. Robinson was a godsend in the slot. But with 2017 second-round pick Sidney Jones expected to move into one of the starting corner spots next season, Jalen Mills likely will move inside, making Robinson expendable. The Eagles would like to keep Burton, who is one of their top special teams players, in addition to a capable receiver. But he knows he can probably get more money elsewhere.

Unit-by-unit depth chart as of Super Bowl LII. Injured players listed as starters if that was their status when injured.

*Asterisk indicates player ended 2017 season on injured reserve.

QUARTERBACKS (A-plus): Starter - *Carson Wentz. Backups - Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld.

TIGHT ENDS (A-minus): Starter - Zach Ertz. Backups - Trey Burton (UFA), Brent Celek.

RUNNING BACKS (B-minus): Starter - Jay Ajayi. Backups - *Darren Sproles (UFA), LeGarrette Blount (UFA), Corey Clement, Kenjon Barner (UFA), Wendell Smallwood, *Donnell Pumphrey.

WIDE RECEIVERS (A): Starters - Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor. Backups - Mack Hollins, Marcus Johnson, Shelton Gibson, *Dom Williams.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (B-plus): Starters - *LT Jason Peters, LG Stefen Wisniewski, C Jason Kelce, RG Brandon Brooks, RT Lane Johnson. Backups - Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Isaac Seumalo, Chance Warmack, Will Beatty (UFA).

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (B-plus): Starters - LDE Brandon Graham, LDT Fletcher Cox, RDT Tim Jernigan, RDE Vinny Curry. Backups - DE Derek Barnett, DE Chris Long, DT Beau Allen (UFA), DT Destiny Vaeao, DE Steven Means, DT Elijah Qualls, DE Bryan Braman (UFA), DT *Aziz Shittu.

LINEBACKERS (B-plus): Starters - SLB Nigel Bradham (UFA), *MLB Jordan Hicks, WLB Mychal Kendricks. Backups - Najee Goode (UFA), *Joe Walker, Dannell Ellerbe (UFA), Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nathan Gerry.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (B-plus): Starters - LCB Jalen Mills, RCB Ronald Darby, SCB Patrick Robinson (UFA), S Malcolm Jenkins, S Rodney McLeod. Backups - CB Jaylen Watkins, S Corey Graham (UFA), Rasul Douglas, S *Chris Maragos, CB *Randall Gofourth.

SPECIAL TEAMS (B-plus): K Jake Elliott, K *Caleb Sturgis (UFA), P Donnie Jones, KOR Kenjon Barner (UFA), KOR Corey Clement, *PR Darren Sproles (UFA).

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