Eagles clean out lockers, brace for change

Eagles clean out lockers, brace for change

Eagles

Eagles clean out lockers, brace for change

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The requests to interview defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz for a head coaching job are already coming in, the first one being from Cleveland. So don’t be surprised if the Eagles are already searching for a replacement there.

The list of current players now eligible for free agency is long: WR Nelson Agholor, defensive end Vinny Curry, RB Jordan Howard, defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, quarterback Josh McCown, safety Rodney McLeod, cornerback Jalen Mills, offensive tackle Jason Peters, quarterback Nate Sudfeld, offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai, cornerback Ronald Darby, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, and defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway.

The NFL Draft is not that far way. With seven draft picks of their own now, including the 21st overall, and another three potential compensatory draft picks – projected to be a third-round pick and two fourth-rounders – the Eagles have some very valuable draft capital.

Safety Malcolm Jenkins made it clear Monday that he’ll either be playing on a new contract in Philadelphia in 2020 or he’ll be playing elsewhere. Jenkins, 32, is entering the final year of a four-year, $35 million deal and is scheduled to make a base salary of $7.6 million. The safety market has shifted considerably over the past year, with top-tier players like Earl Thomas and Landon Collins netting contracts that average around $14 million per season.

This is Jenkins’ chance to leverage his projected remaining value to the team’s defense, as well as his leadership role to the entire team. To me it should be a no-brainer to extend this guy’s contract to 2022 with some kind of guaranteed increase in dough, but of course it’s a delicate uncertainty at this point.

“I want to be valued, I want to be compensated for what I’m worth, but I want to win, I want to be in a good locker room,” Jenkins said of his priorities. “I’m a prideful person who enjoys to compete and win, but I’m not a dummy either. So at this point in my career, I weigh all these things.”

Future HOF LT Jason Peters says he wants to come back to play out his option with the Eagles. A lot of team analysts (including Tommy Lawlor) think that’s not a good idea.

“Peters struggled on Sunday. He’s had penalty issues this year and deals with nagging injuries. He is an all-time great Eagle, but they have to let him go. Andre Dillard needs to be the LT in 2020.” — Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz

I’m torn on this idea. I still see Peters just blowing guys away on a lot of plays. I am braced for the winds of change, however.

As for reconciling with the loss to Seattle, I’m okay with it now. We took what we had left and made the most of it. In future years we’ll probably cherish this past season as a great example of over-achievement.

It’s still somewhat maddening to realize how close we came to checkmating the Seahawks offense. As “the bEAST” noted in his game recap at Eaglemaniacal.com, we went with a contain strategy which often worked but also had a few letdowns. “This, even more than Wentz’ injury, is what cost us the game. Their QB is at his best when he can get outside of play design, because free-form offense breaks down defenses. Our DE’s were far too inconsistent with their rush depth and rush angles, which allowed Seattle to convert long third downs all game long.”

He also pointed out we kept the Seattle defense in their base the entire game. We lost a bigger opportunity to exploit that defensive predictability when Wentz left the game early “They stayed in their base, but I’m not sure if we triggered it, or their injury issues helped them play into our plans. In any case, they stayed in a defense that we had a legitimate chance against all game long. That went up in smoke when the playbook had to be simplified to accommodate McCown. We leaned heavy on a handful of plays.”

But we have to let go of the 2019 season now. It was a pip of a year for sure, but coming changes will soon turn it into an antique on your shelf of memories.

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