A breakdown of the first week of free agency for the Philadelphia Eagles:
Most significant signing: The Eagles signed wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to a one-year, $9.5 million deal that can go as high as $14 million if incentives are hit. The front office did not enter free agency thinking they would be able to land Jeffery, but the price tag dropped within their budget, so they pounced. The 2016 receiving corps was near the bottom in just about every major statistical category last year. With the addition of both Jeffery and Torrey Smith, the Eagles have significantly upgraded the weapons for young quarterback Carson Wentz. Jeffery is a big, sure-handed receiver (he dropped just one pass on 92 targets last year, per ESPN Stats & Information) with a penchant for winning 50-50 balls. He is a legit No. 1 receiver when healthy. If they can keep him on the field and lock him into a long-term deal, this signing could pay serious dividends.
Most significant loss: Starting defensive tackle Bennie Logan signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Logan started 51 games over four years with the Eagles and was part of a quality one-two punch on the interior along with Fletcher Cox. The price tag proved a little too steep for an Eagles team that has already invested big money in the position by handing Cox a six-year, $102 million deal last offseason and is tight against the cap. Beau Allen is expected to take over the starting DT spot for Logan. While Allen is solid, Logan’s absence is likely to be felt.
Player they should have signed: The Eagles are alarmingly thin at cornerback and have not done anything in free agency to address the position. While a player like A.J. Bouye (five years, $67.5 million) was out of their price range, Logan Ryan inked a more reasonable three-year, $30 million contract with the Tennessee Titans that contains $10 million in guarantees (versus $26 million in guarantees for Bouye). Just 26, Ryan had 92 tackles, two interceptions and 11 passes defensed for the Super Bowl champion Patriots last season. He would have helped solidify an Eagles secondary that is wobbly on the outside at the moment.
What’s next: The Eagles still need corners, a defensive end, a linebacker (assuming Mychal Kendricks is dealt) and a running back. That’s a pretty big wish list, and they won’t be able to cross every item off. Tight against the cap, they’ll look for bargains on the open market, whether that be a veteran corner or running back to help bolster a depleted position. However, the upcoming draft is said to be stocked at those two positions in particular. Much of the remaining work will be left for late April.
Overall grade: B-minus. The Eagles needed to upgrade at receiver and accomplished that. They beefed up their offensive line by re-signing Stefen Wisniewski and bringing in former first-round pick Chance Warmack. And they essentially swapped backup quarterback Chase Daniel for Nick Foles. While the offense got plenty of attention, the defense was ignored. Logan and cornerback Nolan Carroll (Cowboys) signed elsewhere, and starting defensive end Connor Barwin was released. The intent in free agency was never to fix all all that ails, but it’s hard to miss the holes on the defensive side of the ball.