Here are the moves the Philadelphia Eagles should consider when free agency opens at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday:
Priority No. 1 -- Fix the offensive line before the draft: Former coach Chip Kelly's negligence left the Eagles short-handed at guard. Not only did Kelly release veteran starters Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans, the Eagles have not drafted an offensive lineman since taking Lane Johnson in the first round in 2013. That was 20 draft picks ago. Kelly tried to plug in low-cost free agents Andrew Gardner, Allen Barbre and Matt Tobin. The results were about what you'd expect. The Eagles need two starting guards before they find themselves reaching for one in the draft. Houston's Brandon Brooks, Kansas City's Jeff Allen and Baltimore's Kelechi Osemele are some of the premier free agents worth considering. Mathis, who won a Super Bowl ring with Denver, and Jahri Evans, the Philadelphia native released by New Orleans, would be lower-cost veterans who may want to come home.
Priority No. 2 -- Catch a wide receiver who can catch footballs: The Eagles led the NFL in the percentage of passes that were dropped in 2015. Young wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff never really seemed effective in Kelly's offense. Riley Cooper already has been released. While Agholor, Huff and Jordan Matthews could all blossom in Doug Pederson's offense, it would require a lot of wishful thinking to rely on that. The smarter move is to acquire at least one veteran wide receiver who can be relied on. The Eagles tried that with Miles Austin last season, but that went the way of most of Kelly's roster moves. Cincinnati's Marvin Jones and Miami's Rishard Matthews fit the bill. It's not as though the Eagles are looking for a superstar here. They just need someone Sam Bradford can depend upon.
Priority No. 3 -- Sign Walter Thurmond: He spent last season playing safety alongside Malcolm Jenkins. But Thurmond has spent most of his career as a nickel cornerback. By re-signing him, the Eagles can address one of those positions with a draft pick or a free agent and then rely on Thurmond to plug the other hole. They also could look to re-sign Nolan Carroll, who started 11 games before breaking a bone in his lower leg during the Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit. But the feeling here is that Thurmond would give the Eagles more versatility and a better option at nickel cornerback.
Priority No. 4 -- Sign George Iloka: The Cincinnati Bengals' Iloka would be a solid strong safety-type who would complement Jenkins' style of play. That pairing would give Jim Schwartz plenty of flexibility in building his defense. If Iloka's asking price is too high, there will be other options. Detroit's Isa Abdul-Quddus, Cleveland's Tashaun Gipson and San Diego's Eric Weddle could be good fits for what Schwartz is looking for. Signing a safety would allow Thurmond to focus on playing cornerback in the nickel. That should give the Eagles as good a personnel group in the secondary as they've had in a decade.