The Philadelphia Eagles found their franchise quarterback in 2016 by drafting Carson Wentz, and now their plan going forward is clear: Build the rest of the roster around him. Wentz had an up-and-down rookie season, but he has all the makings of a Pro Bowler. If he can continue to develop, the Eagles will be a team to beat in the NFC East for years.
With several needs on both sides of the ball, the Eagles are bound to be busy this offseason, both in the draft and in free agency. They’ll need to make a couple of moves to free up cap space before they can pursue top free agents, but here are five players they should target when the market opens next week.
Ryan Mathews hasn’t panned out in Philadelphia, and the Eagles’ running game was not good last season. Murray is expected to hit the open market, and though there are veterans like Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson available, Murray is a better option. He can stay healthy and handle a heavy workload, and the Eagles could certainly use a player like that to give Wentz a more consistent running game. Murray would be an affordable option for the Eagles.
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WR Kenny Stills (Dolphins)
The Eagles don’t need just one receiver, they probably need two. They won’t be able to sign both Stills and someone like Alshon Jeffery, but pursuing each one would be a smart move. Though they have different styles, they can each impact the Eagles in a big way. Stills is a deep-route master in the mold of DeSean Jackson. His price has been rumored to be $12 million per year, which is outrageous. But if the Eagles can nab him for anywhere near $9 million, he’d be worth it. Wentz didn’t have a true deep threat in 2016, which is exactly what Stills would be. It’ll all come down to money.
DT Bennie Logan (Eagles)
The Eagles have one of the best interior duos in the NFL with Fletcher Cox and Logan, and it would be a shame for Philly to break them up. Logan is going to be a pricey free agent if the Eagles don’t re-sign him beforehand, but he’ll be worth the money. Logan is more of a run-stuffing defensive tackle, whereas Cox can get after the quarterback from his three-technique spot. If the Eagles want to continue to improve under Jim Schwartz’s Wide 9 defense, Logan is a must-retain.
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WR Alshon Jeffery (Bears)
Jeffery is the top wide receiver available this offseason and will be a true No. 1 option for whichever team he signs with. The Eagles have tried to find a mix of receivers in recent years with Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff, but none of the three has really panned out. Jeffery would step in right away and be Wentz’s best target, both running deep routes and intermediate ones across the middle. The biggest question is whether he’s completely focused on football and can stay on the field for all 16 games. His four-game ban in 2016 will likely drive his price down a bit, which is good news for the Eagles.
CB A.J. Bouye (Texans)
The Eagles have a significant need at cornerback, and who better to fill that need than the best player available? Bouye is reportedly unlikely to be tagged by the Texans, which means he’ll hit free agency if the two sides don’t agree on an extension before March 9. If Bouye does hit the open market, there may not be a better fit for him than the Eagles. He can play the slot and boundary cornerback, giving coordinator Jim Schwartz good flexibility in the secondary. Malcolm Jenkins often comes down from his safety spot to cover the slot, so having Bouye man that position would be huge.