5 players Philadelphia Eagles must avoid in free agency

Dec 18, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) returns a kickoff against the Indianapolis Colts in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Colts win 34-6. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 18, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) returns a kickoff against the Indianapolis Colts in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Colts win 34-6. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles are expected to be active during the free agency period, but they need to make sure they avoid these players.

It’s almost March, which means it’s almost time for just about every NFL team to spend an inconceivable amount of money on free agents. The Philadelphia Eagles in particular will play a large role in the fun and games on March 9.

At the moment, the Eagles aren’t in an ideal financial situation. But the team is expected to make numerous money-saving moves prior to the start of the free agency period. The Eagles have already released cornerback Leodis McKelvin and it is likely that they will release running back Ryan Mathews, defensive end Connor Barwin and several other players as well. If and when that happens, the Eagles will have plenty of cash to throw around.

We’ve already assembled a list of players the Eagles could reasonably target in free agency. But what about the players they should avoid? Well, that’s what this list is for. The Eagles have a history of paying large sums of money to players who end up underperforming during their tenure in Philadelphia. This year, the Eagles need to get it right and avoid that at all costs.

Jan 1, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (10) catches a touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium. The Patriots won 35-14. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 1, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (10) catches a touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium. The Patriots won 35-14. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Kenny Stills

It’s easy to understand why people want Stills in Philadelphia. He’s young, he’s fast and he fills a position of need for the Eagles. However, Stills has never eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in his four-year career and he will cost a lot of money. Too much. Stills will be a hot commodity in free agency, which means his price tag will be hugely inflated by clubs desperate for a deep threat (like, for example, the Eagles). While Stills has undeniable talent, he is not worth the amount of money it will likely take to sign him.

Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) before a game against the New York Jets at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) before a game against the New York Jets at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Stephon Gilmore

The Eagles had the NFL’s worst secondary in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus. While safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod did what they could, they were unable to make up for the porous play of McKelvin and Nolan Carroll. The Eagles may feel tempted to a cornerback in free agency, but it would be in their best interest to restrain themselves. The Eagles do not have a good track record when signing free agent corners. Gilmore, one of the top free agent corners on the market, had a down year in 2016 and reeks of bust potential. The Eagles would be better off saving their money and addressing this need through the draft.

Nov 20, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Cardinals 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 20, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Cardinals 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Cordarrelle Patterson

The Eagles need to find a receiver. Not a disappointment. Patterson has been nothing short of that since being selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Vikings, Patterson has recorded just 132 receptions for 1,316 yards and seven touchdowns. Admittedly, Patterson is an impactful weapon on special teams. He’s returned five kickoffs for touchdowns in his career. But in a world where kickoff returns are slowly fading away, it wouldn’t do the Eagles much good to sign a player who can’t effectively contribute both on special teams and as a receiver.

Jan 1, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden (20) runs with the ball against Philadelphia Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod (23) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 1, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden (20) runs with the ball against Philadelphia Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod (23) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Darren McFadden

McFadden may have rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2015, but his days of being a workhorse back are long gone. McFadden played in only three games for the Dallas Cowboys in 2016 due to an elbow injury. His durability has always been a question mark and at 29 years old (he will be 30 in August), it seems McFadden’s best days are behind him. The Eagles need to add talent to their backfield, but McFadden would not be an inspiring addition.

Sep 1, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) warms up before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 1, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) warms up before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Gordon

It’s hard to deny Gordon’s skills on the football field. The 25-year-old was one of the NFL’s most electrifying receivers when he recorded 87 receptions for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013. Unfortunately, those days are a thing of the past. Gordon has not played a snap of regular season football since 2014 and his off-field issues are concerning. Gordon spent the entire 2016 season at an in-patient rehabilitation facility, which is a good start for the troubled wideout. But two years is a long time to be away from football and the Eagles should not feel tempted to sign a player whose off-field issues have been so crippling.

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