The Eagles have announced that they have signed former Houston Texans’ FB/TE James Casey to a 3-year deal. The deal is reportedly worth $12M over the 3 years, with $6M guaranteed. Casey is a versatile weapon for Chip Kelly to use in his new offense. He’s spent time as a lead-blocker for Arian Foster, but also can run routes and be a pass catcher. Casey had 34 catches for 330 yards and 3 TDs last year in Houston as the #2 TE option behind Owen Daniels. This figures to spell the end of Clay Harbor’s tenure in Philadelphia. I actually like this move a lot due to Casey’s versatility. While he doesn’t have a stellar resume so far, he’s athletic at 6’3, 240 and Chip Kelly figures to be able to find some favorable matchups for him.
The Eagles also signed 3 players to help shore up the defense: St. Louis CB Bradley Fletcher, New England S Patrick Chung, and San Francisco NT Isaac Sopoaga. Sopoaga’s deal is $12M over 3 years, though only $5M is guaranteed. He’s 32, so he doesn’t figure to be a long-term solution at NT, but for a year or two he can really help the team transition into their new 3-4 (or “4-3 under”) look. He’s not going to provide much in the pass rush, but he’s a good run stuffer on 1st and 2nd down. He’s a big body to deal with at 6’2, 330 and helps his defensive teammates out by occupying 2 blockers and clogging up the middle.
Fletcher, who was signed to a 2-year deal worth $5.25M plus incentives, was seen as undervalued by many entering free agency. He started 23 games over 3 years with the Rams, but has struggled to stay on the field, whether it’s via injuries or being benched. He had 2 FFs and an INT last year, and Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 9th-best CB in free agency. Interestingly enough, he gave up an average of 0.52 yards per coverage snap (a PFF metric) in his small sample size, good for best in the NFL. He’s a good #2 corner, but the need for a #1 corner still remains. Eagles fans will love to hear that he’s only missed 6 tackles in his 43 game career. I like this signing a lot.
Chung is a player similar to Fletcher. He’s shown flashes in limited time in New England, but has been derailed by injuries. He was a former 2nd-round pick out of Oregon, and Chip Kelly was the OC there during Chung’s college career. Pro Football Focus ranks Chung as the 10th-best safety available in free agency this year. He’s better against the run and can cover opposing man-t0-man TEs decently, but struggles to cover in the slot. He didn’t play as a deep FS very often in NE, suggesting that the Eagles will use Nate Allen or target another safety to fill that role. The Eagles gave him a 3-year contract. No financial details yet. He has 239 tackles and 7 interceptions in 50 career games over 4 seasons, and is only 25.
The Eagles also signed LB Jason Phillips, formerly of the Carolina Panthers, to a 2-year deal. He has experience in a 3-4 and figures to contribute on special teams, as he had 16 tackles on special teams in Carolina last year. No financial details yet (sensing a theme?).
More from us as news comes along.