Three Things That the Eagles Should Have Done This Offseason

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This offseason was a success for the Philadelphia Eagles, general manager Howie Roseman, and head coach Chip Kelly. They filled many of their needs through free agency along with the draft and are looking to continue the improvements that they made on their team last season. There are very few things that Eagles did, or didn’t do that I would change. And while there are a few things that I would have done, there are three that had the Eagles done them, I believe that their offseason would be an absolute success and they might be a favorite to win the Super Bowl.

Oct 3, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns strong safety T.J. Ward (43) celebrates after defeating the Buffalo Bills 37-24 at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Number 1: Sign Safety T.J. Ward

Former Cleveland Brown T.J. Ward is a pro bowl safety who signed with the Denver Broncos early in the 2014 NFL offseason. The Former Oregon Duck played for Chip Kelly in college before being drafted by the Cleveland Browns and having a very successful career. The 27 year old is now entering the prime of his career and just signed a four year deal with the ex-AFC Champion Denver Broncos worth 22.5 million dollars. This means that on average Ward is set to receive 5.625 million dollars each year. While this seems like a lot, it is actually quite a bargain. If you look at fellow former Oregon Duck and former Buffalo Bill safety Jairus Byrd, who was also a free agent this past year, you see why this was such a bargain. Although Byrd in his career has been slightly more productive than Ward, the 27 year old signed a six year contract with the New Orleans Saints worth 56 million. This averages out to 9.33 million dollars a year. T.J Ward is the kind of safety that could single handedly take the Eagles secondary and make it formidable. Some might argue that Ward playing safety across from newly acquired Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins is actually quite intimidating. The Eagles could have easily afforded Ward, and then would not have had to re-sign Eagles safety Nate Allen who has been very inconsistent in his career as an Eagle, finally making strides in his gameplay last year under Chip Kelly’s leadership. The reason that the Eagles did not go after Ward is because he plays the box defensive style, but I think that Ward is so good, and is cheap enough that they could have and should have made it work.

Nov 2, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Darqueze Dennard (31) raises his had before a play during the third quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Spartan Stadium. Spartans beat the Wolverines 29-6. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Number 2: Do Not Trade the Number 22 Pick to the Browns and Draft Linebacker Marcus Smith at Pick 26

In the 2014 NFL Draft, the Eagles approached knowing that they had four big needs to fill. Pass Rusher, Wide Receiver, Cornerback and Safety. The biggest perhaps was pass rusher, there may not have been a better pass rusher in college football in 2013 than Marcus Smith and his 14.5 sacks. I have no problem with the Marcus Smith Pick, my problem was the trade down as I would have much rather seen the Eagles take former Michigan State and current Cincinnati Bengal cornerback Darqueze Dennard. Dennard was a possible top ten pick who fell to the Eagles at 22, it seemed like a dream scenario but the Eagles had other plans. I guess they figured that they would rather have a pass rusher and get extra picks. I would rather have seen the Eagles take Dennard who can help solve their secondary issues and replace the soon departing Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher who will be a free agent in 2015. Then if the Eagles wanted more picks they could have traded Bryce Brown for a pick this year instead of next year, the other option was to move up in the first round. The Eagles clearly wanted other players, one of which was so close to attainable in former Alabama, current Green Bay Packer safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix who went one pick before them. If the Eagles had moved up to pick 20 where the Arizona Cardinals originally selected before moving down, they would have gotten their man. Again, I have no problem with Marcus Smith, I just don’t think he will have the kind of impact on out defensive unit as the Eagles had hoped.

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Tags: Darqueze Dennard DeSean Jackson Philadelphia Eagles T.J. Ward

  • Alex

    I agree with the TJ Ward point but I think he took a discount to go to denver cause he was sick of losing in cleveland and wanted a SB immediately (the eagles are a year away from being able to win the SB i think). he still would have been worth it though.
    Obviously we shouldn’t have cut desean, and instead of taking huff we could have gotten someone on the oline maybe brandon thomas and gotten a WR later or not at all
    I like the trade back I think it makes a ton of sense but not trading up. marcus smith I like as a player and because the cardinals or the redskins via trade up were rumored to take him later in the first round I think it’s not that bad of a reach. of course I wanted marquise lee there but with desean not being cut there’s no reason to do that. I mean who would have been better to take? bradley roby? maybe… but he’s not a scheme fit and has some personality issues (I hate saying that because I am an avid tOSU fan) su’a-filo? possible, but is he really worth a 1st round selection when we have mathis and herremans?
    overall I think this is a good article.

  • Ryan

    What do you mean if the Eagles had tried hard they could have gotten a 3rd round pick. Did you not pay attention for the past two years cause they’ve been openly shopping him for that long. I love the guy to but the nfl knows what Djax is and that’s a distraction. I don’t believe that any other teams were interested in him aside from the skins. I mean do you really think the Eagles preferred getting nothing at all for him. His contract was terrible and he just wasn’t worth it to any team ANY AT ALL.

  • joe

    Jackson didn’t do everything he wanted on offense, specifically beating good man coverage and blocking. He won’t be missed when we’re scoring more points.

  • Jesse

    Hey Ryan, thanks for the comment! Howie Roseman has openly said that he doesn’t love the way that he handled the DeSean Jackson situation, which shows you that he wishes he has in fact gotten something for him. The Stevie Johnson trade shows you that they easily could have had at least a fourth/third round pick since Johnson had less production for the Bills, is more injury prone, and has a five year/36 million contract which is not much more than Jackson’s four year/32 million contract. The Eagles in my opinion got impatient and got rid of Jackson without maximizing his return, and even if they got next to nothing, controlling his destination is still more valuable than letting the Redskins get him. The Redskins were definitely not the only team interested as the Chiefs, Raiders and Jets were very openly interested and I have a feeling that if Jackson were still on the market after Gordon’s suspension the wealthy Browns would try and grab another pro bowler.

  • Jesse

    Alex thanks so much for this comment! I completely agree with the TJ Ward point, and I was considering that when I wrote about him. I think the Eagles may have had to give him a little bit more money than the Broncos had given him, but his familiarity with Chip Kelly plus the Eagles’ upside as an organization should have been enough to reel him in. Also I agree that had the Eagles stuck with the move back to pick 26, that Marcus Smith was the right choice, I just wish that they has stayed at 22 for Dennard.

  • Jesse

    Hey Joe, great point and thanks for the comment. DeSean really frustrated me in the playoff game against the New Orleans Saints where Keenan Lewis completely shut him down, and I think that his lack of production was a large part of our loss. I definitely think that Eagles will continue to put up points without DeSean, my point is that keeping Jackson in our arsenal and still drafting Jordan Matthews (who I love and have been begging the Eagles to draft all offseason) would be scary for any defense to face. Just DeSean isn’t enough I completely agree, unlike many people I had wide receiver as a need for the Eagles before Jackson was even cut, I just wish they had kept him and still drafted a wide receiver.