In the City of Brotherly Love, this may be viewed as blasphemy. It’s a question that’s worth mulling over though. Is there any chance that next year the Philadelphia Eagles might have room on their roster for a few Washington Commanders?
Longtime owners Daniel and Tanya Snyder have announced they are looking into options for selling the team. If they follow through, there could be coaching and roster turnover during the next offseason.
What that means is this. A few of Washington’s impending free agents could hit the open market come free agency, and there are a handful that could interest the Eagles brass. Here are three such players that qualify.
Here’s a trio of Commanders that could help the Eagles win.
Sure, next year’s free agent class will have more to offer than a pool of former Commanders, but is the Eagles can improve their roster by raiding a rival, why not give it a shot?
Don’t hold Ryan Kerrigan’s failures against these guys. Though some of us are still recovering from the trauma of seeing a broken-down former rival flounder in Philly, these guys could help the Eagles continue their dominance.
Daron Payne, defensive tackle
Daron Payne was taken by Washington with the 13th overall pick during the 2018 NFL Draft. He’s six-foot-three. He tips the scales at 320 pounds and is 25 years old.
In 73 regular season games with 67 starts, he’s racked up 20 sacks, 144 solo tackles (and 262 total stops). He’s also forced four forced fumbles. Philadelphia has already seen how impactful he can be as they witnessed him tackling Boston Scott in the Eagles’ end zone for a safety during the fourth quarter of Week 3’s game.
Payne is in the final year of his rookie deal. He drew interest from several teams at the trade deadline, but apparently, Washington’s asking price was too high. The Commanders gave defensive tackle Jonathan Allen a four-year, $72 million dollar extension last offseason, and that may mean, if Payne is looking for a payday, he may have to explore other options to find it.
The Eagles have decisions to make seeing as how Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave are due to become free agents in 2023, and if they bid farewell to one of them or both of them, Howie Roseman could kick the tires on Payne.
Taylor Heinicke, quarterback
Does Gardner Minshew still want to be a starter? No one would blame him if he did.
He’s thrown for 5,922 yards and 41 touchdowns in 28 career games of which he’s started 22, but he’s played very little as a backup to Jalen Hurts. If he wants to find the magic he demonstrated in 2019 while leading the Jacksonville Jaguars, he’ll need to move on. Taylor Heinicke would be an excellent choice to back up Jalen Hurt as his replacement, especially seeing as how we’ve seen him win in this league.
Heinicke will be a free agent in 2023, but the Commanders could keep him in the fold as they also have the option of releasing Carson Wentz without taking a cap hit next season.
If the decision is to stay with Wentz, they’d owe him more than $26 million. Heinicke has experience as a starter and has thrown for 4,515 yards and 27 touchdowns in 27 career games with 19 starts. He’s also a less expensive option than Carson and has a base salary of $1.5 million this year. He wouldn’t cost the Eagles a fortune if he became available and Philly made a move to get him.
It would make sense for Washington to keep Heinicke around, especially if they draft a young QB next April. They’re also using his likeness on their website to sell 2023 season tickets. New ownership may want a clean slate. If they go that route, Heinicke would look pretty good holding a clipboard in midnight green, assuming he grows a mustache.
Trai Turner, guard
You can never have enough depth along the offensive line. Jason Kelce, Andre Dillard, and two of their guards, Iosua Opeta and Isaac Seumalo, are all scheduled to become free agents next year. Seumalo is 29 years old and has played more than 3,800 snaps if you include what he did in six career playoff appearances.
If Seumalo isn’t in the Eagles’ long-term plans, Trai Turner could be an option. Turner is also 29 years old, but he’s played almost 7,800 snaps. That could be a concern, but he’s a five-time Pro Bowl selection, so the risk may be worth the reward.
Turner can be a hothead at times. Last season, he was fined $15,450 for spitting at a member of the Las Vegas Raiders. Maybe Jeff Stoutland can teach him a few tricks. We just hope those tricks are less dirty.
Of course, next year’s free agent class will have more to offer than just Washington’s players. But if the Eagles can improve the roster by taking players from division rivals, the benefits can be even greater.