7 free agents the Philadelphia Eagles were wise to avoid

Sometimes, we learn the things we think we need aren't the best things for us.

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans -  Jordan Davis & Milton Williams, Philadelphia Eagles
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans - Jordan Davis & Milton Williams, Philadelphia Eagles / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

When this story is finally published, the NBA Playoffs will be less than a month away. Major League Baseball's Opening Day is even closer. We have about a week until that happens. March Madness has brought... well... the madness. But, here we are. As usual, all we have thought about is the Philadelphia Eagles and what they have been up to.

If we aren't checking out our phones every five minutes to see if there's been an update (or a new signing), we're firing up the PlayStation or Xbox to try and adjust the roster on Madden. We read every mock draft. We've written a few of our own. We've drawn up depth charts on looseleaf sheets of paper.

As is often the case, our curiosity extends past midnight-green-tinged announcements. Free agency's frenzy hasn't disappointed as we trade one wave for yet another.

Great players have found new homes. We'd be lying if we said we weren't interested to see where former Birds would land. Will they live up to their newfound hype? Some may not, but we wish them all luck anyway.

That brings us to the names that were a part of the hometown rumor mills. Yeah, we've been keeping up with the guys some of us said we wanted. This is a story about guys the Birds chose to ignore.

Free agency is a crap shoot. Huge wins, surprises, and buyer's remorse is a part of the deal. We've got a little time, so let's explore another angle.

Here's a look at seven 2024 free agents the Eagles were wise to avoid.

Here's a life lesson. Sometimes, we won't get everything we want. Oftentimes, we'll also learn that we are lucky to have that happen. Sometimes, the things (or people) we think we need aren't the best things for us. Remember that, and you'll save yourselves a lot of irritation.

Perhaps that's a tad too deep of a take for some expected free-agency misses, but hey, it's been an eventful week. Let's make long stories shorter. Here are seven guys we're glad our Birds ignored.

D'Andre Swift, Chicago Bears (Signed for three years and $24M)

No one's saying D'Andre Swift can't ball, but 2023 was the second straight season that a good but limited tailback earned a Pro Bowl nod while running behind the best line in football. We're going to miss Swift, but as days pass, we're falling more in love with the Saquon Barkley signing.

Chicago paid Swift based off of his previous year's production. The Carolina Panthers did the same with Miles Sanders. Look at where it got them.

Saquon is a better player than D'Andre. The former has seen his share of injuries, but the latter has too. And, you can't run Swift often because he needs to be kept on a pitch count.

Xavier McKInney, Green Bay Packers ($68M over four years)

Xavier McKinney was the best safety option available that made his way to free agency, but while it would have been fun to watch three former Giants beat up Big Blue while rocking the midnight green, $17 million per season is a lot to shell out for the safety position.

We've given C.J. Gardner-Johnson a hard time, but we'd rather have his deal on the books than the deal McKinney signed.

Calvin Ridley, Tennessee Titans ($92M over four years)

As often as the Eagles have expressed interest in Calvin Ridley, you have to wander if they entertained his addition before he landed with the Titans.

Gabe Davis is an interesting replacement for Ridley in Jacksonville. Despite a memorable playoff game he once had, he isn't very consistent. We thought Ridley would stay in Duval County anyway or land with the New England Patriots, but the Two-Tone Blue swooped in. Now, all they need to do is figure out the quarterback position.

As far as the Philly angle here, $23 million for Ridley just seems unwise when A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are already on the roster.

EDGE Andrew Van Ginkel, Minnesota Vikings ($20M over two seasons)

Andrew Van Ginkel has reunited again with Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores after the two spent a few years together in Miami. For a while, we thought the Vic Fangio angle might woo him to Philadelphia.

Van Ginkel has a bit of an injury history, but he was great in 2023 as the Fins juggled bodies on defense because of injuries. $10 million per season? We don't know about that when discussing so many unknowns. We'll stick with the Bryce Huff acquisition. He's still ascending and one of the superior young edge rushers the NFL can mention.

Derrick Henry, Baltimore Ravens ($16M over two seasons)

Derrick Henry still has some tread left on the tire. He isn't what he once was, but Baltimore can do a lot worse than adding The King to their offensive backfield.

Like other great Titans before him (Steve McNair and Derrick Mason), Henry leaves Tennessee to join the Baltimore Ravens. He carries a lower price tag than Saquon Barkley, but at this point in their careers, Barkley might be a slightly better player who can aid Philly in the passing game.

Jon Runyan, New York Giants (three years, $30M)

Jon Runyan is the son of an Eagles legend and a solid, durable player, but the Pakers were fine with moving on. We probably should have seen that coming.

Runyan started every game in 2023, but Green Bay subbed him out a lot with second-year guard Sean Rhyan. That could mean nothing. It could also mean more than we're discussing.

Worth mentioning: Justin Simmons

Current status: still unsigned at story's release

Even after the reacquisition of C.J. Gardner-Johnson, rumors of Philly's interest in Justin Simmons continue to swirl. He's a four-time Second-Team All-Pro (2019, 2021–2023) and a two-time Pro Bowler (2020, 2023). He, C.J. tied for the most interceptions in the NFL during the 2022 season with six apiece.

Though we're referencing guys the Eagles were wise to avoid, we're going to cheat and straddle the fence. Our opinions of a possible Eagles acquisition of the former Fangio disciple vary from day to day. Today, we aren't really feeling the idea, but that could change tomorrow. Put an asterisk by his name.

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