8 remaining NFL free agents with Eagles connections

No, we didn't say the Eagles should sign these guys. We just thought you might be curious.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Philadelphia Eagles news
Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Philadelphia Eagles news / Rey Del Rio/GettyImages

During this slow news cycle, we took time to backtrack and do inventory. There was seemingly no end to the frenzy that connected the Senior Bowl, Pro Days, Top 30 Visits, several waves of free agency, and the NFL Draft. The Philadelphia Eagles have been an exciting watch. They have also been busy. Overall, they have done a great job with tweaking things.

Rookie minicamp, OTAs, and mandatory minicamp have all been completed. It's July, so it's break time. Training camp and the preseason will be here before you know it.

90 men are on the current preseason roster. That is standard. Le'Raven Clark is on the injured reserve list while Laekin Vakalahi enjoys a special roster exemption for being an international player. We expect the Birds aren't done tweaking their roster though. More changes are probably on the way.

Justin Simmons owns a name that has been tossed around Eagles-tinged circles for a while. Some believe he's a piece that will be added. Expect more buzz if that happens.

Here's something else worth noting. Several former Eagles, like Simmons are still searching for their next opportunity. They may not find that in Philly, but they are certainly familiar faces that we'd like to mention.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai, offensive lineman

Big V, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, has come a long way from being embarrassed by Ryan Kerrigan. To his credit, he's a Super Bowl Champion that filled in admirably after the Birds lost Jason Peters during their run to a title. He parlayed that resume into a five-year, $50 million deal with the Detroit Lions, one that has ended.

Where might he land? It will be interesting to learn the answer to that question.

Julio Jones, wide receiver

Julio Jones told us a fib. He said there was a lot more in the tank and that we'd see once he strapped on the cleats for Philly. As it turns out, 'he was who we thought he was' (may Dennis Green continue to rest in peace). He's a future Pro Football Hall of Famer who may not have much left in the tank at this point.

He turned the clock back a few times this season. He is, however, relying more on a well-deserved reputation at this point. Whether that helps him earn another deal is anybody's guess at this point.

Jason Peters, offensive tackle

Okay, here's a serious question. Can guys hurt themselves by stacking too many bad years on the backend of what was a brilliant NFL career? It feels like people are beginning to forget how good Jason Peters was.

A two-time First-team All-Pro (2011, 2013), The Bodyguard earned four
Second-team All-Pro nods (2007, 2008, 2010, 2014) while stacking nine Pro Bowl nods and a place on the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team. His resume screams 'future Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee', but he'll never be eligible if he never retires.

Hassan Ridgeway, interior defensive lineman

You forgot about this young man, didn't you? Hassan Ridgeway played three seasons in Philly (2019-2021). He started six of 31 in-game appearances, That led to 39 tackles, five sacks, and a forced fumble.

He has enjoyed stops in Sab Fracisco and Houston since his time in the City of Brotherly Love. He turns 30 in November but can still provide quality snaps for an interested franchise.

Linval Joseph, interior defensive lineman

Linval Joseph is a lot older than Ridgeway, especially seeing as how the NFL can sometimes age guys faster than normal. He turns 36 in October, but during his time in Philly, he was one of the better interior defensive linemen Philly had on the 53-man roster.

He does his job. Plug holes, be immovable, and let your teammates play cleanup. He spent last season with the Buffalo Bills, but he'll do the trick if any team needs him to fill a void if any unforeseen injuries occur.

Shaq Leonard, linebacker

When the Eagles added Shaq Leonard early in December, they hoped they'd get some version of the guy who was formerly an All-Pro and Pro Bowler (or at least something surprisingly better than we had hoped). Sadly, that isn't who Shaq Leonard is anymore.

He appeared in five games with three starts. 11 tackles and a sack came from that arrangement. He awaits another opportunity but may never be the guy we saw with the Colts again.

Rudy Ford, safety

Rudy Ford was a special teams ace during his two seasons in Philly, playing 212 ST snaps in 2019 (ten games) and another 139 in 2020. That's roughly 77% and 65% of Philly's overall total during those seasons.

Ford has since spent the 2021 NFL season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was in Green Bay with the Packers from 2022 to 2023. The resume is as follows: 203 tackles, six interceptions, a forced fumble, 12 pass breakups, and one half-sack. He could land somewhere but probably only after there is an injury.

Zach Cunningham, linebacker

Zach Cunningham has never been the level of player that Leonard was when the latter was at his best, but he led the NFL in solo (106) and combined tackles (164) in 2020. That's certainly something to be proud of.

In Philly (13 games with ten starts), he notched 85 tackles and four pass breakups. He isn't elite. He certainly isn't terrible. Long story short, he deserves to be playing somewhere.

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