When the NFL’s free agency begins on March 16, the Eagles will seek to strengthen the list that reached the playoffs in Year 1 under Nick Siriani.
We will look for position by position for some possible purposes. We started with running backs, receivers, quarterbacks, offensive strikers and secret ends and defensive fights. Today we will look at the defense points.
The Eagles will lose Derek Barnett and Ryan Kerrigan to a vacancy, and the defense may be at the top of their list of needs. While Josh Sweet is on a long-term contract, their other top DE is 34-year-old Brandon Graham, who is coming out after an Achilles injury. They really need to improve here. They can do it in the draft, but they can also do it in a free agency.
Here are 10 defensive options that could interest the Eagles in the vacancy:
Emanuel Ogba: After two years in Miami with 9 consecutive seasons, Ogbah is probably on the line for a nice payday this off-season. The former No. 32 player in the 2016 draft played three seasons in Cleveland and one in Kansas City before joining the Dolphins a few years ago. His two years in Miami showed him that he was thriving a little later and now he is in line to get a good contract. He will certainly receive more than the two-year $ 15 million deal he made with the Dolphins over the past few seasons.
Jadeveon Clowns: He is now 29 and the former No. 1 is a few years old from his three consecutive Pro Bowls in 2016-18, but he is still a really good player. And if the Eagles want Clowns, it’ll probably come with a one-year deal; he has become a mercenary in recent seasons. But Clowney is still really solid. With the Browns in 2021, he had nine layoffs and 19 quarterback hits in 14 games. And despite all the attention he gets as a pass, he has always been very tough against running.
Haason Reddick: Bring him home, right? Haddon Heights and Temple will soon be a free agent, and bringing it to Eagles would make some sense. Reddick was selected as a midfielder outside the ball, but has since returned to the frontier player. His last year with the Cardinals, Reddick had 12 1/2 bags and followed him with a season of 11 1/2 bags in Carolina in 2021. Still only 27, Reddick must guarantee a solid contract. I put Reddick here with the other players in the foreground, but in defending the Eagles, he may be better suited to the SAM position in Jonathan Gannon’s scheme. That was the role of Jennard Avery in 2021, so that would be a huge improvement. But it would also mean that Gannon will have to find more ways to keep this player on the field.
Al-Quadin Mohammed: The Colts retained Muhammad (6-4, 250) last year on a one-year contract, but he is again a free agent and the 27-year-old, who will soon become one, is coming out of his first full season as a starter. In 2021, he started all 17 games for the Colts and had 6 jacks, 13 QB hits and 48 rebounds. The Colts have a few younger DEs in Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo, so they may be feeling good leaving Muhammad to walk. If he does, maybe the meeting with Gannon and Siriani in Philadelphia is at stake.
Kemoko Turai: Another player with an Indy connection is Turay. The former Rutgers second-round pick is still just 26 and has only started three games in four years with the Colts. In 2021, he played in 13 games and had 5 1/2 sacks. Turai is struggling with some to stay healthy, playing only 13 games in total in 2019 and 2020, but was on the field 13 last season. These injuries can help reduce its cost.
Harold Landry: The former second-round pick has played a lot for the Titans since being drafted in 2018 and had a year in his career in 2021 with 12 sacks, 75 shots and 22 QB hits on his way to the Pro Bowl. Landry has a lot of experience, but he will not turn 26 until June. He played as an OLB in 3-4 at Tennessee and with 252 pounds may be a little smaller than DE in 4-3, but he can still play some hybrid role in Gannon’s defense, which is quite multiple anyway .
Justin Houston: I think there is a good chance the Eagles will use one of their choices in the first round of defense and there will be some good options. So maybe they can pre-pair this first round with a one-year veteran on loan. No, that didn’t go well with Ryan Kerrigan in 2021, but it might be worth trying with another player. Houston is now 33, but still plays at a fairly high level in Baltimore last season. He is a long way from his days as a professional bowler, but had 11 jackets with the Colts in 2019 and 8 sacks with the Colts in 2020 as a defensive end in defense of Matt Eberflus. Oh, yes, Siriani and Gannon were in that staff, too.
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Charles Harris: Another possible late-blooming, former first-round pick had a career-high 7 1/2 sack in Detroit in 2021 and finally stayed healthy. The risk here is that you give a person a multi-year deal after a good season in a contract year, but it could be a solid part of the rotation over the next few years at Philly.
Dante Fowler: After two years in Atlanta, the Falcons moved from the former selection to the first round. Fowler’s best season came in 2019 with Rams, when he had 11 1/2 bags. During his career, he played in many schemes and would fit well in the defense of Gannon, who rushes from different fronts. It is worth noting that Eagles CEO Dave Caldwell was CEO of Jacksonville when they used Fowler’s number 3 in 2015.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo: With Rams, the 26-year-old Okoronquo is buried behind some first-class talents in the defensive line and may have to go elsewhere to see more consistent playing time. He was relatively productive in a small sample, but there is some question as to whether this would translate into a larger role. But it is a cheap and somewhat productive rotation option for Eagles.
Arden key: After being cut by the Raiders last April, Kee (6-5, 240) signed a one-year contract with the 49ers and had the best season of his career. He played in all 17 games as a rotating player and had 6 1/2 jacks in 374 clicks in defense. Key can be a fun spinning pass for Eagles and Gannon can use it in several different ways. For the right price, this may make sense.