2023 Philadelphia Eagles Offseason Preview
The Eagles entered the 2022 season still licking their wounds from a playoff beatdown at the hands of Tampa Bay. They showed incredible promise leading up to the loss but were clearly in a class below the NFL's elite. In the offseason, Eagles GM Howie Roseman gave his seal of approval to Jalen Hurts by trading for A.J. Brown and signing the alpha receiver to a $100 million extension. Add in a few savvy moves to help the defense and Philly was ready to make the leap in 2022. Hurts went from intriguing to unstoppable. Philadelphia's defense improved from solid to historic. These jumps propelled Philly to the No. 1 seed in the NFC. A series of weak opponents helped them make the Super Bowl, but they proved their worth on the biggest stage, taking the Chiefs to the brink before falling to a game-winning drive from Patrick Mahomes.
Key Offensive Stats
Points per game: 28.1 (3rd)
EPA per play: 0.1 (3rd)
Dropback EPA per play: 0.12 (7th)
Passing yards per game: 241.5 (9th)
Rush EPA per play: 0.07 (1st)
Rush yards per game: 147.6 (5th)
Putting Brown in the Eagles' offense supercharged a unit that was already teeming with potential. There was simply no statistical measure that didn't see Hurts as an elite passer. He ranked top-five in yards per attempt, QBR, EPA per play, and Pro Football Focus passing grade. Hurts threw for 3,701 yards and 22 scores while rushing for another 760 yards and 13 scores. The bulk of his passing production was funneled to Brown and DeVonta Smith. Brown went for 1,496 yards and Smith reached 1,196. They also accounted for 72 percent of the Eagles' passing scores. On the ground, Miles Sanders had a career year as well, running for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Key Defensive Stats
Points per game: 20.2 (8th)
EPA per play: -0.06 (4th)
Dropback EPA per play: -0.09 (1st)
Passing yards per game: 179.8 (1st)
Rush EPA per play: -0.02 (23rd)
Rush yards per game: 121.6 (16th)
Not to be outdone by the ascending offense, Philly's defense reached new heights in 2022. Their pass-rush was menacing, racking up the third-most sacks for a team in NFL history. They were also the first team ever to have four different players reach double-digit sacks. Those players were Haason Reddick with 16 sacks and Josh Sweat, Javon Hargrave, and Brandon Graham all at 11 takedowns. In the secondary, Darius Slay was as dominant as ever and the Eagles complimented him with multiple new faces. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was acquired from the Saints for late-round picks and intercepted six passes. James Bradberry, added on a one-year deal after the Giants cut him, broke up 17 passes and picked off three throws of his own. The Eagles' only weakness was their poor run defense, but even that issue was solved after they added Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh midseason.
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Draft Picks (Top-150)
10th, 30th, 62nd, and 94th
Notable Free Agents
S Marcus Epps, CB James Bradberry, LG Isaac Seumalo, LB T.J. Edwards, LB Kyzir White, S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, DT Fletcher Cox, DT Javon Hargrave, RB Miles Sanders, EDGE Robert Quinn, and DT Ndamukong Suh
WR Quez Watkins ($2.7 million in savings)
Philadelphia gave Slay permission to seek a trade, but the Pro Bowl corner did not ask to be moved, meaning the Eagles are giving him a chance to remain on his current contract but with a new team. Slay has said he wants to stay in Philly and mentioned an extension as a way of lowering his cap hit in 2023. If a trade partner isn't found and the two sides don't agree to a restructured or extended contract, Slay could be cut and designated as a post-June 1 release, saving the Eagles $17.5 million against the cap.
Corner and safety are both sever needs for the Eagles, but with Slay likely gone and Bradberry likely to walk in free agency, cornerback is now at the top of the list.
The Eagles put a bandage on this position through midseason signings but they obviously weren't finding any long-term solutions at defensive tackle in November. With Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave also hitting the open market, this position will need to be filled by bringing back a veteran or two and through the draft.
Philly doesn't need to address this position with loads of money or a first-round pick, but Roseman himself talked about how hard it is to lean on a single running back while at the combine. They could opt to pair Kenneth Gainwell with a veteran like D'Onta Foreman or Rashaad Penny.
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The Eagles made the playoffs in their first season under a new staff and then went to the Super Bowl in the second year. They were bound to see some of their brightest minds get hired away, and that is exactly what happened. Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon were both tabbed for head coaching gigs by other teams. Linebackers coach Nick Rallis followed Gannon to Arizona and defensive quality control coach Joe Kasper left for Miami. The team also mutually parted ways with defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson. The most notable replacements were Sean Desai at defensive coordinator and Brian Johnson at offensive coordinator. Desai is a well-respected defensive mind in league circles and was interviewed by numerous teams to fill their DC vacancies. Johnson was promoted from quarterbacks coach to OC, a logical move given Hurts' success in two years with him.
Philly's success in 2022 came at great costs on multiple fronts. Their coaching staff was gutted and they are losing far more free agents than they can afford to replace this offseason. This is where the Howie magic comes in. Roseman has done an excellent job of extracting value from both his own team and other rosters. Despite playing in the Super Bowl, the Eagles have a top-10 pick in the draft, acquired by trading a first-rounder to the Saints last year. They also have the Saints' second-round pick in 2024. Multiple key players on their defense were castoffs from other teams that they acquired for minimal draft capital or team-friendly contracts. Roseman has the tall task of restocking the defense this offseason, but, with most of his offense under contract, he should be able to keep Philly firmly atop the NFC standings.