‘Shutdown Corner’ offseason TPS report: Philadelphia Eagles

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

Over the next few weeks, "Shutdown Corner" will pay homage to "Office Space" (TPS reports) as we take a quick look back at each team's 2012 season and a look at what lies ahead for the 2013 offseason. We now head to the NFC and begin in the NFC East and the Philadelphia Eagles.

2012 record: 4-12

What went wrong: The Eagles opened the 2012 season by winning three of their first four games – by four points combined – before losing 11 of their next 12 games, going the entire months of October and November without wins to finish 4-12 and missing out on the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Andy Reid was clearly on his way out, quarterback Michael Vick accounted for more turnovers (15) than touchdowns (13) and concussed then benched for rookie Nick Foles, who Reid had hoped to hitch his wagon to get another year in Philly.

Running back LeSean McCoy signed a big-money extension, but missed a month with a concussion and was kept out of the end zone for the final two months of the season. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson was also signed to a large extension and a so-so season – Jackson ranked 70th among NFL wide receivers in Football Outsiders' receiving DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) metric - before landing on injured reserve in November with fractured ribs. Injuries also decimated an Eagles offensive line that would play the entire season without Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters (two torn Achilles), most of the season without center Jason Kelce (torn ACL) in Week 2) and lose right tackle Todd Herremans to a foot injury midway through the season.

Despite the injuries and inconsistency at the skill positions, the Eagles ranked 15th in total offense, but struggled in the red zone, ranking 28th in red zone efficiency and were dead last in goal-to-go percentage, leading to an effort that produced just 17.5 points per game, which ranked 29th, one spot behind the New York Jets' juggernaut offense.

Philadelphia's defense also ranked in the middle of the pack (15th), but when you adjust for opponent, which Football Outsiders does, the Eagles ranked 26th in defensive DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average). That's what happens when you move a solid offensive line coach (Juan Castillo) to the defensive side of the ball. According to FO, the Eagles were 32nd against the pass, which speaks more to the touchdowns (33) than yards per game (216.9) that unit allowed.

What went right: Very little went right for the Eagles, but there were a few bright spots. For starters, third-round quarterback Nick Foles did not look out of place when he took over for Michael Vick late in the season. In seven games, Foles completed over 60 percent of his pass attempts for 1,699 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions (three of which came in his first two games) for a 79.1 passer rating. At the very least, the Eagles have a quality backup who could be a valuable commodity on future trade markets.

The Eagles' 2012 draft also produced seventh-round running back Bryce Brown, who ran for 367 yards and four touchdowns in his first two starts for a concussed LeSean McCoy. The 6-foot, 223-pound Brown will be a very good complementary piece to McCoy moving forward. Defensively, first-round defensive lineman Fletcher Cox tied for the team lead with 5.5 sacks, picking up at least one sack in four of the final six games. Second-round linebacker Mychal Kendricks was third on the team in tackles (75) and passes defensed (10) and should be a natural fit in a 3-4 defense.

Coaching/front office changes: Andy Reid was fired after the Eagles missed the playoffs for a second consecutive year, posting a 4-12 record, the franchise's worst mark since a 3-13 effort under Ray Rhodes in 1998, the year before Reid was hired. After initially turning down the Eagles, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly changed his mind and signed a five-year contract worth a reported $32.5 million. Kelly continued the Philadelphia-Cleveland pipeline, hiring former Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur to be his offensive coordinator and former Browns linebackers coach Bill Davis is the defensive coordinator, which indicates that the Eagles will be moving to a 3-4 defense. The Eagles beefed up their front office by naming Tom Gamble their vice president of player personnel.

Estimated 2013 cap space: $24.672 million

Possible cap casualties: With over $23 million in cap space to carryover from 2012 into 2013, the Eagles will have one of the league's highest "adjusted cap numbers" this season. Still, the club may look to save cash and create more space, a process that already began when offensive tackle Demetress Bell was released, a move that saved $9.6 million in cash and cap space, and the restructuring of Michael Vick's contract, which could saved $5 million to $8 million in cash.

The Eagles could restructure the contract of cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who is due $15 million in base salary, $4 million of which is fully guaranteed. Left tackle Jason Peters is coming off a pair of torn Achilles and is scheduled to earn $10.75 million, including a $10.4 million base salary. The Eagles could save nearly $11 million in cash and $10.458 million in cap space by releasing Peters. With a move to a 3-4 defense possible, if not likely, they could save more cash and cap space by releasing a pair of veteran defenders. Inside linebacker Demeco Ryans, acquired last offseason from the Houston Texans, may be a square peg in a round hole in a 3-4 system would save $6.7 million in cash and cap space. Defensive lineman Mike Patterson, who missed most of 2012, would save $3 million in cash and cap space if he were released.

Unrestricted free agents

Jon Dorenbos, LS
King Dunlap, OT
Akeem Jordan, LB
Derek Landri, DT
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB
Jake Scott, G
Darryl Tapp, DE

Restricted free agents

Colt Anderson

RFA tender amounts in 2013 are:

• $1.323 million for right of first refusal and/or original draft round compensation

• $2.023 for right of first refusal and second round draft selection

• $2.879 for right of first refusal and first round draft selection

Franchise Tag candidates: The Eagles could use the franchise tag on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who led the team with three interceptions and 17 passes defensed after seeing his playing-time increase from 45.83 percent in 2011 to 94.75 percent in the post-Asante Samuel season of 2012. Based on a projected league-wide cap number just north of $121 million, the cornerback franchise tag would be worth $10.686 million in 2013. Along with the $15 million due to Asomugha, franchising Rodgers-Cromartie would give the Eagles the league's highest-paid cornerback tandem.

Previous installments of the "Offseason TPS Reports" series:

AFC East: New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns
AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans
AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos

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