Eagles free agent tracker: Another ex-Saints player signed, this time at defensive tackle

It is becoming clear that the Eagles of 2023 will look vastly different from the team that went to the Super Bowl last month.

The Eagles had close to 20 free agents as the new league year officially began March 15, about one-third of the 53-man roster, and not nearly enough money to sign them all.

And that also potentially includes a new mega-contract for quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is expected to become one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL based on average annual value.

That has already made for some difficult decisions as the Eagles lost several defensive starters.

Here, then, is a look at all of the moves, rumors and repercussions as the 2023 season officially begins.

Eagles getting another former Saint

It only seems like the Eagles are signing every available Saints player as they are signing defensive tackle Kentavius Street to a one-year contract on March 30. Street had 3.5 sacks last season while playing in all 17 games (he didn't start any).

Street was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round in 2018, 128th overall, out of N.C. State. He was taken three spots after the Eagles took Avonte Maddox and two spots before the Eagles took Josh Sweat. He spent his first three seasons with the 49ers before signing with the Saints last season.

Street will be part of the rotation with Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis and Milton Williams. But he's not as accomplished as Javon Hargrave, who signed a four-year deal worth as much as $84 million with San Francisco.

The Eagles also recently signed former Saint Justin Evans, a safety. Last season, the Eagles made two trades with the Saints − for safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, who left in free agency, and a multi draft-pick swap that has the Eagles picking at No. 10 in the first round in April.

Eagles add a starting safety

A few hours after the Eagles signed right tackle Lane Johnson to an extension, thus lowering his salary cap hit by $10 million (see below), they signed a starting safety in former Steeler Terrell Edmunds.

Edmunds, 26, signed a one-year deal on March 24. Edmunds, 26, was the Steelers' first-round pick in 2018 out of Virginia Tech. He was a full-time starter beginning his rookie season. He has 5 career interceptions. Last season, he had 70 tackles.

The Eagles lost both starting safeties from last season in Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, who signed a one-year deal with the Lions, and Marcus Epps, who signed a two-year deal with the Raiders.

The top safeties returning under contract are Reed Blankenship and K'Von Wallace. Neither has extensive experience, although Blankenship, an undrafted rookie free agent in 2022, did start five games last season when Gardner-Johnson was injured.

Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson (65) gets set to block Arizona Cardinals linebacker Devon Kennard (42) during the second half of an NFL football game in Glendale, Ariz., Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022. The Eagles won 20-17.

Lane Johnson gets a restructure

The Eagles are giving Lane Johnson a one-year contract extension worth $33.4 million with $30 million of it guaranteed. ESPN first reported the news. That will keep the right tackle under contract through 2026. That move significantly lowers Johnson's salary cap hit for this season, which was $24 million.

That could create enough room for the Eagles to sign quarterback Jalen Hurts to a contract extension. The Eagles had $13.9 million in cap space, according to before Johnson's contract extension. It's believed that the extension will clear another $10 million.

Johnson, widely considered the best right tackle in the NFL, is 33 years old. He hasn't allowed a sack in more than 2 years and has been selected to the Pro Bowl four times.

Eagles adding a potential starting LB

The Eagles are reportedly signing former Bears linebacker Nicholas Morrow to a contract. The NFL Network was the first to report this.

Morrow was originally signed by the Raiders as an undrafted free agent in 2017 out of Division III Greenville (Illinois) University. He spent four seasons with them before moving to the Bears last season. He started all 17 games last season with 116 tackles and an interception.

In all, Morrow has played in 79 games, with 46 starts. He has 3 INTs, 4 sacks, 22 passes defensed and 2 forced fumbles.

Morrow is expected to compete for one of the starting jobs at linebacker with the Eagles after both starters T.J. Edwards (Bears) and Kyzir White (Cardinals) left in free agency. Nakobe Dean, the Eagles' third-round pick last spring, is expected to be one of the starters.

Eagles replacing CJGJ, sort of

The Eagles reacted to the loss of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, who signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions, by reportedly signing a safety who didn't play from 2019-21.

Justin Evans, a 2017 second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, might not be the answer to Gardner-Johnson, but he is a veteran who can provide depth and perhaps win a starting job. That's after overcoming a long injury history before playing an entire season in 2022 with New Orleans.

The Eagles also have Reed Blankenship and K'Von Wallace at safety, with players like Avonte Maddox and Josiah Scott who can slide over from nickel.

Evan started 21 out of 24 games in his first two seasons in Tampa Bay, with 4 interceptions. But Evans suffered a toe injury toward the end of the 2018 season that ended his season. Then the following summer he injured his Achilles and missed the entire season.

Evans remained on the physically unable to perform list entering the 2020 season before the Buccaneers waived him with a failed physical designation. Evans didn't play in 2021 either before signing with the New Orleans Saints.

He played in 15 games for New Orleans last season, starting four. He had two passes defensed and a forced fumble.

Getting 'Greedy' at CB

Not only did the Eagles find a way to keep both of their starting cornerbacks in Pro Bowl selection Darius Slay and All Pro James Bradberry, but they are also adding one for depth in Greedy Williams, formerly of the Cleveland Browns.

Williams was the Browns' second-round pick in 2019 out of LSU. He was a full-time starter as a rookie until injuring his hamstring 12 games in. Williams then missed the entire 2020 season with a shoulder injury. He has been a backup ever since, although he did start 8 games in 2021.

The Eagles also have Zech McPhearson and Josh Jobe as reserve cornerbacks on the outside.

Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks Marcus Mariota (1) and Desmond Ridder (4) prepare before a preseason game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022.

Minshew Mania leaving, who'll back up Hurts?

Eagles backup quarterback Gardner Minshew is reportedly signing a one-year deal worth $3.5 million with the Indianapolis Colts. It's a good situation for Minshew, who could have a chance to start while mentoring the quarterback that the Colts are expected to draft with the fourth overall pick.

For the Eagles, Minshew's departure left them with a hole behind Jalen Hurts that lasted for a matter of hours as they reportedly signed Marcus Mariota early Friday morning. Before Mariota's signing, the only other quarterback on the roster is Ian Book, who has played in one game, and that was in 2021 with the New Orleans Saints.

In two seasons with the Eagles, Minshew started four games, going 1-3, completed 62.5% of his passes with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Last season, Minshew started two games in place of Hurts late in the season. He lost both, to the Cowboys in a 40-34 defeat Dec. 24, and 20-10 to the Saints the following week.

Minshew threw for 355 against the Cowboys, but through two critical interceptions. He couldn't move the offense the following week against New Orleans as the Eagles went 3-and-out on their first four possessions.

Miles Sanders leaving, Cox staying

Running back Miles Sanders knew he was gone as soon as the Eagles signed Rashaad Penny on Tuesday. That became official Wednesday night when Sanders signed with the Carolina Panthers. For Sanders, who's coming off a career year with 1,269 yards rushing, it's a reunion with former Eagles running back coach Duce Staley.

And he'll also be the featured back behind the Panthers' new quarterback as Carolina traded up to the No. 1 pick in the draft recently with the Chicago Bears.

But defensive tackle Fletcher Cox is reportedly signing a one-year deal worth $10 million to return for a 13th season. Cox is fifth in team history with 65 sacks, and he has been selected to six Pro Bowls.

Shakeup in secondary

The Eagles headed into the official start of the new year by reworking their secondary. They re-signed cornerback James Bradberry on Tuesday to a three-year deal worth as much as $38 million. The next day, they agreed to an extension with Darius Slay after the 32-year-old was nearly released.

Slay, a five-time Pro Bowl player, is 32 years old, is entering the final season of his three-year, $50 million contract. He would have counted $26 million on the salary cap. Slay got a 3-year, $42 million extension with $23 million guaranteed.

Those signings led the Eagles to move on from safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, who signed with the Detroit Lions.

The Eagles already lost the other starting safety Marcus Epps to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders scores during the first half of the NFC Championship NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Eagles add RB, keep another (not Sanders)

After a first day in which four players are leaving, the Eagles are actually adding a player as they're reportedly signing Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny to a one-year contract.

Penny, a 2018 first-round pick out of San Diego State, has had injury problems throughout his career. Penny hasn't played in more than 10 games since his rookie season. He played just five games last season, but had 346 yards, averaging 6.1 yards per carry.

For his career, Penny has averaged 5.7 yards per carry.

Penny's signing means that Miles Sanders, who had a career-high 1,269 yards rushing last season, won't be returning. That was cemented later on Tuesday when the Eagles re-signed Boston Scott to a one-year deal worth as much as $2 million.

Sanders acknowledged that he won't be back by tweeting "To the city of Philadelphia Thank You from the bottom of my heart" with a heart-shaped emoji at the end.

That doesn't mean Penny will necessarily be the main back like Sanders. In addition to Scott, the Eagles have Kenny Gainwell, who had an increasing role as the season went on, along with Trey Sermon, who was the 49ers' third-round pick in 2021.

In addition, the Eagles could also draft a running back with one of their early-round picks. But if healthy this season, Penny could have a significant role in the offense.

Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Andre Dillard walks on the field before the start of an NFL football training camp practice in Philadelphia, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.

Eagles lose first offensive lineman, while Kelce stays

Longtime center Jason Kelce perhaps began a chain reaction on the offensive line when he posted on social media that he will return for a 13th season. That severely diminished the chances of right guard Isaac Seumalo returning since Cam Jurgens was drafted in 2022 to replace either Kelce or Seumalo.

And after guard Chris Lindstrom signed a five-year deal worth as much as $105 million with the Falcons, it certainly seemed like Seumalo priced himself out of returning.

But the Eagles also lost another offensive lineman when it was reported that Andre Dillard will sign with the Tennessee Titans for three years and as much as $29 million. Dillard was the Eagles' first-round pick in 2019, but he was beaten out for the starting job at left tackle by Jordan Mailata to start the 2021 season.

Dillard has proven to be a serviceable backup, both at left tackle and left guard, but he will get the chance to start with the Titans, most likely at a starters salary. The Eagles weren't going to pay that for a backup blocked by Mailata and Landon Dickerson at left guard.

Starting safety (not that one) also leaving

Marcus Epps is joining the exodus of defensive starters as he will reportedly sign a 2-year deal worth as much as $12 million with the Raiders.

Epps became a full-time starter for the first time in his career last season, and played 99% of the defensive snaps. That could be a sign that the Eagles will try hard to keep Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. The Eagles currently have Reed Blankenship, K'Von Wallace under contract for 2023.

Gardner-Johnson tied for the NFL lead in interceptions last season with 6 despite missing five games. But it will cost the Eagles plenty to keep him. A good gauge would be Jesse Bates' four-year deal worth reportedly as much as $64 million with the Falcons.

Eagles' top D-tackle is signing with 49ers

The Eagles' key losses in free agency began quickly as defensive tackle Javon Hargrave will reportedly sign a four-year deal worth as much as $84 million.

Hargrave had a career-high 11 sacks last season and became one of the top free agent defensive tackles. Hargrave clearly outperformed his previous contract, 3 years for $39 million that the Eagles signed him to in 2020. Fletcher Cox is also a free agent, and he could be leaving, too.

Hargrave's departure means that the only defensive tackles under contract for 2023 are young players Jordan Davis, Milton Williams and Marlon Tuipulotu.

Eagles losing both starting LBs

It didn't take long for the Chicago Bears to work out a deal for linebacker T.J. Edwards, reportedly agreeing to a three-year deal worth as much as $19.5 million on Monday. He's not the only one leaving as Kyzir White is reportedly signing a two-year deal worth as much as $11 million with the Arizona Cardinals, whose head coach is former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.

Edwards had 159 tackles last season, the second most in team history. White added 110 tackles after signing a one-year deal for $5 million last spring.

The Eagles have Nakobe Dean, the third-round pick in 2022, ready to replace one of them. The other starter could come from either Davion Taylor and Shaun Bradley, although neither has significant experience. The Eagles could also find a starter in free agency or through the draft.

Bradberry: Eagles want chance to match an offer

One of the Eagles' top free agents, cornerback James Bradberry, told NFL reporter Josina Anderson that the Eagles want the chance to match any offer that Bradberry gets in free agency.

"I would love to play for the Eagles," Bradberry told Anderson. "I definitely see how bright the future is ... I'm also anticipating interest from other teams too. So they told me whoever calls, just make sure I also give them the chance to match."

Don't mistake that for meaning that the Eagles will match any offer. They likely have a price in mind that they won't go over. After all, if the Eagles really wanted to keep Bradberry, they would not have let him get to free agency in the first place. The same is true of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, whom they didn't place the franchise tag on, or defensive tackle Javon Hargrave.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (55) reacts while leaving the field following an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the New York Giants on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 38-7.

Brandon Graham deciding to stay

Graham could have easily become a highly sought free agent, even as he nears his 35th birthday next month. After all, the Eagles' longest-tenured player as a first-round pick in 2010, is coming off a career-high 11 sacks despite playing only 43% of the snaps.

Yet Graham will sign a one-year deal to return for up to $6 million, which was first reported by ESPN. The Eagles later confirmed Graham's return.

Graham could have gotten at least a two-year deal, most likely for more money, had he decided to test free agency.

The Cleveland Browns, with former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in the same role in Cleveland, were reportedly interested. And it's possible that the Arizona Cardinals, with another former Eagles defensive coordinator at the helm in Jonathan Gannon, could have been interested as well.

But Graham told ESPN that he directed his agent to get a deal done with the Eagles before free agency even began "so I wouldn't have to go through that part. I'm just so happy everything came to fruition."

Graham then added: "It wasn't even about no money. It was more about wanting to be an Eagle as long as I could still play at a high level."

Graham is fourth in Eagles history with 70 sacks, six behind Clyde Simmons.

Darius Slay moving on?

ESPN reported Friday that the Eagles gave Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay and agent Drew Rosenhaus permission to seek a trade.

It makes sense from a financial standpoint. Slay is 32 years old, entering the final year of his contract, and he counts $26 million against the salary cap for 2023.

The Eagles could restructure Slay's contract. But that would add additional guaranteed years, and it's likely that the Eagles aren't willing to do that at his age. Slay is coming off his fifth Pro Bowl season, so he no doubt feels like he can still play at an elite level beyond this season.

Slay, who had three interceptions last season, posted on the Montgomery&Co podcast recently that he would welcome an extension with the Eagles.

“I want an extension with the Eagles. I love the Eagles," Slay said on the podcast. "I love that money so, of course, I’m going to be talking about it this offseason. That’s everyone; that’s what we all do when we’ve got one year left on our deal.”

The ESPN report indicated that the Eagles are hopeful of working out a solution to keep Slay.

But other than a significant pay cut, that seems hard to imagine. By trading Slay, the Eagles could save $16.8 million on the cap if they designate the trade after June 1 (they would take a $12 million salary cap hit in 2024, however).

The Eagles traded for Slay in 2020, giving the Detroit Lions a third-round and fifth-round pick. It's hard to imagine the Eagles getting that much in return now.

Eagles restructure kicker

The first restructure began Friday with kicker Jake Elliott, who restructured his deal to save $2.5 million on the salary cap. The Eagles did this by converting his salary for 2023 into a signing bonus.

The Eagles can save significantly more money by doing the same with right tackle Lane Johnson, who counts $24 million against the salary cap. By restructuring Johnson, the Eagles can save another $10-12 million on the cap.

Contact Martin Frank at Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Eagles free agent tracker: Kentavius Street signed, another ex-Saints