NFL rumors: Eagles might lose their two biggest defensive free agents
NFL insider has bad news on Eagles' biggest defensive FAs originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
There's a general sense of anxiety lingering around Eagles fans a month out from their Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs. Free agency begins next week and with the franchise tag deadline behind us, it seems the Birds might be losing some big pieces of the Super Bowl run.
ESPN insider and scoopmaster Adam Schefter joined 97.5 The Fanatic to discuss the upcoming free agency period and what exactly the Eagles are planning to do, hours after safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson tweeted what at least looked like a goodbye video.
So what's going on in Eagles-land? Is everyone headed out the door?
MORE: Mailbag: What’s Eagles' top priority entering free agency?
Here's what Schefter had to say on two crucial Eagles free agents in Gardner-Johnson and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave:
"SCHEFTER: Hargrave is gonna get about $20 million a year, I think. That's my projection going into next week. We'll see if that turns out to be right or wrong. I think he's gonna get the most money of all these guys.
"KINCADE: Would you tell me that means he's gone?
"SCHEFTER: Yeah I think he'll be gone, yeah I think he'll be gone. I don't think they'll be able to afford to re-sign him.
"COONEY: What do you think [Gardner-Johnson] is going to command on the open market?
"SCHEFTER: $13 million a year?
"KINCADE: Do you think he's gone?
"SCHEFTER: Yeah, that'd be my guess."
I think when the season ended, Eagles fans were hopeful that Roseman would go all-in on one of those two players and make a commitment to keeping that guy around. You need top-shelf talent to win in the NFL, and these are two top-shelf players. But it sounds like their respective markets have simply priced the Eagles out of the running as they gear up to pay Jalen Hurts. It makes sense, but it's certainly a bummer.
Schefter went on to hypothesize that cornerback James Bradberry will also be gone, a move that felt I think Eagles fans had already accepted.
If we Gardner-Johnson, Hargrave, and Bradberry off the free agents list, here are the top guys remaining:
(I gave Kelce an asterisk because he technically has a dummy year left on his contract, but that year will void at some point this offseason and he'll effectively be a free agent.)
Of those eight players, I think the Eagles will emphasize Kelce, Graham, Edwards, and Epps. I think they'll actually retain Kelce, Graham, Epps, Scott, and White. I wouldn't be surprised if Edwards played well enough last year to be too expensive for Roseman at a position he historically hasn't valued, especially if he feels he can bring Kyzir White back at a lower price point and have Nakobe Dean slide into a starter role in 2023.
It'll be a fascinating offseason for the Eagles, who have to start making things work on the margins around Hurts' deal. It's never easy.