Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.
Charley Casserly of NFL.com thinks Jeremy Maclin is the top free agent wide receiver on the market:
I would take a long, hard look at Jeremy Maclin, despite the fact that he missed the entire 2013 campaign with a torn ACL. In my opinion, Maclin is the best receiver on this list, so why not start there?
My contract offer obviously would factor in his current physical condition, though it’s worth noting that in today’s NFL, players routinely come back and play well after ACL injuries. And Maclin has youth on his side: The 2009 first-round pick turns 26 in May.
And Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com thinks Maclin could be undervalued:
Every season, teams undervalue players coming off injury. It happened with Michael Bennett last year. It could happen with Jeremy Maclin this year. He’s a solid contributor who could be available at a bargain rate.
Doug Farrar and Chris Burke of SI.com rank every team based on offseason outlook. They’ve got the Eagles at No. 8:
Free agency could sting but not debilitate the Eagles, should they lose the likes of Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Nate Allen and that Michael Vick guy. Fortunately, they look to have $20 million-plus in cap space at their disposal. Howie Roseman did some nice work on the fly last offseason, helping move the roster from Andy Reid to Chip Kelly. But Reid wielded the power during Roseman’s first three years (2010-12), so Philly’s GM still has something to prove.
Farrar has the Eagles taking TCU CB Jason Verrett in his mock draft:
Similarly, as Chip Kelly’s offense comes together in its second NFL season, pass coverage will be at a premium. Verrett would be a great addition to Billy Davis’ aggressive defense. He can trail receivers, will undercut routes with aplomb and is tough enough to provide run support.
Ashley Fox of ESPN.com believes the Eagles have the structure in place to draft Michael Sam:
The Philadelphia Eagles are another possibility. The Eagles withstood the first major crisis of the Chip Kelly era — Riley Cooper’s racial epithet — because Michael Vick touted the power of second chances and forgiveness. Cooper’s remark could have shattered the Eagles’ locker room last season, but it didn’t.
Last season in Philadelphia was all about the program, the program, the program. With each win, it became easier to believe in what Kelly was preaching. That’s why a team that finished 4-12 in Andy Reid’s final season was able to win the NFC East one year later. Not everybody was friends with Cooper, but Eagles players knew he could help them win. That’s what mattered most.
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has the Eagles taking Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard at No. 22:
The Eagles need to upgrade their secondary and Dennard is a physical cornerback with outstanding ball skills.
Brent Sobleski of USA Today outlines a couple safety options for the Eagles in the draft:
Calvin Pryor (Louisville): During his time at Oregon, Kelly preferred safeties who provided a physical presence. Chung and current Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward set the tone for the Ducks’ defense. Pryor is an all-around safety who has the size to play in the box and the speed to cover deep. If the team passes on a wide receiver in the first round, Pryor is a good alternative.
Dion Bailey (USC): During Bailey’s career at USC, he converted from safety to linebacker back to safety. Bailey has natural instincts against the run, but he’s also athletic enough to cover in space. Bailey, who declared after his junior year, is a solid option after the first round.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk takes a look at the Eagles’ franchise tag situation:
For the second straight year, the Eagles have limited free agents. The biggest names are at receiver, but with DeSean Jackson already making $10 million in 2014, it’s hard to justify giving more than that to Riley Cooper. And with Jeremy Maclin recovering from a torn ACL suffered in training camp, it would be foolish to guarantee that much cash and cap space. Punter Donnie Jones could be an option for the tag, given the low magnitude of the franchise tag for specialists.
Davis Hsu of the terrific Seahawks blog, Field Gulls, has his eye on the Eagles this offseason:
Team to watch is PHILLY, nailed the Coach, may have nailed QB, have single digit 2014 UFAs, & have huge rollover- can’t ask for better setup
— Davis Hsu (@DavisHsuSeattle) February 12, 2014