We asked NFL analyst Brian Baldinger to identify three free agents that are a match for the Eagles in terms of both need and scheme fit. Here are the three players he would go after (assuming they hit the market):
OLB Brian Orakpo
Baldinger: I think he’s just a solid outside linebacker. I believe he’d be a great fit opposite Connor Barwin. He plays the run well, he’s strong at the point. I know in 2012 he got hurt but for the most part he’s been very durable. And when he’s durable he’s giving you 10 sacks or more a year and I think that’s what you’re looking at. I think Connor and Orakpo, if they lined up and played 80 percent of the snaps next year, I think you would get 20 sacks out of those guys.
[He would fit into Billy Davis‘ scheme] and you also weaken the Redskins at the same time.
Safety T.J. Ward
Baldinger: First of all he is an exceptional tackler. I think he has really good instincts. He has good speed — maybe not great speed — but he has good speed. If you want to get an eighth guy in the box, he’s as crafty and talented as any player in the league at doing it. And he’s been durable.
Chip [Kelly] knows him. I think you still have to draft a guy and draft a guy high, but I’d feel a lot better [with him on the roster]. If you look at the teams that improved their defenses this year, if you look at Tennessee, they fixed their safety position first. I believe he can cover well enough. If teams are playing the slot position against you he can drop down and cover slot receivers well enough. I think he can play free safety if you want to interchange and I think he’s an exceptional tackler, a very physical player. He’s not Earl Thomas because I don’t know that anyone has that speed, but he’s Earl Thomas’ size and I think he likes the game as much as Earl.
QB Josh McCown
Baldinger: I would be interested in Josh. I know the kid really well. He won games for Chicago and played extremely well. He’s very coachable. Even though he’s in his 30’s I still think he has a young body. Josh would upgrade the IQ of any quarterback room. I believe he would be good for Nick [Foles].
Josh is a very good athlete. He threw the ball exceptionally well on the run in Chicago this year, he was pinpoint accurate…If Nick was the guy he would take the backup role perfectly well, or even if they kept [Matt] Barkley as the backup I think he would fit in well at whatever role. Of all the quarterbacks that are out there, he’s the guy that intrigues me the most.