Crystal Ball: The Final Four

The Eagles have eight players that are set to become unrestricted free agents. We tackled some of the key ones — Jeremy MaclinRiley CooperMichael Vick and Nate Allen — earlier this week.

Now let’s look at the remaining four: Donnie JonesKurt ColemanColt Anderson and Clifton Geathers.


What should happen

McManus: The Eagles should absolutely hold onto Jones. He was one of the best in the business this year. Jones set a team record for punts downed inside the 20 (33) while finishing ninth overall in net punting yards (40.5).

Kapadia: I agree. Special teams were a disappointment this year (25th overall, according to Football Outsiders). But the punt/punt coverage team was the lone bright spot. That unit ranked ninth overall, per FO.

What will happen

McManus: Jones has expressed a strong desire to return next season. He wants to be a part of what is being built here. I expect him to re-sign with the Eagles.

Kapadia: Rotoworld has Jones ranked as the second-best punter on the market, so he may want to at least see what other teams are willing to offer. But at 33-years-old on a team he likes, I expect him to be back.


What should happen

McManus: The Eagles should let him compete for a roster spot in training camp. Coleman finished fourth in special teams tackles with nine. He is a character guy and a good teammate, he’s just not as a starter. If he makes it as a deep reserve who can contribute on special teams, fine. If he finds a better situation elsewhere or doesn’t make the cut, so be it.

Kapadia: The Eagles should get an idea of what the free-agent market looks like at the safety position and then decide whether they want to bring Coleman back as a reserve. Coleman, Colt Anderson and Nate Allen are all free agents. Patrick Chung is unlikely to be back. That potentially leaves Earl Wolff as the lone safety on the team. At some point, you need bodies and have to fill out the roster. Coleman is a good locker room guy who plays with great effort and can contribute on special teams. Chip Kelly appreciates those things. So there’s a chance he returns.

What will happen

McManus: I don’t think he’ll be back. One way or another, I believe the Eagles will make a push to upgrade the safety position and will add multiple players to the mix. Not sure there will be room for him.

Kapadia: I agree with you, Tim. On the flip side, Coleman has never been short on confidence. He believes he’s a starter and will likely try to get that opportunity. Given that he just saw Chung start ahead of him, Coleman likely knows he doesn’t have much of a chance to earn playing time here. I think he moves on.


What should happen

McManus: The Eagles should try and re-sign him. Kelly needs his reserves to be contributors on special teams. Anderson is considered an “ace” in that department and led the team in special teams tackles this year (16). The issue is whether he is a good enough back-up option at safety to justify the roster spot. I say his contributions on special teams outweigh the other concerns.

Kapadia: My stance is not much different than what I wrote about Coleman. The Eagles need bodies at safety one way or another. Anderson is a fantastic special-teams player, but he’s one-dimensional. If the Eagles can upgrade, they should. If that’s unlikely, bring Anderson back.

What will happen

McManus: I think he’ll be back. The special teams units need to improve in 2014; not sure removing Anderson from the equation helps that effort.

Kapadia: I think he’ll be back too, but I don’t think it’s a guarantee that he makes the roster next summer. Kelly likes versatility, and Anderson doesn’t really provide that. Ideally, your backup safeties can fill in when needed on defense and also play well on special teams. Anderson only fulfills one of those qualifications.


What should happen

McManus: The Eagles should look for an upgrade here. Geathers, acquired in a trade with the Colts last offseason, was part of the defensive line rotation (averaging 16 snaps per game) and finished with 26 tackles and three hurries. The Eagles will look to beef up their defensive line depth in the coming months.

Kapadia: Defensive line depth is an under-the-radar need for the Eagles. Geathers and Damion Square didn’t give them much on the second team. The Eagles should try to upgrade the talent here.

What will happen

McManus: It would probably be a good thing to have Geathers in camp to push guys like Joe Kruger and others added to the mix via the draft and free agency, but I don’t think he’ll make the cut this time around.

Kapadia: I don’t think Geathers will be back. He’s only 26, so if the Eagles still see some upside, maybe they give him another shot. But he’s bounced around to four teams in four seasons and wasn’t all that productive in limited opportunities in 2013.