Eagles Mailbag: Bad Contracts, Offseason Moves

DeMarco Murray. (Jeff Fusco)

DeMarco Murray. (Jeff Fusco)

With the extended break until the next Eagles game and the state of emergency the team has suddenly entered into, we took to Twitter to find out what questions you have. To submit your own mailbag entry, follow us on Twitter (@Birds247) or email us at any time.

Neither were good signings, but based on value, production and team need, DeMarco Murray was the worse offseason move. On the surface, Byron Maxwell’s deal looks considerably bigger because his contract could be worth up to $63 million (compared to Murray’s $40 million), but the running back has more guaranteed money per year, according to Spotrac. Maxwell, however, does have one more season on his deal.

It has also become easier to find running backs who can contribute because the position has — based on NFL draft trends — become devalued. In the last five years, 19 cornerbacks have been selected in the first round, compared to just five running backs. If you look at the Pro Bowl rosters last year, five of the eight cornerbacks were first round draft picks while only one of the five running backs were.

Cornerback was also the bigger team need for the Eagles, especially when the team knew they’d land Ryan Mathews. If you take Murray and Maxwell off the roster, running back is still the much stronger position group. Then you have their production.

Murray’s teammates on his side of the ball have been — for most of the season — much worse than Maxwell’s, so you can’t blame the running back’s measly 3.5 yards per carry all on him. But even when the offensive line paved the way for four consecutive games of at least 150 rushing yards, Murray’s numbers were dwarfed by Mathews. In that stretch, Mathews nearly doubled Murray in terms of yards per carry (8.2 vs. 4.5).

Meanwhile, although the entire secondary has been abysmal the last couple of games, Maxwell had a good six-game span from Week 4 to Week 10. During that time period, he allowed zero touchdowns in coverage and gave up an average of just two catches per game. Maxwell’s entire body of work isn’t pretty, but he did play well for several weeks.

Without projecting who will leave in the offseason or potential trades the Eagles could make, here’s how I’d rank the Eagles’ top team needs: 1) Quarterback, 2) Offensive line, 3) Wide receiver and 4) Cornerback.

The offensive line has been the worst unit on the team, but you won’t win a Super Bowl without a good quarterback. Could Sam Bradford take the Eagles to the playoffs and win a postseason game? If you have enough talent around him, sure. But that’s not the goal.

You never know how the NFL will shake out, but I’d feel comfortable betting the Eagles end up with a top-10 pick, with a chance of cracking the top-5. I haven’t studied this year’s draft class much at this point so I won’t say who would be a good fit in Philadelphia, but the Eagles will likely be in a situation to take one of the top quarterback prospects.