Free agency in the NFL is set to open on March 12th, and there few teams more prepared for the floodgates to open than the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles, rank fourth in the league in terms of the amount of cap room, with $33.5 million in spending freedom. That number is equated before factoring in any move with Nnamdi Asomugha, be it restructuring at a lower rate than his current $14 million cap number for this season or outright releasing the veteran cornerback and owing him just $4 million.
Philadelphia, following a disappointing 4-12 2012 campaign are in full fledged rebuilding mode in Chip Kelly’s first season. The team has already cut ties with defensive tackles Cullen Jenkins and former first round draft choice Mike Patterson, two moves that shaved roughly nine million off of this year’s books. Ironically, Jenkins was one of two remaining players, along with Asomugha, signed during the team’s last free agency binge prior to the 2011 season.
Likely to switch schemes to a 3-4 alignment up front on defense, the Eagles could target defensive tackles capable of playing nose guard both in the draft and through free agency. If the Eagles choose to fill that need in free agency, two names to keep an eye on are Desmond Bryant and Jason Jones. Bryant, filled the void in the middle of Oakland’s defensive line in the absence of Richard Seymour and is a solid interior pass rusher. Meanwhile, Jones, 27, was a major cog for the Seahawks as an interior pass rusher. However, his late season knee surgery could hamper his value on the open market.
With holes to fill on both sides of the football, General Manager Howie Roseman will have quite the war chest at his disposal. It will be interesting to see, though, how aggressive the Birds are in free agency given the colossal failure of the 2010 offseason that resulted in the ‘dream team’ on the heels of signing marquee free agents Jason Babin, Vince Young, Ronnie Brown, Jenkins and Asomugha.
The only teams in the NFL with more cap space to spare than the Eagles are the Colts with $44.5 million, the Dolphins with $47 million, the Browns with $47 million and the Bengals with roughly $54 million in cap space.