Feb 20, 2012, 11:23 AM EST
Believe it or not, the Eagles do have free agents besides DeSean Jackson. All together, 12 members of this season’s club are slated for some form of free agency when the new league year begins on March 13. Some of them already have a foot out the door, while others we don’t want to see the team live without. We break them all down here in this handy guide.
NO PRIORITY (AKA, GONERS)
12. Victor Abiamiri
A second-round pick out of Notre Dame in ’07, Abiamiri missed each of the last two seasons with serious injuries, and has started just six games in his NFL career. They can’t count on him to stay healthy, and he showed little even when he was on the field.
11. Ronnie Brown
You may recall the Eagles attempted to trade Brown to the Lions at the deadline, but the deal voided when they discovered Jerome Harrison had a brain tumor. Brown had fallen out of favor with the coaches after the backward-pass debacle, and his carries dried up in the midst of LeSean McCoy’s breakout season.
11. Ronnie Brown
10. Trevor Laws
Selected in the second round from ND one year after Abiamiri, Laws at least managed to stay on the field, but like Abiamiri, he never produced much. Laws had four sacks and an interception in 2010, career highs that teased he had finally arrived, but accomplished surprisingly little in Jim Washburn’s wide nine this season.
9. Steve Smith
The Eagles never really needed Smith to begin with, and it didn’t help he wasn’t 100%. The offense could still use another situational target, but the front office would be better off finding a receiver who isn’t recovering from major knee surgery.
8. Juqua Parker
After a surprisingly lengthy career in Philadelphia, Parker’s playing time finally diminished last season. He could still serve as an effective situational pass rusher or fill-in, but with a pair of Pro Bowlers anchoring a group of young players, there simply doesn’t appear to be room for him here any longer.
7. Owen Schmitt
You could make the case Schmitt should be a higher priority, only fullback isn’t very prevalent in this offense. Regardless, he knows the system, and McCoy was effective running behind Schmitt in short yardage situations this season. There could be competition for his job, but Schmitt should at least be in the mix.
6. Vince Young
The vague idea Young could be back in Eagles green next season will undoubtedly annoy, but backup quarterback remains a question mark for this team. Is Mike Kafka ready to step into the role? Does a better option than VY become available in free agency? Young can’t possibly have a firm grasp on the system yet, and probably isn’t a perfect fit either way, but he’s a year ahead of most of the other quarterbacks they could bring in, and he’ll likely be around. Interesting dilemma that we’ll be taking a closer look at in the coming weeks.
6. Vince Young
5. Antonio Dixon
Dixon is only listed as low priority because he is a restricted free agent. A solid run defender with a high ceiling, Dixon is coming off a torn triceps that ended his season in October. Due to his short track record, management should be able to tender Dixon at a level that prevents another team from swooping in for the steal.
4. King Dunlap
All things being equal, keeping Dunlap could prove difficult. He has the size and athleticism scouts love, plus pro experience playing both tackle positions, as well as left guard. We’ve been critical of Dunlap in the past, but another team might view him as a potential starter. If not, you can never have too many offensive tackles on the roster, especially when they have his versatility.
3. Derek Landri
What a find. By the end of the season, Landri had become more than just some journeyman lineman — he was a force. According to Pro Football Focus, Landri charted as the fourth-best defensive tackle in the league, and he was the fifth-most productive interior pass rusher with 18 hurries in 178 snaps. It seems he was a great fit for Washburn’s scheme, so he should be interested in returning, unless somebody pays him to be an every-down player again.
3. Derek Landri
2. Evan Mathis
Mathis might have come in at number one on this list, but chances are he will do everything under his own power to re-sign. Mathis had his best season as a pro, and spoke very highly of Howard Mudd and the organization, admitting he feels like his NFL career truly began in 2011. These things usually have a way of working themselves out, which is somewhat of a relief. Mathis played at a Pro-Bowl level, a big reason why the offensive line finally started to settle into a decent unit.
1. DeSean Jackson
It still feels like this offseason, the early portion anyway, boils down to what to do about DJacc. The consensus remains the Eagles will use the franchise tag, but as we discussed previously, what that means exactly is open to some interpretation. They need to decide before free agency opens though, in case they intend to pursue another receiver, because they can’t fit both of their contracts. We feel Jackson will ultimately be back next season on the franchise dollar, but until it’s official, anything can happen.
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