The Eagles have finally brought a Lombardi to Philadelphia; now they have to defend their title.
Priority #1: clear cap space. A massive contract for Carson Wentz is on the horizon, which will limit the Eagles' ability to sign players at other positions. Their draft picks the next several years will be a crucial part of maintaining success.
Players to be released:
LB Mychal Kendricks (creates $4.4M in cap space)
TE Brent Celek ($4M)
WR Torrey Smith ($5M)
Kendricks and Celek are obvious cap casualties. Smith is a little less obvious; I think $5M is a fair price for a player with his ability. It's a tough decision, especially when the Eagles need to be thinking long-term, which means money for Nelson Agholor (see below). Releasing these three players creates $13.4M in cap space, and should put the Eagles well under the cap.
Wild Card #1: QB Nick Foles. This is the biggest story of the Eagles' offseason, and one of the biggest for the league as a whole. I think the Eagles should operate under the assumption that Foles will remain in Philly as Wentz's backup. I don't care how well his rehab is going; Wentz may not be ready week 1. Keep Foles on the roster unless someone make you an offer you can't refuse. That being said, if Foles approaches the front office and asks for a trade, I think you give it to him. Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Denver are logical landing spots.
Wild Card #2: OT Jason Peters. Maybe this isn't so uncertain after Doug Pederson called Peters the starting left tackle, but his $11.7M cap hit next season looms large for a 36-year-old (even if he is a Hall of Fame player). The Eagles can save another $5M in cap space by cutting him, but I'm not sure they're ready to turn left tackle over to Big V. Maybe an incentive-laden restructured deal?
Free Agency Strategy: Buy Low. The Eagles simply don't have the cap space to make a big splash, nor must they to field a Super Bowl quality roster. Fill roster holes with cheap veterans, guys coming off injury, etc. And as much as I would like to see Nigel Bradham re-signed, I think he'll simply cost too much.
Draft Strategy: Best Player Available. And trade down as often as possible. The Eagles currently have six picks in the 2018 draft, but they are without a 2nd- or 3rd-rounder. A Nick Foles trade would certainly stock up that capital, but I would love the 32nd overall pick to be moved down into the 2nd round for additional picks.
A Look Ahead...the following players are entering contract years in 2018.
QB Nick Foles
RB Jay Ajayi
WR Nelson Agholor
DE Brandon Graham
DE Chris Long
LB Jordan Hicks
CB Ronald Darby
K Jake Elliott