With the NFL free agency set to start on March 9, the Philadelphia Eagles have a lot of holes to fill and not a lot of money to do so. Currently sitting near the bottom of the league with only around $6.5 million dollars available, the Eagles will look to move on from some players in order to free up some cap space. The best way to do this is to try to find some trade partners so the Eagles can acquire draft picks or players to fill their needs. Of the players the Eagles might cut, I examined some trade possibilities so the Eagles can get something in return.
Eagles Save in 2017: $7.75 million this year
Possible destination: Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams
My Prediction: L.A. Rams
Two things teams must have to trade for Connor Barwin: salary cap space and a 3-4 defense. The Rams have around $35 million dollars in available cap space. The Rams also are making the switch from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense and could use a veteran linebacker to play in the 3-4. After a disappointing 2016 season, Barwin clearly struggled as a defensive end in a 4-3, finishing the year with only 34 tackles, 5 sacks, and 2 tackles for loss. However, as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, Barwin thrived. In his three years with the Eagles playing under Billy Davis, Barwin totaled 244 tackles, 26.5 sacks, 34.5 tackles for loss which comes out to a per season average of 81.3 tackles, 8.83 sacks, and 11.5 tackles for loss. He also went to the Pro Bowl in 2015. I think the deal isn’t going to be anything too big, maybe at best the Rams would give the Eagles would be their 6th round draft pick for the Connor Barwin, however with two 7th round draft picks don’t be surprised to see the Rams trading the #223 pick for Barwin, who will be cut if the Eagles can’t find a trade partner.
Eagles Save in 2017: $1.8 million of available cap space while creating $4.8 million in dead money. However, the Eagles save $5 million in cap space and have to eat just $1.6 million in dead money by releasing him after June 1.
Possible Destinations: Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers
My Prediction: San Francisco 49ers
What can hurt Kendricks’ trade value is he hasn’t played a full 16 games in any season in his five-year career. However, he hasn’t missed a lot of significant time, having played in at least 12 games per season including hitting the 15 game total three times. The five-year veteran has put up some nice stats in his first four seasons: 12 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries, 3 interceptions, and 288 total tackles in 55 games during that stretch. Let 2016 be an outlier and Eagles could be getting a mid-draft choice for the 26-year-old inside linebacker. Enter San Francisco. San Fran has around $81 million in available cap space and really could use some defensive help. They finished out the 2016 season ranked last in total yards allowed, giving up over 400 yards a game while surrendering over 30 points per game. With veteran linebacker Navorro Bowman suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon that forced him to miss the majority of the 2016 season and with fellow starting linebacker Michael Wilhoite likely to hit the free agent market, the 49ers could use a solid option at linebacker. They aren’t going to attract a lot of free agents being in the middle of a rebuild, so trading for an athletic veteran LB seems like the right move. I don’t think we will see WR Torrey Smith traded straight up for Kendricks nor do I think he will be included in this deal despite reports the Eagles were interested in trading for him at the trade deadline last season. With two fourth round draft picks in the 2017 draft I can the Eagles parting ways with Kendricks for 143th overall draft pick.
Eagles Save in 2017: $5 million
Possible Destinations: Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers, Cleveland Browns
My Prediction: Cleveland Browns
Jason Kelce enjoyed his second Pro Bowl this year but approaching 30 he might have seen his last game as an Eagle. The 2013 Pro Football Focus All-Pro has proved durable for most of his career, playing in all 16 games in four of his six NFL seasons. Having the 8th highest salary cap hit for a center this year makes him reasonably priced but his cap hit shoots up to over $7 million in 2018. The former sixth round draft pick might see equal value for him if the Eagles decide to move on. Enter the Cleveland Browns. Cameron Erving was originally a tackle that was moved to center nearing the end of his career at Florida State University in 2014. The former first round draft pick, who can play anywhere along the offensive line, has struggled at center in his two seasons in the NFL. Cleveland’s offensive line finished ranked 16th according to Pro Football Focus and that is despite the play of Cameron Erving. By bringing in Kelce, the Browns would immediately have a top ten offensive line to help protect whoever is behind center to start the 2017 season. Cleveland has the cap space and are sitting on three 5th round picks. I don’t think the Eagles will want to move on from Kelce this year, so if any team wants they will have to give a little more than his actual worth. Expect to see the higher of the three, pick 145, coming to the Eagles for the center.
Eagles Save in 2017: $9 million
Possible Destinations: Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Denver Broncos
My Prediction: Seattle Seahawks
With Peters more than likely refusing to take a pay cut, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Eagles look to move on from the 9x bro bowler. At 35-years-old, Peters doesn’t have a lot of years left in him and only super bowl contenders would be looking to take on his salary. Seattle’s offensive line, as a whole, was brutal last year. Ranked the worse offensive line in football according to PFF, the Seahawks had a rotating door at left tackle with neither George Fant or Bradley Sowell taking over the position. With around $27 million dollars under the cap, Seattle could afford to take on Peters’ $9 million salary for this year and could see the return of their run game, making them an instant contender for 2017. Eagles probably won’t be asking much for the veteran, and I could see young wide receiver Paul Richardson coming here along with their 2017 7th round draft pick (226th overall).
Photo: Jeffery Baell (via: Wikimedia Commons)