Youth movement. That is the 2020 off-season motto - supplement our core with younger talent to make a deep run into the playoffs. Last year, (article here) the looming topic was around how was Nick Foles going to leave? This season with Foles in another city, the Eagles need to use their resources in order to bring in young talent.
That is where we come in - giving Howie the blueprints to a foolproof off-season. We will take a look at the Eagles' available cap space, the free agents that should be signed, and finally who the team should draft.
The team does have one sort of cap issue, that will hopefully work itself out -- Alshon Jeffrey. If we can, Alshon will be placed on the PUP list before the season begins. With an estimated recovery time taking him well into the season, having Alshon on the PUP list will save draft capital and hold off the dead cap number - currently projected at around $26 million.
Currently, the team is sitting with a cap number above league average at $45 million, according to SportTrac. With $45 Million to play with and a few glaring needs, it's time to get started on the free agent signings.
With most of the holes on the defensive side of the ball, and this year's draft being so deep on the offensive side of the ball, prioritizing defense in free agency is key. Let's spend some money!
Byron Jones, CB - 5 years, $80 Million
The Eagles need a cornerback, and Jones is the prized possession on the market this year. Bringing in Jones solidifies one side of the defensive backfield. While he does not generate many takeaways, Jones has the closing speed and size to break up many passes. Jones enjoys playing up at the line of scrimmage - something that Jim Schwartz tried letting Ronald Darby do sometimes which usually resulted in failure.
Jalen Mills, CB - 3 years, $20 Million
Love him or hate him, Mills is actually a top 15 cornerback when it comes to play in the red zone. Why? Because of his size and coverage ability inside the 20. Why have the Eagles been a top 10 scoring defense since Schwartz took over? Because the team allows field goals, and not touchdowns. Bring Mills back on a small cornerback deal and pair up your defensive backs for the next three years.
Nick Kwiatkowski, LB - 3 years, $18 million
This is a Philly Guy. Value-wise, Kwiatkowski has the potential to be a "Malcolm Jenkins" signing, for the Eagles. While everyone is looking at Cory Littleton and Blake Martinez - Kwiatkowski is quietly waiting, expecting to be signed shortly thereafter the aforementioned linebackers. He is aggressive and understands coverage. He actually had more interceptions than Byron Jones last season, while only starting seven games for Chicago.
Another nugget to add - the Eagles brought Kwiatkowski in for a pre-draft meeting before the 2016 draft.
Rodney McLeod, Safety - 2 years, $10 million
What would be the team's other choice? McLeod actually played at a decently high-level last season, and while he is 30 years old, bringing him back on a short term deal and potentially drafting a developmental safety for the new DB coach to work with makes sense.
Demarcus Robinson, WR - 3 years, $21 million
This would be the riskiest of the free agent signings for the team. Robinson never put up outstanding numbers in the Chiefs' offense - where seemingly everyone had career years. However, Robinson did display glimpses of special play within that offense. Robinson was also another pre-draft visitor of the Eagles in 2016.
Salary Cap Left: We know Howie will work his cap magic - so with the above signings, and the original available cap number - the Eagles would be left with $5 Million.
Top 2020 Draft Picks
It's difficult to say what direction the team should go in the later rounds, so we'll focus on the two draft picks the Birds have in the first two rounds since they would be the players most likely to make an immediate impact.
Round 1, Pick 21 - WR Justin Jefferson (LSU)
We have spoken at length about Jefferson and his fit within the Eagles offense. Bringing in an outside receiver in Robinson, and having Desean expected to start opposite - we can bring Jefferson in slowly and in the slot. That is where he thrived during his outstanding year at LSU.
Round 2, Pick 53 - S Antoine Winfield Jr (Minnesota)
Does that name ring a bell? Yes, he is the son of longtime Vikings DB Antoine Winfield Sr. Ball skills run in his blood, and Winfield Jr would be an immediate contributor in certain packages. This would also allow the Eagles to move on from McLeod after the first year of his deal.
There you have it, my best attempt at imitating Howie Roseman's 2020 offseason plans for the Eagles. If you think this is the perfect plan, or if you feel this would be a terrible offseason plan, leave your comments and what you'd change.