The Eagles have plenty of holes to fill this offseason, especially with depth at certain positions. One of the most important positions for the Eagles to have depth at is the defensive end position. Jim Schwartz loves to rotate his defensive linemen and keep them fresh, as his defense heavily relies on the defensive line getting pressure on the quarterback so all linebackers and defensive backs can drop back into coverage. Lucky for the Eagles, this year they have some solid options in free agency as well as in potential trades.
Here are a few defensive ends the Eagles could have their eyes on when the new league year starts:
The Jaguars are likely franchise-tagging Ngakoue, but the star pass-rusher wants out of Jacksonville and a fresh start somewhere else. In four seasons, the soon-to-be 25-year-old has produced 37.5 sacks and 85 QB hits. If I were Howie Roseman, I'd be on the phone with Jacksonville to find out the price for Ngakoue's services. Regardless, the Birds will likely have to give up a few valuable assets if they want to bolster their defensive line into one of the best overall units in the league. Putting out Ngakoue with Brandon Graham and having Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat and Genard Avery rotate in would certainly push the Eagles into having top-five sack numbers as a team in 2020.
He's been a 3-4 OLB in Los Angeles, but that shouldn't stop the Eagles from potentially pursuing Fowler as a pure pass-rusher on the defensive line. However, since he'll likely be one of the most-coveted pass-rushers this offseason, that means his new contract will probably command at least $10 Million/year. An investment in Fowler could be a huge risk, high reward situation. In five seasons Fowler has only registered 27.5 sacks, but he will be just 26 when the season comes around so his best football might be ahead of him (the prelude to that being his 11.5 sack season in 2019).
Barrett really impressed me, as well as the rest of the country, last year in Tampa Bay. One downfall with him is that, like Fowler, he played in a 3-4 defense. A switch would need to be made, but he could adjust with not much issue to a defensive end role. The Buccaneers could still use the franchise tag on him and Barrett could want to stay down south, so if the Eagles want him they would need to throw big-money at the pass rusher. The six-year vet has 33.5 sacks and 72 QB hits in 77 career games.
Many thought JPP ended his career in 2015 when he damaged his hand in a fireworks accident, but he proved everyone wrong and is still a productive defensive end in this league. I think is too good to stay in Tampa and the Buccaneers won't want to shell out tons of money to keep both JPP and Shaq Barrett, so I believe JPP will be the one who hits the market. If I was Howie Roseman, even though he is on the wrong side of 30, I would pursue Pierre-Paul significantly. He has recorded 79.5 sacks in his 10-year career (21 of them in just the past two seasons). His age might scare some teams away, so maybe the Eagles won't have to break the bank to add the vet.
Do the Eagles try once again to convert a former Cowboy into an Eagle? It didn't work out with DeMarco Murray, Miles Austin, or Orlando Scanderick. Philadelphia will have to pay a pretty penny for his services, as his calculated market value is $11.8 Million/year. After trending down from 2015-2018, Quinn bounced back onto the scene in Dallas with 11.5 sacks. In nine seasons, he has recorded 80.5 sacks and 145 QB hits; in other words, he knows how to get to the signal-caller. He'll turn 30 years old in May, so that might scare the Eagles some, but this is what the Eagles need to do if they want to invest in this position in free agency so the draft can be used to fill other roster holes.