The front office brass in Philadelphia has some tough decisions to make this offseason. The toughest of choices will be if they decide to remain loyal to players who helped bring the team their first Super Bowl victory, or to move on from them and try to make another run at a title with new key players. The sports contract website Spotracreleased a list highlighting key players, and what their current market value might look like when they sign new deals this offseason. They highlighted four Eagles who are set to become Free Agents: Jay Ajayi, Ronald Darby, Brandon Graham, and Golden Tate.
Jay Ajayi was set to cash in this offseason. He got off to a hot start in 2018, recording three touchdowns in the first two games of the season. His season was cut short though, as he tore his ACL in Week 5 against the Minnesota Vikings. A $7.3 Million deal for a player like Ajayi would be extremely good value for Howie Roseman. Of course adding a second year to a player who has health concerns is a big risk, so Roseman could try to do a one-year deal in the $3 Million range. If that is all it would take to keep Ajayi in midnight green, I think the Eagles will bring him back.
Ronald Darby is the other Eagle on this list who suffered a season-ending ACL tear early in the season. The difference between him and Jay Ajayi though is apparently Spotrac believes Darby could be getting an $80.7 Million deal, which is absolutely ludicrous. There seems to be a lot of back and forth between Eagles fans debating if Darby is good or bad. I tend to lean more towards the "Darby is a good player" side, but not without first acknowledging that he does have his flaws/isn't an "elite cornerback." If Darby was willing to sign a cheap one or two-year "prove it" deal with the Eagles in the same range as Ajayi, I would be fully on board. But if you are expecting Howie Roseman to fork out an $80 Million contract to a guy coming off a season-ending injury, you're out of your mind. With guys like Rasul Douglas and Cre'Von LeBlanc stepping up, and Sidney Jones remaining a mystery, we have probably seen the last on Darby as an Eagle if this is what he is expecting to be paid this offseason.
Brandon Graham will forever be loved in the city of Philadelphia for what he did to Tom Brady in Super Bowl LII. Portions of the fan base want to reward him for what he did by giving him the massive contract he is expecting, while others don't feel his production this season warrants a big deal. You don't really want someone like Graham to leave because of his veteran presence on and off the field, but if the market is predicting him to receive roughly $16 Million/year, in all likelihood Roseman won't be able to afford his services. Graham did say though that if the Eagles have a close enough offer, he is willing to leave some money on the table to stay an Eagle for life.
Last but not least, the Eagles have an interesting choice to make when it comes to Golden Tate. The mid-season acquisition never really made the impact he was expected to have when coming over from Detroit, but he did catch the game-winning TDin the Wild Card Round. A $30.7 Million deal for three years doesn't sound too bad considering Tate is known around the league as one of the better receivers in the game. However, it might come off as foolish to spend that kind of valuable money on a player the offensive coordinator admitted to not knowing how to use. If he does come back to Philadelphia, a full offseason learning the offense will certainly help Mike Groh and Doug Pederson find ways to incorporate him into the offensive game plan, but at what point do you just decide to go your separate ways and try to strike gold by drafting a receiver with one of your many draft picks this year? At the end of the day I think Tate has played his last game as an Eagle.