A restructured contract for Cullen Jenkins gives the Eagles $23 million in cap room. How should they use it? Rich Kane/Icon SMI
The Philadelphia Eagles went on a free agent spending spree last offseason, cobbling together an assemblage of talent that was dubbed The Dream Team -- at first admiringly, then derisively. The Philly front office recently completed a restructuring of defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins' contract, a move that gives them plenty of room to go free agent shopping again this offseason.
After redoing Jenkins' deal, the Eagles have about $23 million in cap space. When they cut (or trade) cornerback Asante Samuel, they'll add another $9.5 million in cap room -- leaving them with $32.5 million to spend.
Last week, I wrote that the best way for the Giants to be a Super Bowl contender next season is to act like the mediocre team they actually were this season. For the Eagles, I'm giving the opposite advice. Don't believe the 8-8 record; Philly was 9th in scoring differential -- a better measure of team strength than record.
The Eagles need to get better on the offensive line and at receiver, and they could use help at linebacker and cornerback, but they don't need a major roster overhaul. They're closer to "Dream Team" than the casual fan might think. They would have been a tough out if they managed to squeak into the playoffs.
Despite GM Howie Roseman's protestations to the contrary, I expect DeSean Jackson to be in a different uniform next season. Don't be shocked if Philly signs a couple quality free agent receivers -- perhaps Marques Colston and Mike Wallace.
Linebacker targets could include one from a group including Cleveland's D'Qwell Jackson, Atlanta's Curtis Lofton, Detroit's Stephen Tulloch, and Washington's London Fletcher.
On the offensive line, Philly should re-sign Evan Mathis, who had an excellent season at guard, and a tackle such as Buffalo free agent Demetrius Bell.
Other than that, Philly should use cap dollars to add depth across the board. They don't need another "dream" offseason. They have room to add some top talents, but a quiet offseason based on adding good players across the board is warranted.