Eagles Free Agents: Who Goes, Who Stays?

The Eagles face decisions on some players as the free agency period approaches. The Eagles will willingly part ways with some and fight to keep others. The question is who falls on which side of that fence?

First, comes news out of Philly, that the Eagles aren't likely to use their franchise or transition tags on anybody. Last season, Corey Simon was given the franchise tag, only to have it removed in August, clearing the way for him to sign with Indianapolis. This season, the Eagles likely won't even bother using either tag.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Definition: A player whose contract has expired and has four or more tenured years in the league. He may sign with any other team with no restrictions. If a team loses more UFAs than it signs, they will be awarded "Compensatory Draft Picks" from the league. The value of the pick is determined by the difference of the contracts signed by the players lost and those acquired. If a team has signed an equal number or more UFAs than it has lost, no "Compensatory Picks" will be awarded.

  • LB Keith Adams didn't play well as the weak-side starter, but is an excellent special-teamer that the Eagles would like to hang on to.
  • DE N.D. Kalu is a pass-rush specialist who had just two sacks as he recovered from 2004 knee injury. He is not expected to be re-signed.
  • RB Lamar Gordon fumbles too much to suit Eagles coach Andy Reid and really wasn't all that effective as a short-yardage runner. Likely a goner.
  • P Sean Landeta was effective as a late-season replacement, but with Dirk Johnson healthy again, he won't be re-signed.
  • Chad Lewis re-signed at midseason after recovering from a foot injury. But he doesn't have much left in the tank and won't be back.
  • WR Darnerien McCants caught just five passes with the Eagles after being claimed on waivers. He's one of the question marks that the Eagles will have to decide on. Odds are that he's expendable.
  • T Jon Runyan. A warrior at RT who has started 144 straight games, the Eagles will let him test the market, but seem interested in re-signing him to a short-term deal. Runyan is also interested in returning to the Eagles, but wants a fair deal. You get the feeling this will be touch and go, but in the end, he'll be a bird again.
  • DE Juqua Thomas wasn't much of a factor last year, despite considerable playing time. He is unlikely to return.
Restricted Free Agents

Definition: A player whose contract has expired and has fewer than four tenured years in the league. He may sign an "Offer Sheet" with any other team, but his original team has seven days to match any offer he receives. If the original team does not match the offer, compensation will be awarded in the form of draft picks from the signing team. The round and quantity of picks are determined by the "Qualifying Offer" made by the player's original team. If a RFA is tendered a minimum qualifying offer the compensation is the equivalent of the round in which that player was originally selected. If that player was originally a rookie free agent, no compensation is awarded.

  • CB Rod Hood has established himself as one of the league's best third corners. He did solid job replacing injured starter Lito Sheppard last season. The Eagles want him back and are talking with him about what it would take to bring him back.
  • P Dirk Johnson missed much of last season with a sports hernia injury, but Eagles like his consistent punting. Word is that he's healthy and the Eagles will move to re-sign him.
  • RB Reno Mahe led the NFC in punt returns last season and can be used as both a running back and wideout. His versatility is a key for the Eagles and he's not likely to go anywhere.
  • S Quentin Mikell has been a competent backup to starters Brian Dawkins. Also can play some corner in a pinch and is a solid special-teamer. He's likely going to be back as well.
Just for the record, we thought we would throw in the definitions for a franchise player and transition player.

Franchise Player: Each team may name one Franchise Player and that label must remain with him until his contract expires or until he is released. He will be paid at least the average of the top five highest paid players at his position. He may sign an "Offer Sheet" with any other team, but his original team has seven days to match any offer he receives. If the original team declines to match the offer, compensation in the form of two first round draft picks in consecutive years will be awarded from the signing team.

Transition Player: Each team may name two Transition Players and that label must remain with them until their contracts expire or until they are released. They will be paid at least the average of the top ten highest paid players at his position. A Transition Player may sign an "Offer Sheet" with any other team, but his original team has seven days to match any offer he receives. If the original team declines to match the offer, no compensation will be awarded.


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