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2018 Fantasy Football Free Agency Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

It’s never too early to start thinking about free agency for fantasy football players. There are dynasty teams being fleeced in trades as I type this because they haven’t fully considered how the arrival or departure of a free agent could drastically swing the value of players on their team. Early best-ball drafts will also kick off before the March 14 free agency period. The time to start researching is now.

As part of an ongoing series here at RotoViz, I’m going to take a look at the fantasy-relevant free agents for the Philadelphia Eagles. I’ll walk through potential cut candidates and then examine some possible ways these player movements could affect the fantasy players on the team.

Free Agents information and cap numbers are courtesy of OverTheCap.

The Eagles are currently projected to be $6,256,356 over the cap in 2018, with the league’s new cap set at $178 million and the benefit of $2,838,092 in rollover cap from 2017.

Free Agents

PLAYER POSITION TYPE CURRENT Average Per Year
Darren Sproles RB UFA $4,500,000
Trey Burton TE UFA $2,746,000
LeGarrette Blount RB UFA $1,250,000
Caleb Sturgis PK UFA $900,000
Kenjon Barner RB UFA $690,000

Cut Candidates

PLAYER POSITION DEAD MONEY CAP SAVING
Brent Celek TE $1,000,000 $4,000,000
Torrey Smith WR $0 $5,000,000

Considering the severity of the Eagles cap situation, both Brent Celek and Torrey Smith are likely to be on the chopping block. While Smith may find his way on to the back of a roster somewhere, it’s hard to imagine him bring relevant outside of landing in a perfect situation.1

Needs – WR

Philadelphia is going to struggle just to clear enough cap space to sign their rookies and bring back a few of their top free agents, much less make a big splash in free agency. Fortunately for the Eagles, they don’t have any really glaring needs – which probably speaks to why they’re heading to the Super Bowl.

The one spot where they do look a little thin is at wide receiver. They recently locked in Alshon Jeffery at the top of their depth chart, and they have Nelson Agholor under contract for another two years. Beyond that though, there’s not much depth, especially if they end up cutting Smith as expected. The player who stands to benefit the most from this situation is 2017 fourth-rounder Mack Hollins. He may not be the speedster that Smith was,2 but the Eagles already used him as a deep threat this season, and they may look to install him as Smith’s younger, cheaper replacement.

Discussion

Zach Ertz showed he is one of the best tight ends in football this year, but who will be backing him up in 2018? Trey Burton has played well when given the opportunity and appears poised to receive some sizeable contract offers in free agency – offers the Eagles may not be able to beat – especially since he wouldn’t be a starter for them. Celek will be 33 next season, and his contract makes him an attractive cut candidate. This will be one of the more interesting storylines for the Eagles as what they do at TE will be dictated by the market for veteran help at the position.

The Jay Ajayi trade softens the blow if the team chooses not to bring back aging veterans LeGarrette Blount and Darren Sproles. The young running backs behind Ajayi – Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood – have both looked serviceable with their limited touches, and the Eagles can either add a cheap veteran or bolster their depth at the position through the draft. It seems unlikely that the Eagles would spend any significant portion of their limited resources at a position where they’ve happily used a committee under Doug Pederson.

One intriguing scenario to consider is what if this season ends with Nick Foles – Super Bowl-winning quarterback? When the Eagles signed Foles to a contract that has him slated to be the highest-paid backup in the league, they surely didn’t envision him starting in a Super Bowl for them, but his excellent NFC Championship Game performance now puts him on the radar for teams that are desperate for QB help. Even if he wins the Super Bowl, Foles will go right back to being a backup once Carson Wentz is healthy. The Eagles could use the salary cap relief that would come from trading Foles, and Foles would surely love to cash in his success and get a starting gig elsewhere. This could be a win-win situation for Foles and the Eagles if he is able to acquit himself well in the Super Bowl and become a trade chip for them over the offseason.

In fact, Foles’ contract includes a clause that causes it to void the final three years if he is on the Eagles roster in February of 2019, making it a virtual lock that he’ll be traded before then if there is a market for him. It’s likely that neither Foles nor the Eagles foresaw this scenario when they agreed to the “self-destruct” clause, but it could have interesting ramifications now that Foles might once again be a hot commodity.

  1. Hey, Ted Ginn Jr. just put up one of his best seasons at age 32. I’d bet against Smith doing that but won’t completely write him off if he lands on a good offense.  (back)
  2. At least in Smith’s younger days.  (back)
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