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Top 4 free agents the Eagles should sign

The Eagles currently have just over $1M in projected cap space remaining (Spotrac). Despite this, they could certainly use some available free agent veterans to help add depth at some key areas on both sides of the ball. Recent trade speculation involving Zach Ertz and Derek Barnett means that if one or both of those deals are done, cap space would be created along with even greater needs at tight end and edge rusher.

1. Steven Nelson

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The need in the secondary is still substantial as the top draft capital in 2021 was not spent on adding premier talent to this group. Nickell Robey-Coleman looks like he will not be returning to Philadelphia and why would he want to after last season? Robey-Coleman had one of his worst seasons yet with a 51.1 PFF in 2020. This snapped a four season stretch of 70 or greater ratings, so its rational to question whether the player declined that significantly or it was the system around him.

Steven Nelson would be the replacement for Robey-Coleman in many ways and would instantly be the starting slot corner in this secondary. A slot corner might now seem like such a significant signing, but when you look at slot matchups in this division including CeeDee Lamb, Kadarius Toney, and Darius Slayton, the need for the Eagles defense here is instantly apparent.

2. Olivier Vernon

The current depth chart is thin at edge rusher for the Eagles defense, even with bringing back Brandon Graham and signing Ryan Kerrigan. There are some rumors swirling about trading away Derek Barnett. His cap hit this year is just over $10M and trading him after June 1st would clear that entire cap hit with zero dead cap money. They would be getting draft capital in return and would be looking to sign Vernon for less than that newly available $10M. Olivier Vernon finished last season with 9 sacks and a PFF of 74.8. Kerrigan’s cap hit for this season is just over $1.3M, so a deal in that ballpark for Vernon may be possible if incentives are added. 

3. Trey Burton

Bringing back the passer of the Philly Special would be applauded by all of Philadelphia. The signing would be in the aftermath of a deal to trade Zach Ertz. Trey Burton played for the Colts, so Nick Sirianni has some familiarity with him. The tight end market is extremely thin and Burton may very well be the best available.

4. Geno Atkins

Fletcher Cox is now a year older and at some point, the Eagles need to implement some components of a snap limitation strategy. They drafted Milton Williams, who appears to have a lot of promise on this line, but they still need more depth here given the newly extended 17 game season. Geno Atkins gives them a proven veteran that would be used in passing down situations. He’s coming off of a shoulder injury, but he finished 2018 with 9 sacks and a PFF of 81.8 and in 2019 5 sacks with PFF of 76.2.

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