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Eagles: 6 defensive players they could sign

Eliot Shorr-Parks
February 11, 2019 - 5:30 am

The attention has been on the Eagles’ quarterback situation over the last few years, but in reality, the reason this team has had as much success as it has is the play of the defensive line. 

A defensive line that is in serious danger of taking a step back this offseason. 

It is possible that Brandon Graham and Timmy Jernigan won’t be back. Chris Long has hinted at not being back either. Add in the shoulder injury Derek Barnett is recovering from, and there are only two sure things along the defensive line in 2019 — Fletcher Cox and Michael Bennett. 

The multiple holes this team could be forced to fill means they will have to find help through more than just the 2019 NFL Draft. This team is going to need instant impact players. One way to do that will be taking advantage of free agency, and players they are cut simply because of salary cap reasons. 

Spotrac.com has done a great job taking a look at some of the defensive players around the league who might be released. Here is a look at some players along the defensive line that could interest the Eagles in free agency: 

Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers are expected to switch to some version of a 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, meaning some of their 4-3 personnel will no longer fit. There has been plenty of speculation that McCoy could be a cap casualty in Tampa Bay because of the switch. McCoy had a down season in 2018, as he had over half as many tackles for a loss (6) as he did in 2017 (13). The Buccaneers can save $13 million by releasing McCoy, and if they do, the Eagles could bring him in to replace Timmy Jernigan. Bringing in an established defensive tackle like McCoy would also take off a considerable amount of pressure from whichever young defensive tackle the Eagles draft early on. 

Beau Allen, Tampa Bay: The Eagles made a mistake letting Beau Allen go last offseason, and they might get a chance to fix that mistake this offseason. The Buccaneers can save $5 million by releasing Allen, who played in just 36% of the snaps last season. Allen would be a perfect addition to the Eagles, as he knows the defense and could fill in the role he played perfectly in 2017 — the top rotating defensive tackle off the bench. 

Michael Brockers, Los Angeles Rams: Brockers had a strong season with the Rams, totaling 54 tackles, but the Rams are loaded along the defensive line and could save $10 million by releasing him. Cutting Brockers would be a bold move, considering he played 67% of the snaps last season, but an $11 million cap hit for a backup defensive tackle is a lot of money. If Brockers is released the Eagles should jump all over the chance to sign him. 

Marcell Dareus, Jacksonville: Dareus is still really strong against the run, which is exactly the kind of player the Eagles need next to Cox. The Jaguars are in a tough spot financially, which is why they could decide the $10.85 million savings they would get by moving on from Dareus would be worth it. Like McCoy, adding Dareus would take a ton of pressure off of a young rookie the Eagles might bring in.  

Vinny Curry, Tampa Bay: Like Allen, Currey’s first season in Tampa Bay didn’t go as planned. Curry played in just 42% of the snaps and finished with only 2.5 sacks. The Eagles wanted Curry back in 2018, but had to cut him for financial reasons. If the Buccaneers do the same, moving on from Curry and saving $8 million, it would be surprising if the Eagles didn’t welcome the chance to bring him back. 

Vic Beasley, Atlanta: Beasley has not come anywhere close to the 15.5 sacks he totaled in 2016, with just 10 combined in the last two seasons. The Falcons can move on from Beasley and save $12.8 million. Despite his drop in production, bringing Beasley in and hoping a change of scenery will him back to the player he was in 2016 would be a risk worth taking for the Eagles. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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