Consider 10 critical decisions the Eagles must make

It’s never too early to start thinking about some of the biggest decisions the Eagles face in the next seven or eight months.

Some of these decisions will be made this summer, some during the season, some not until spring. But they will all have a significant impact on how the franchise looks in the near future.

We’ve already spent a good chunk of the offseason talking about Jalen Hurts, so here’s a look at 10 more big decisions the Eagles face as camp 2022 nears:

What will happen to Miles Sanders? There’s no denying Sander’s skills. His career rushing average of 5.0 is the eighth-highest in NFL history among running backs (minimum 500 carries). The problem is injuries, and Sanders couldn’t avoid them. Sander’s rookie contract expires this year, and the Eagles need to figure out whether to offer him a new deal and how much that deal would be worth. Determining its value is not easy as it has been unavailable so many times.

Our guess: I think the Eagles will be able to get Sanders on a pretty cheap short-term deal. Running backs don’t make much anyway, and no matter how skilled Sanders is, nobody’s going to offer him a huge free agency deal until he proves he can stay sane, and he understands that. I’d guess the Eagles Sanders sign early in the season as long as he has a healthy training camp and first few games. But if he’s looking for more than $4.5 million or maybe $5 million a year, it’s time to move on.

Is that it for Fletcher Cox?: Cox is playing on a one-year, $14 million contract as he enters his 11th season with the Eagles. Cox is an all-time great Eagle — six Pro Bowls, a 1st Team All-Pro honors, 58 sacks as an interior lineman — and his decline has been slow but steady. It sure seems to be a final year for Cox, but it’s hard to say goodbye to an all-timer. That’s one of the reasons the Eagles overpaid for him for another year.

Our guess: I just don’t see Cox being here beyond this season. How can the Eagles pay him next year? He won’t come cheap. Heck, they paid too much for him this year because he’s Fletcher Cox. It’s clear that Milton Williams and Jordan Davis are the future of defensive tackle. Cox is a permanent fixture in the Eagles Hall of Fame and could one day find himself in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But it looks like his Eagles career will end this year.

What’s going on with Javon Hargrave?: It’s a little surprising that the Eagles haven’t extended Hargrave yet. It’s possible he’s asking too much, and the Eagles would rather start the youth movement with Williams and Davis next year than overpay for Hargrave. But he’s a really good player and at 29 he should still be a few years into his prime. The Eagles have some fascinating young interior designers, but they’re a better team with Hargrave.

Our guess: Assuming the Eagles let Cox go, they should be able to lock up Hargrave at fair market value. Williams and Davis will be on rookie deals for a while, so there’s no reason they can’t cut a deal with Hargrave and still have well-priced defensive tackle space. I’ll be surprised if he’s not back.

James Bradberry: The only The reason the Eagles were able to sign Bradberry in the first place is because the Giants didn’t fire him until mid-May and by then no one had money left to give him the long-term contract he was looking for. So the Eagles got him for a year for $7.25 million and that’s great, but the problem with those one-year contracts is that they’re one-year contracts. Bradberry fills a big need as CB2 versus Darius Slay, but what happens next?

Our guess: If Bradberry plays well, he’ll want to break the bank when he goes free in March. If he doesn’t play well, the Eagles don’t want him back anyway. At some point, the Eagles will have to find a new deal for Slay, so the odds of them being able to keep both aren’t good. They’d love to keep Bradberry, but I think it’s more likely than not that he’s done.

Isaac Seumalo: He’s slated to go into free agency after the season and the Eagles like Seumalo, but when he finally stays healthy he’ll likely be looking around $8 million a year and the Eagles have to wonder if he’s worth it. Seumalo is solid, but with his injury history, I’m not sure the Eagles want to take on the massive cap responsibility likely to be required to keep Seumalo.

Our guess: This could end up like a Rodney McLeod deal. Yes, he’s a good player, but if you can find a guy that’s cheaper and almost as good, it might make sense to go for it. Maybe that’s Sua Opeta (who’s also a free agent after this year) or Jack Driscoll. But Jeff Stoutland loves Seumalo, and Howie Roseman doesn’t generally take offense at Stout. I think he stays.

Kyzir White: Another defensive player, the Eagles landed only because they could offer him a one-year contract. Like Bradberry, White is banking on himself and will be looking for a big-money long-term deal this offseason, and the Eagles need to figure out how his value aligns with their needs.

Our guess: I think the Eagles will build their linebacker corps around Nakobe Dean, TJ Edwards and Davion Taylor and give White free rein for a price they just can’t afford. It’s one of those situations where the better White plays, the harder it becomes for the Eagles to hold him.

Anthony Harris: Harris, another defenseman on a one-year contract, is returning to the Eagles for a second season after starting 14 games to safety last year. Harris didn’t play particularly well last year, but the Eagles brought him back in place of McLeod, who is now with the Colts.

Our guess: Harris feels like a makeshift, a guy the Eagles brought back because he knows defense, he’s durable and he has a level of comfort with Jonathan Gannon after playing for him in Minnesota for three years. But if they get the chance to replace him, they won’t hesitate to do it. I’ll be shocked when he comes back next year, and with only a $1 million guarantee, there’s no stopping him even being here this year. If Jaquiski Tartt has a big preseason, it could make Harris expendable before the season even starts.

Should they trade Andre Dillard? What do you do with the 2019 first-round pick? He has some value as a backup left tackle, but he’s never shown form at right tackle, and nobody wants a backup tackle that can only play one side. It’s just not a wise use of a roster slot. Dillard is entering a contract year and would have a modest $2.18 million cap for a team to take him on, making him even more appealing.

Our guess: I would expect the Eagles to get Dillard some work in proper tackle in the preseason games to try and add value to his game. If it holds its own, it becomes much more tradable. And I still think that’s happening. I expect the Eagles to offload Dillard for a mid-range pick or two this summer and go with Jack Driscoll, Le’Raven Clark or Brett Toth as backup two-way tackle.

Is that it for Brandon Graham? BG is entering his 13th season with the Eagles, recovering from a serious injury. It’s hard to imagine the Eagles signing him to any other contract, but Graham is a unique case, an all-time Eagle, and if he shows he’s as prolific as he was in the years prior to the injury – when he was the top three Seasons of had his career – anything is possible.

Our guess: BG is now 34 and he’s won a Super Bowl, he’s made it to a Pro Bowl, he’s made over $80 million, he’s become one of the most popular players in franchise history. I think that’s it for Graham. I just can’t imagine him going to another team and playing in a new city for a few paychecks. I think he’ll retire after the season and work for the Eagles in a capacity that leverages his personality and dedication to the team and city. I can’t think of a better ambassador for the franchise.

You can’t keep Jalen Reagor, can you? The decision the Eagles face is to offload Reagor, get him out of the building, get rid of the headache, have a first-round disappointment in who doesn’t play, have him start over somewhere and taking a $2.5 million cap hit OR keep him with you in an emergency and hope it clicks when he gets the chance to play.

Our guess: The cap hit when the Eagles release Reagor is significant but not catastrophic. Could go either way, but I just think with a receiver corps of DeVonta Smith, AJ Brown, Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal – along with everyone else showing up – there’s really no reason to keep Reagor around and a roster spot wasting just to save some ceiling space. Nobody wants to release a first-round pick two years later, but I think the Eagles will.

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