With wide receiver DeSean Jackson in the fold, what is next for the Philadelphia Eagles?
The Eagles have taken care of internal business in the first few days of free agency. The first Eagle to leave the team in free agency this year is defensive end Juqua Parker, who agreed to a one-year deal with the Cleveland Browns on Thursday per Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network. In Cleveland, Parker will play for former Eagles general manager Tom Heckert. Two other Eagles are making visits. Wide receiver Steve Smith is reportedly visiting with the Rams, according to Adam Caplan. Guard Evan Mathis is in Baltimore, who just lost one of their starting guards, Ben Grubbs, to New Orleans.
The Eagles have expressed that they want Mathis back. Mathis thrived under offensive line coach Howard Mudd's scheme last year and is open to returning to Philadelphia. However, general manager Howie Roseman understands that free agency presents the possibility of losing a player you want to retain.
"Free agency, it's a big-boy sport right there. You have that risk when players get to free agency that you're going to lose them. You're aware of that," Roseman said. "We hope that Evan Mathis remains a Philadelphia Eagle, but obviously when you're on the open market things happen. We're in constant communication with his representatives."
Mathis is represented by Drew Rosehaus, who also represents Jackson. Rosenhaus is also the agent for running back LeSean McCoy, who is entering the final year of his contract. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Wednesday that the Eagles and McCoy are working on a long-term extension. Roseman would not comment on the report, but wants to keep McCoy in midnight green describing him as the type of player from an ability and projection standpoint that you'd want to have under contract.
"LeSean McCoy is a great player and we like him to be in Philadelphia for a long time," Roseman said.
Last year, the Eagles bolstered the defensive line and secondary with Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Roseman was asked whether the team would look to improve the linebacker position. As of this post, only three linebackers (Dan Connor, Blake Costanzo and Jarret Johnson) have changed teams in free agency as the flurry of activity has focused on other positions like wide receiver. Roseman expects there to be a domino effect like in the draft. Once a couple of players are signed (or drafted), there will be a rush so teams don't miss out.
"If we see a chance to get someone that we think improves our team we'll jump on it," Roseman said.
The flurry of moves that have been done by the Eagles in-house in these first few days of free agency have at least provided some breathing room with the salary cap to be able to take advantage of any situation.
"We're looking at it for the next couple of years in terms of the cap situation that we have and we're trying to have some flexibility now and in the future," he said.
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