The Philadelphia Eagles have 20 free agents heading into the NFL offseason according to contract supersite Sportrac.
Of the pending free agents, 13 of 20 were key contributors to the Eagles run towards another Lombardi Trophy.
The staff from Sports Talk Philly –editors Paul Bowman and Michael Lipinski and Eagles writers Jennifer McGraw and Maranda Jo Shinn– have decided to play a game of “stay or go” with Jeffery Lurie’s money!
The crew deliberates on linebacker TJ Edwards.
Name: TJ Edwards
Acquired: 2019 Undrafted Free Agent
Achievements: 2022 PFF All-Pro First Team
2022 Regular Season Stats: 17G/17GS, 159 tackles, 99 solo, 10 TFL, 2 sacks, 7PD, 1 fumble recovery
Market Value: $11.9MM/year
Potential Contract: 4-years/$48MM
Comparable players based on Sportrac’s formula for age, contract status, and statistical production.
Paul Bowman, STP Editor: In my Underappreciated Eagles article on Edwards, I outlined how Edwards has had to re-prove himself to basically every DC Philadelphia has had and that looks like it may be the case next year (unless the Eagles decide to hire his college coordinator whom they interviewed earlier this week). That said, besides myself and Pro Football Focus during the 2022-23 season, I haven’t seen much to indicate to me that Edwards will get nearly the contract that Spotrac projects. They are projecting him against the top players in the league at his position and I simply don’t think that teams will view him at that level in free agency. If they do, the Eagles should be out, I just don’t see it.
That said, he is a great player who continues to improve and was the quarterback of the defense this year. Edwards would be a guy I would like to see the Eagles bring back and if there’s one major mistake Howie Roseman made while issuing all those extensions last season, it was that he didn’t lock Edwards up for more than a single season. If things do turn out as Sportrac projects, the Eagles have no chance of making a competitive bid, but I think Edwards is a player the Eagles could work out a deal with before the official start of free agency – and it should probably be on their list right under Hurts and CJGJ.
Verdict: Stay (though not at Spotrac’s projection)
Michael Lipinski, STP Editor: There’s no way I’d re-sign T.J. Edwards at Sportrac’s valuation. I also think that Sportrac’s evaluation on Edwards is slightly out of whack but who knows with the current market.
Edwards has been a pleasant surprise and the Birds’ best linebacker over the past 15-20 years. Maybe that says more about the Eagles past neglect of the linebacker position than it does Edwards, I don’t know. Anyway, Edwards has averaged 144.5 total tackles since being slotted a starting linebacker. That’s a lot of production to replace.
Truth of the matter is Edwards is unlikely to take a team friendly deal so he will unfortunately have to go.
Jenn McGraw, Eagles Writer: T.J. Edwards has been a consistent player through the season,through the highs and lows the Eagles defense faced. Edwards proved to be one of the better linebackers the Eagles have had in a long time and, being an unsung hero for the team, in the last stretch of the season helped them continue to dominate in the playoffs. I think it’s worth paying him while we continue allowing Nakobe Dean and the other younger guys to develop. It may turn out to be a viable option to keep as many of the key defensive players, like Edwards, as possible as the Eagles figure out what their defensive scheme will look like next season.
Maranda Jo Shinn, Eagles Writer: As a non-draft player, Edwards has shown out to be one of the better linebackers Eagles defense has seen in a bit. Considering his lights out performance in the last 8 weeks of the season (where there wasn’t a single game where he played fewer than 92 percent of the snaps), finishing 17th in the NFL with 130 total tackles, putting him at an average of almost 11 tackles per game. While he might have some athletic limitation, he’s proved to be the best we have at the moment with his leadership and consistent production. For financial reasons it might not look best for a long term extension, but for now, I think it’s worth the dime bringing him back.
There is a consensus that the Eagles should make an effort to keep Edwards around as well as the fact that we don’t believe Sportrac’s projections are in the correct range of what he’ll be offered in free agency. That said, if he does get offers like that, the Eagles will have to pull out of any negotiations.