NFL Free Agency: Eagles Expected To Heavily Target New York Free Agents

NFL Free Agency: Eagles Expected To Heavily Target New York Free Agents Kevin R. Wexler, USA TODAY NETWORK

The Eagles are allowed to officially begin negotiating contracts with pending free agents on Monday and free agency officially begins on Wednesday, so there’s plenty of rumors swirling.

The majority of these rumors surround New York.

Perhaps the option most discussed by fans is Saquon Barkley. Penn State fans surely remember his absolute dominance at the collegiate level and it appears that the Eagles and Barkley both have an interest in striking a deal per multiple reports.

The Birds under Howie Roseman have not committed much money to running backs but Barkley has struggled with injuries and, although it’s well known the impact he could have on a game, he doesn’t have eye-popping numbers since he’s been running behind a terrible offensive line with a passing game that’s anemic – every defense knows to just make sure Saquon doesn’t beat them.

Whether those factors and the NFL’s devaluing of the position ultimately keep Saquon’s market in a range deemed reasonable for the Eagles remains to be seen, but the Eagles may pursue Saquon hoping other teams focus more on Derrick Henry, Austin Eckler or Josh Jacobs (though it wouldn’t be a surprise if they checked in with all of them to see who’s market is the thinnest).

The New York Post is also reporting that they expect the Eagles to go after Giants free agent safety Xavier McKinney.

The former Alabama safety has really developed into a quality safety in coverage and when it comes to bringing runners down. He averaged 10.5 defensed passes and 103 tackles per season over 2021 and 2023, but an injured 2022 season has kept him from sustaining that level of play and is likely one of the bigger factors in keeping him out of Pro Bowl conversations.

Certainly the Eagles will kick the tires on other safeties as well, seeing as there’s already been reported mutual interest for a CJ Gardner-Johnson (Lions) reunion, Justin Simmions reuniting with Vic Fangio or, to a lesser extent, Eddie Jackson also reuniting with Fangio.

The other major free agent buzz being linked to Philadelphia is from the Jets.

The Eagles are reportedly looking at signing Bryce Huff, a younger defensive end who’s shown the ability to beat blocks but doesn’t have the number of sacks that teams will be looking for.

The idea with Huff would be very similar to the situations the team ran into with Haason Reddick and Javon Hargrave: look to get a guy you believe is on the verge of breaking out signed to a multi-year deal that looks like a bargain by year two.

It makes sense with the Sweat and Reddick trade rumors since Huff would essentially figure to be a lower-cost option moving forward that they would believe could have the same impact (and could have more good years of play ahead of him).

Huff will be an interesting case. If too many teams look to sign someone like him, that may wind up removing the allure of his “bargain” contract in the future and so the team may be best served trading no one. If it works out like Hargrave or Reddick, however, it will certainly be a sly move for the front office.

It’s important to note that these are all just rumors at this point, so it’s unknown how much truth there is to them. The Eagles do have somewhere around $40 million in cap space, however, so they’ll look to be players.

The team is also certain to keep in touch with their own pending free agents to see who they can re-sign (Boston Scott, Olamide Zaccheaus, D’Andre Swift, Jack Driscoll, Shaun Bradley, Zach Cunningham, Avonte Maddox, Braden Mann, etc.) as well as look to their in-house guys they might want to extend like DeVonta Smith, Landon Dickerson or Jordan Mailata.

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