The NFL Draft is about a month away now, but as of late there hasn’t been any major headlines surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles. That being said, there are still a few random topics I’d like to take a moment and touch on: which remaining free agents the team should or should not sign, the annual talk about bringing back the kelly green uniforms, and the retirement of former Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin.
Remaining Free Agents
As always, Howie Roseman has been active in free agency, and the consensus seems to be that he’s once again made several smart moves to fill some holes on the team. But there are still some available free agents that I believe should be late additions, and some that shouldn’t.
Let’s start with Jay Ajayi. Ajayi had an interview with the Indianapolis Colts last week but ended up leaving without a contract. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, stated the he and the team remain in contact with each other regarding a potential return for the Jay Train.
I believe that signing Ajayi to a cheap 1-year contract would be a smart move. Despite coming off of a torn ACL, Ajayi would provide a very talented veteran runner to help stabilize a RB corps that’s desperately in need of an upgrade. This would also help Ajayi re-establish his value as a player before hitting the open market again in 2020.
Of course, signing him wouldn’t and shouldn’t be the lone solution at RB. Ajayi’s health is a known concern, and his return is predicated on him being in good enough health where he can be relied upon for a set amount of touches. Doug Pederson prefers to use a committee with one guy as the lead, so I believe Howie Roseman would still draft a RB to work in tandem with Ajayi, much like the Ajayi-Blount duo in 2017.
Speaking of LeGarrette Blount, he’s another name that some Eagles fans keep bringing up as another possible free agent target, but honestly, I don’t agree with that at all. We all love Blount for what he was able to do for the Eagles in 2017, but his 2018 season with the Detroit Lions showed that he’s just not the same type of runner anymore. He’s certainly not young anymore and he’s had a lot of tread on his tires at this point. And you can’t use the excuse of a bad offensive line when Kerryon Johnson was able to have a lot of success behind the same line.
Another RB name that’s a realistic possibility is Spencer Ware, for the obvious familiarity he has with Doug Pederson. He might not be a sexy name, but Ware is far from a bad choice as another cheap and solid option to bolster the backfield.
Another RB name that I do not have interest in is CJ Anderson. A lot of fans are caught up in Anderson’s performance late in the season for the Los Angeles Rams but fail to realize that the guy was bounced around from team to team earlier in the season for a reason. Performing at a high level because you’re the “freshest RB in the league” at the time, to which Anderson himself said, is different from being relied upon for 16 games plus playoffs. He’d be a certain upgrade still, but there are numerous other options I’d try to exhaust first before considering Anderson.
As far as non-RB free agents for the Eagles go, I think LB Zach Brown would be an interesting addition to a LB corps that is pretty thin right now, and I can’t imagine his price being very high. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Howie added another IDL after the draft to add even more depth to their deadly rotation.
Kelly Green Uniforms
This is something that comes up every year, not just by the fans but by team owner Jeffrey Lurie too. And just like clockwork, Mr. Lurie gave the fans hope once again that the kelly green throwback uniforms could make their return.
Jeffrey Lurie said that getting the NFL to approve of two helmets so the #Eagles can have kelly green as their alternative jersey is still “a high priority.” Believes it will get done for 2020.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) March 27, 2019
I realize I’m probably in the minority here, but I’ve always felt that the hype and desire to go back to the kelly green uniforms has been way overhyped. To me, the midnight green is a better color and I’d prefer the team stick with it. I wouldn’t mind having kelly green as an alternate uniform, which is what Lurie’s plan seems to be, but I just don’t quite understand the overwhelming desire for it to happen. People think they look great, but I think they’re just… ok.
And if we’re talking about alternate uniforms, I think the all-black set is the best uniform the team has right now.
Honestly, if it were up to me, I’d like to see the Eagles’ whole uniform get an updated look. I think the logo and uniform designs could use some tweaking. Nothing drastic though! I’m not looking to have our uniforms look like the Seattle Seahawks’ or Tennessee Titans’, that’s way too much. Simple is often times better. But for example, keep the wings on the helmet but just alter it slightly. A simple redesign to the uniform could be great and would be a lot more interesting than just going back to kelly green.
But again, I’m probably in the minority, which is fine. I don’t expect it any changes to the primary uniform to happen. So for now, I’ll take the all-black any day.
Jeremy Maclin Retires
Amid the announcement of Robert Gronkowski’s retirement, former Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin also announced his retirement from the NFL.
— Yahoo Sports NFL (@YahooSportsNFL) March 25, 2019
Jeremy Maclin is one of my personal favorite Eagles players that I’ve watched, and I can make an argument that he was the most underrated Eagles WR of the past 20 years.
Maclin was drafted in the 1st round of the 2009 NFL Draft, a year after fan favorite DeSean Jackson was taken. Both Maclin and Jackson finally gave the team a very good WR tandem that they hadn’t had under Andy Reid.
Maclin always seemed to be in the shadow of DeSean. Fans loved DeSean’s unmatchable speed and homerun ability, while Andy Reid slotted him as the offense’s top receiver. The passing game was predicated on how to get DeSean the ball.
However, in their primes, I’ve always believed that Maclin was the better overall receiver over DeSean. Maclin might not have had DeSean’s speed (then again, almost no one did), but Maclin still had great speed of his own. Not only that, but he was a great route runner and could get open in any area of the field. While DeSean excelled at going deep, it was Maclin who could get open on short, intermediate, or deep routes. Maclin also had more reliable hands than DeSean, and his low drop rate is often an overlooked part of his game.
Jeremy Maclin has had only two drops on 174 catchable balls over the last two seasons
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 5, 2016
Maclin was one of those players that came onto the team, performed at a reasonably high and consistent level, and was an absolute class act as a player on and off the field. Players like that should always be appreciated.
Good luck to Jeremy Maclin, his wife, and future child.