April 17, 2024

There are four key roster issues that the Eagles still need to address.

Well, things certainly started with a bang, didn’t they? The Philadelphia Eagles kicked off the free agency frenzy by signing former Giants running back Saquon Barkley to a three-year, $37.5 million contract. It was one of the largest contracts Philly has ever signed a tailback to. No one has to ask questions about why.

They view Barkley as an offensive ‘Swiss army knife’ who can do work on the ground and through the air as a receiver. Barkley, coupled with the additions of CJ Gardner-Johnson’s return to Philly and the acquisition of Bryce Huff, have set a stronger foundation for the roster. However, there’s still work to do.

Bringing back C.J. Gardner-Johnson helps the Philadelphia secondary tremendously. His best season came just two seasons ago with the Eagles, where he amassed a career-high in interceptions while playing both nickel cornerback and safety.

That presents a question for the Eagles and new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Where is the versatility of Gardner-Johnson going to be used most? Is it at the nickel cornerback position or safety? Both positions need desperate help after last season.

If the Eagles elect to play CJGJ at nickel cornerback, as they did during much of his first stint here, the Birds have plenty of viable, top-end options at the safety position. Former Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons is wildly coveted, still on the market, and seen as the best player who is available at the safety position. Some have even named Philadelphia as the landing spot for Simmons which makes most sense.

Other veteran safeties like Eddie Jackson, Quandre Diggs, Micah Hyde, and Jayron Kearse are also still available on the market. Younger projects like Isaiah Simmons (a potential LB/S Swiss Army knife) are also options for the Eagles to target at the position.

All would be significant upgrades after Reed Blankenship’s up-and-down 2023 season. Reed signed a one-year extension recently, and that’s a good thing. He is, however, limited in some ways. Kevin Byard is gone, but he offered Philadelphia next to nothing. Another addition here might be needed.

If Gardner-Johnson plays primarily as a safety, the Eagles could look to make an addition at slot corner. They probably have more options on the current depth chart than we’d like to believe. one of which being Isaiah Rodgers (if he’s ever reinstated), but here’s another option. They can also reacquire Avonte Maddox.

If they choose to look elsewhere, Adoree’ Jackson, Levi Wallace, Stephon Gilmore, Xavien Howard, and Steven Nelson are a few options for the franchise. Darius Slay and James Bradberry are both set to return in 2024. It’s nice to have insurance for them. The slot cornerback position is a huge need though. Wait might they elect to move Bradberry there? He played there sparingly this past season, but we’ll have to wait and see what Fangio thinks.

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