Eagles storylines heading into 2019 NFL Scouting Combine


As it does every year around this time, the NFL will take over Indianapolis this week for the annual scouting combine. 

With free agency and the draft just around the corner, there will be plenty of news to come out of the combine as NFL folks, agents and prospects all mill about in Indy. I’ll be joining them on Tuesday night. 

Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson are scheduled to speak to reporters on Wednesday afternoon (Roseman at 12:30, Pederson at 12:45). The prospects will begin the media portion of their weeks on Thursday. 

Here’s a look at some of the biggest Eagles storylines heading into the week: 

Will Eagles play tag? 

The biggest story surrounding the Eagles this offseason surrounds Nick Foles. The Eagles already exercised his option and forced Foles to pay back $2 million to buy back his freedom. If the Eagles still want to trade Foles, they’d first need to slap a franchise tag on him. 

But because of the salary cap associated with that tag (around $25 million), the Eagles would need to make sure they have a trade lined up before pulling that trigger. That’s where the combine comes in. Every executive in the league is in town and it makes it a lot easier for GMs to pull off moves. A few years ago, Howie Roseman was able to pull off a trade from 13 to 8 in the 2016 draft. Expect him to look hard for a trade partner this week. 

While I still think the more likely outcome is that Foles walks as a free agent on March 13, I’m sure Roseman would prefer to trade him and pick up a draft pick for this year. The tagging window runs through March 5, so if they can’t figure it out by then, the Eagles would be out of options. 

Extending Carson 

At every turn, the Eagles have made it clear that Carson Wentz is their franchise quarterback. Since the 2016 first-round pick just finished his third NFL season, the Eagles are now allowed to give him an extension if they choose. Perhaps both sides will agree it would be better for Wentz to play out the 2019 season before an agreement is reached, but they can at least explore the possibility of a mega extension this offseason. 

The Carson story 

Speaking of Wentz, Wednesday will be the first time Roseman and Pederson will talk publicly since the PhillyVoice story that called Wentz “selfish” came out. Plenty of Wentz’s teammates have addressed it and even Wentz himself has talked about it. But now we’ll hear from the guy responsible for bringing him to Philly and the head coach. 

Keeping free agents 

The Eagles have a ton of pending free agents on the roster. Technically, they can’t use the combine time to talk to agents of other team’s pending free agents (they would never!), but they are allowed to try to lock up their own players. 

Brandon Graham tops the Eagles’ list but he seems at least destined to test the market. Other notable free agents include Ronald Darby, Jay Ajayi, Golden Tate, Mike Wallace and others. Darby and Ajayi are both coming off ACL tears, so there might not be a race to sign them. 

The Eagles can also talk face to face with agents who represent players on the team with unfavorable contracts. Jason Peters is about to have a cap hit of $13 million. Nelson Agholor is about to have a cap hit of $9.4 million. There might be some sorting to do. 

Coaching changes 

Wednesday will be the first chance to ask Pederson about the changes to his coaching staff. DL coach Chris Wilson, WRs coach Gunter Brewer and assistant OL coach Eugene Chung are all gone. The Eagles promoted Phillip Daniels to replace Wilson and promoted Carson Walch to replace Brewer. The Eagles also added a few folks in advisory roles. 

The scouting part 

Ahh, yes, The real reason we’re all getting together in Indy. Aside from the on-field workouts, the Eagles will also hold formal and informal interviews with prospects. After getting awarded two compensatory picks, the Eagles have eight draft selections for late April. Their top spot is No. 25. 

I think the most likely scenario is the Eagles use their No. 25 pick on a lineman on either side of the ball. Roseman has already said this defensive line class is historically deep. The Eagles have plenty of need there. 

Free agency comes before the draft, so it’s possible the Eagles take care of some short-term and long-term needs that way. Here’s what I think are their top-five needs: DE, RB, OT, DT, WR. 

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