Grading the moves Eagles didn't make 24 hours into NFL free agency


The first day of NFL free agency 2020 was as much if not more about the moves the Eagles didn't make than the one they did.

DeAndre Hopkins. Byron Jones. James Bradberry. Amari Cooper. Stefon Diggs. All were traded or signed big contracts. None are Eagles.

Is Howie Roseman taking a conservative approach — and by extension, screwing this up — or is the Eagles executive vice president and general manager a victim of circumstance, and therefore doing the right thing by keeping his cool?

That might depend on the situation, according to our first 24-hour report card.

DeAndre Hopkins

People were really upset with Roseman right out of the gate when Hopkins went to Arizona for a second-round pick and running back David Johnson. Why wouldn't the Eagles offer a first for one of the best wide receivers in football?

Hard as it may be to believe, it appears the Texans really wanted Johnson. This could be because he looked like a star in the making back in 2016, going over 2,000 yards from scrimmage with 20 touchdowns, before injuries derailed his career. Or maybe head coach/newly minted GM Bill O'Brien just doesn't know what he's doing.

Either way, the Eagles couldn't match the Cardinals' offer of an every-down running. Even bumping the draft compensation to a first was a difference of 19 picks, and clearly the Texans were looking for another asset as part of the deal.

Grade: Miles Sanders wasn't in the Cards

Byron Jones

Forget the part about Jones becoming the richest cornerback in the NFL, a title that certainly doesn't mean he's the best corner. The structure of his new deal with the Dolphins is the bigger story as far as the Eagles are concerned.

Miami will pay Jones a whopping $40 million over the first two years of the contract, according to reports. Seeing as the Eagles only came into free agency with an estimated $40 million in 2020, one player would've been accounting for half of that cap space (and another $9 million or so of that is for draft picks). Let's not forget, this roster does have other needs.

It was also reported Jones turned down a bigger deal with less up-front cash, so the structure appears to have been a big sticking point. Plain and simple, the Eagles got outbid by a team with more money than it knows what to do with.

Grade: Howie's hands were tied

James Bradberry

Though there was a portion of the fan base and media that preferred Bradberry to Jones, there was never much connecting the other top corner on the market to the Eagles. The contract Bradberry received from the Giants — three years, $45 million — was also a lot more palatable.

That being said, $15 million annually is still steep for a corner who isn't the fastest and has some consistency issues. Bradberry would've represented an upgrade for the Eagles, but it would seem they simply weren't interested at that price tag and are instead content to go with a slightly lesser player for significantly fewer dollars.

Grade: Time to go digging through the bargain bin

Amari Cooper

A lot of this boils down to money, in case you haven't noticed. The Eagles couldn't afford Jones, probably didn't want to pay Bradberry, and even with Hopkins, maybe weren't in position to give him the kind of long-term extension he wants right now.

With that in mind, how on earth was the club supposed to sign Cooper for five years, $100 million? Especially when there's already something like $30 million wrapped up in DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery for 2020 — regardless whether the latter is still on the team?

Plus, it was reported Cooper turned down more money from a rival team, indicating he was intent on getting the best deal he could from the Cowboys. The Eagles probably just gloated interest to help drive up the price and cost Dallas more cap space.

Grade: Never a legitimate option

Stefon Diggs

This might be the only real head-scratcher from the Eagles' point of view, though we obviously don't know all the details. What we do know is a first-round pick and a swap of some later selections doesn't sound too bad for a receiver who has caught 100 passes in a season and topped 1,000 yards in the last two.

Why weren't the Eagles in? Maybe they like their options in the draft better. Diggs isn't quite an elite-level receiver. There are some concerns about his attitude the way he forced his way out of Minnesota. He'll no doubt want a new contract sooner rather than later, an issue we've been over.

Diggs would've taken the guesswork out of drafting a receiver, something the Bills were clearly comfortable doing sitting one pick behind the Eagles at No. 22.

But if they got this one wrong, not going for the sure thing will wind up looking pretty bad.

Grade: Henry Ruggs or bust

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