5 defensive linemen for Eagles to target in free agency


The Eagles are in a tricky salary cap situation as free agency approaches, so don’t expect them to make any big splashes.

With that in mind, for this series we’ll look at some cheaper options as the Eagles try to fill out their first roster under Nick Sirianni. Free agency begins on March 17 and the legal tampering window opens March 15.

Today we’ll look at defensive linemen.

The Eagles have an interesting decision to make with Derek Barnett and they’ve already decided to part way with Malik Jackson. Meanwhile, they’re reportedly working to restructure Brandon Graham’s contract and Hassan Ridgeway will become a free agent.

Tanoh Kpassagnon

These names are not going to blow you away because the Eagles don’t have a ton of money to spend. So we’re mostly looking at some players with upside. Kpassagnon is still just 26 and he certainly looks the part. Kpassagnon was the guy Joe Douglas called “body beautiful” during the 2017 pre-draft process. With the Chiefs, Kpassagnon has been OK but he hasn’t lived up to his 2nd-round draft status. He started just one game in his first two years but has started 23 over his last two. He started 15 games in 2020 and picked up just 28 tackles and a single sack. But there are tools there and any D-line coach would want to get their hands on him.

D.J. Jones

The 26-year-old from San Francisco is known more as a run-stuffing defensive tackle but he has picked up five sacks over his last two seasons. Overall, he’s played in 44 games with 29 starts and if the Eagles don’t want to bring back Ridgeway, a guy like Jones for the right price would make sense.

Dawuane Smoot

The former third-round pick has quietly become a nice contributor in Jacksonville in recent years. His career got off to a slow start but he has 11 1/2 sacks over the last two seasons and just turned 26. In 2020, he played in all 16 games and started 7; he had 5 1/2 sacks, 17 QB hits and 2 forced fumbles.

Al-Quadin Muhammad

The former Saints’ 6th-round pick won’t demand much money on the free agent market but might be of interest to the Eagles. After the Saints released him at final cuts in 2018, the Colts claimed him and Muhammad played the last three years in Indianapolis. So there’s the Indy connection to Nick Sirianni and Jonathan Gannon. In those three seasons, Muhammad has played in 47 games with 8 starts. In the last two years, he has 5 sacks and played around 50% of the Colts’ defensive snaps.

Jordan Willis

The former 3rd-round pick out of Kansas State hasn’t had a very good NFL career thus far. He played in 32 games for the Bengals in his first two seasons but was a rotational player. In 2019, he was cut by the Bengals and was claimed by the Jets. He was then traded last season to the 49ers for a late-round pick. Even in San Francisco, he didn’t do much. He played seven games and had 13 tackles and 5 QB hits. But he was super athletic coming out of college four years ago and the Bengals and Jets weren’t good scheme fits for him. If the Eagles like his athletic upside (and there’s a ton), Willis would be a cheap option for a rotational player.

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