Eagles mailbag: Top candidates for contract extensions


It’s easy to tell Eagles fans are pumped about the 2022 season because I asked for questions and we got more than ever.

So many in fact that I’m doing four full posts answering all of them. That’s a new record.

We answered the first couple batches this weekend:

Part 1.

Part 2.

And today, we’ll go for a few more:

Right before and during last season, the Eagles extended four key members of the 2018 draft class: Dallas Goedert, Josh Sweat, Avonte Maddox and Jordan Mailata. They don’t have to worry about that with the 2019 class because, well, it wasn’t very good. Their first-round pick Andre Dillard didn’t work out the way they hoped and one of their second-round picks was J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. So there aren’t many obvious in-season extension candidates.

I’ll give you three in order:

1. Javon Hargrave: Hargrave is the most obvious one. He’s entering the final year of his three-year, $39 million contract from the 2020 offseason and the 29-year-old is coming off a Pro Bowl season. Not only would this make sense from the perspective of keeping a good player, but it would also help the Eagles from a cap perspective too. Hargrave’s cap hit of $17.8 million is the highest on the team. The Eagles could give him an extension and pay out most of his $12.75 million base salary in 2022 in a signing bonus to create cap space. Maybe Hargrave will want to play out the season and hit free agency again, but when he spoke to reporters recently, he indicated that he’d like to stay in Philly.

2. Miles Sanders: That 2019 draft class was brutal: Dillard, Sanders, JJAW, Shareef Miller and Clayton Thorson. Yuck. But Sanders has been a good running back when healthy. The problem has been that he’s struggled to stay on the field. Because of that, you can argue that the Eagles shouldn’t give him an extension. But the team views him the way they did those members of the 2018 class. There’s a decent chance they reach an extension during this season if things are going well.

3. Isaac Seumalo: This one I don’t feel very confident in, but let me explain. If Seumalo ends up winning the right guard spot and plays really well next to Lane Johnson — which is possible — then maybe the Eagles can keep him around as a starting guard for another couple seasons. Seumalo is still just 28. They could then possibly go into the 2023 season with some stability and a line of Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Cam Jurgens, Seumalo, Johnson.

I’m not sure any of these guys are strong in-season extension candidates, but here’s how I’d rank them:

1. Kyzir White: He’s just 26 and is here on a pretty cheap one year deal. If this linebacker corps is as good as some think it might be, then keeping it intact for another season would make sense.

2. Zach Pascal: Pascal is the head coach’s favorite player and he is the fourth receiver who won’t cost much. Why not keep him around?

3. James Bradberry: I’d like to have Bradberry higher, but there’s a chance he’s too expensive to keep in 2023, especially if he plays well.

4. Fletcher Cox: You can really argue about the allocation of resources to give Cox a one-year, $14 million contract, but the fact that the Eagles did it makes you think that they’d be interested in bringing him back again in 2023. They’re giving him $14 million after a down season in 2021.

5. Anthony Harris: I still think the Eagles need to upgrade the safety position. If Marcus Epps has a good year, I could see the Eagles wanting to keep him over Harris. Epps is younger and is also entering a contract year in 2022.

I got a lot of questions about the punter! I agree that Arryn Siposs didn’t have a great season in his first year as the Eagles’ punter. He was 24th in the NFL in yards per punt (43.9), 23rd in net yards per punt (38.7) and 25th in punts downed inside the 20 (17). The scariest part is what happened to Siposs later in the season. He averaged 45.9 yards per punt through November but just 37.0 yards per punt in December and January in the regular season. That’s a huge difference.

Like you, I’m a little surprised the Eagles haven’t brought in any competition for him. They should and maybe they will in training camp. If nothing else, they should at least keep an eye on other punters. Now, Siposs is also the holder and I get not wanting to disturb that operation after Jake Elliott had a career year in 2021. But Siposs needs to be better at his first job in 2022.

Yeah, I think Gannon will be better in 2022. The Eagles technically had a top-10 defense in 2021 but it certainly didn’t feel that way. I wasn’t a huge fan of how he played top quarterbacks last year but I get why he did what he did. The good news is that the Eagles don’t face that many great quarterbacks in 2022. Last year, they had to deal with Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, etc. This year, they will have a game against Aaron Rodgers but it really drops off after that to Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray and Kirk Cousins. The drop-off in top QBs, paired with better personnel, should give Gannon the ability to call the type of defense he wants this season. To your point, there’s more pressure on him for sure. Gannon was a head coaching candidate after the 2021 season and now he coaches a unit that has been bolstered by Haason Reddick, Kyzir White, James Bradberry, Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean. Pressure’s on.

You can make a case he’s already really close. After the Zach Ertz trade last October, Goedert put up TE1 number. In the 10 games after the Ertz trade, Goedert had 41 catches for 614 yards and 2 touchdowns. In a 17-game schedule, that’s on pace for a 70/1,043/3 season. And all those receiving numbers are on top of what Goedert offers as a blocker. In that respect, Goedert is a rare player who excels at both aspects of the tight end position.

While PFF isn’t a perfect grading system, it does take into account receiving and blocking. It had Goedert tied as the second-best tight end in the NFL last year along with George Kittle and just behind Mark Andrews. Maybe that’s a little high for him, but it’s not crazy either.

Generally, Travis Kelce and George Kittle are considered to be the top two tight ends in the NFL. Then there’s a group of other players that includes Andrews, Kyle Pitts and others. I’d put Goedert in that second tier right behind those elite performers.

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