Legal tampering begins: Five free agent targets for the Eagles
As the Eagles continue to try and get under the cap before the Wednesday deadline, many players around the NFL will be looking for new homes. When the dust settles, the Eagles should have enough money to entertain some low-budget options in free agency. With holes at multiple key positions, here are five possible free agents that could land in Philadelphia:
Nicholas Morrow, LB
The three-down linebacker signed with the Raiders in 2017 as an undrafted free agent and has since emerged as a starter. The 25-year-old is coming off his best season last year recording 78 tackles (8 for loss), three sacks, and an interception in 11 games.
Morrow has experience playing in all three linebacker positions, is excellent in pass coverage, and was rated as one of PFF’s top-30 off-ball linebackers. As the Eagles continue to retool the defense, Morrow would give Jonathan Gannon another young piece to pair with Alex Singleton, who’s coming off a 120-tackle season in his own right.
Mackensie Alexander, CB
Alexander has become a quality nickel corner over the last few years. The Clemson product began his career in Minnesota where he played under Gannon for his first two seasons. Alexander signed a one-year deal with Cincinnati last season and had himself a productive year.
Alexander seems to always be in the mix in the run game, being the only cornerback in 2019 to play 500+ snaps and not miss a tackle. After the lackluster performance from Nickell Robey-Coleman this past season, the Eagles will be looking to upgrade in the slot on defense. Landing Alexander would be a step in the right direction.
Malik Hooker, S
We’ve seen his name quite a bit since the Jonathan Gannon hiring, but Hooker makes a lot of sense for the Eagles. His injury history is worrisome but in the right scheme, he’s a downfield playmaker. The 24-year-old has 7 career interceptions since being drafted 15th overall by the Colts in 2017. Hooker only allowed a 41.4 passer rating when targeted in coverage during his final year at Ohio State.
With Jalen Mills’ future unknown, Rodney McLeod tearing his ACL in December, and K’Von Wallace being the lone young safety on the roster, the Eagles are left pretty thin at the position. Hooker’s value is sure to be minimal coming off an Achilles tear and securing him on a one-year deal could be a low-risk, high-reward investment.
Keelan Cole, WR
Cole has been a reliable WR3 for Jacksonville after going undrafted, even when the QB position was in shambles. He had a career-high in targets and receptions last season, catching 55 passes for 642 yards and 5 touchdowns. Cole’s most attractive skill is his aggressiveness at the catch-point, grabbing 52% of contested catches that have come his way since 2019.
The Eagles currently have a crowded wide receiver room and they’ll hopefully “chase” another one in the draft next month. Using their slim amount of cash on a pass-catcher may not be high on the team’s priority list. If they do dip into the market, Cole is a reasonable under-the-radar option.
Mike Davis, RB
Davis had a productive year for Carolina in McCaffrey’s absence, finishing with career-highs in multiple categories:
- Carries: 165
- Rushing yards: 642
- Rushing TDs: 6
- Receptions: 59
- Receiving yards: 373
- Receiving TDs: 2
Davis has great balance and his physicality would complement Sanders’ elusiveness well. Forcing 65 missed tackles last season, Davis creates additional yards after contact almost every time he touches the ball.
He certainly proved that he could start elsewhere; but if he doesn’t get the RB1 money he’s looking for, a Sanders/Davis pairing has the potential to be pretty lethal. Davis finished the year as one of four Panthers with 1,000+ scrimmage yards along with Robby Anderson, Curtis Samuel, and DJ Moore.
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Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports