The Philadelphia Eagles weren't going to retain all the free agents on a talented roster, as the team was bracing for pivotal players to depart this offseason. Philadelphia did the best job it could to retain the free agents on its radar, ultimately deciding to bring back key veterans and letting young talent depart to other teams.
Keeping Darius Slay and James Bradberry together made the Eagles' offseason a success, even if that meant the pending departures of Javon Hargrave, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, T.J. Edwards and others. There's still some work to do in Philadelphia, but the Eagles also have a 2022 draft class that essentially redshirted last season due to the amount of talent the team had at multiple positions.
How did the Eagles fare with their roster decisions in free agency? This is a report card of the individual players Philadelphia decided to bring back and signed, rather than dwelling on the players it lost.
Kelce deciding not to retire was a no-brainer. He was either returning to the Eagles or retiring, paving the way for 2022 second-round pick Cam Jurgens to start at center. Instead, Jurgens will play right guard after Isaac Seumalo departed in free agency -- sandwiching him between Kelce and Lane Johnson.
Kelce is still the best center in the NFL and doesn't appear to be slowing down at 35. The Eagles are a better team when he's on the field and in the locker room.
Another no-brainer for the Eagles to bring back, especially when Graham took a hometown discount to stay. Graham wants to finish his career in Philadelphia and play 15 seasons in the NFL (he's going on Year 14). After recording a double-digit sack season at age 34, there is concern Graham will decline -- but his leadership is too vital for that locker room.
Graham is coming off his best season and still has Hasson Reddick and Josh Sweat in the defensive end rotation. The sacks and pressures are still coming.
Bringing Bradberry back was the best move the Eagles could make, ensuring he and Darius Slay would be together at cornerback for the next several years. Bradberry even took less money to stay in Philadelphia.
Given the Eagles' depth at cornerback, they had to bring Bradberry back after the year he had. Bradberry and Slay will continue to be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks and wideouts for 2023.
Having a No. 1 cornerback is vital for a successful defense. The Eagles have two of them.
The Eagles appeared to be releasing Slay after both sides couldn't come to terms on a restructured contract. Philadelphia never did release Slay after both sides agreed on an extension to keep the veteran for three more years.
Even with a reduced cap number over the life of the deal, will Slay decline in his mid-30s? That remains to be seen, but Slay is a leader in the locker room and still a very good cornerback.
Keeping Miles Sanders never appeared to be in the cards with all the free agents the Eagles had this offseason, so GM Howie Roseman had to get creative with how he was going to reassemble the running back room. Penny is a strong fit for Nick Sirianni's offense with his running style and how he fits as a lead back in a running back-by-committee approach.
Penny could have a major season in Philadelphia, if he stays healthy.
Getting Cox for one year at $10 million is below his value (the New York Jets offered him more), so that's a win for the Eagles. Cox isn't the player he once was, but the Eagles had to bring him back after losing Javon Hargrave in free agency.
The Eagles need to add more depth at defensive tackle, but Cox should pair well with Jordan Davis and Milton Williams in 2023. Another important leader to keep in that locker room.
Scott fits well in the Eagles' running back-by-committee approach, knowing his role as a playmaker behind Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Gainwell. He'll produce for the Eagles when called upon, a valuable rotation piece over the last several seasons.
Not surprising to see Scott return, considering how the Eagles value him.
Even with James Bradberry and Darius Slay back, the Eagles needed depth at cornerback. Behind Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson has shown he's a good special teams player -- but hasn't played his way toward getting playing time at cornerback.
Williams, a former second-round pick, has talent to get snaps on the outside while improving on special teams. He still has potential to be a solid starter in the league, so it's worth taking a flyer on.
Losing both T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White wasn't ideal for the Eagles, but Philadelphia made its priority in the secondary. The Eagles have Nakobe Dean, but no other starter to pair with him -- which led to getting the best outside linebacker available in the second wave of free agency in Morrow.
Better in coverage than against the run, Morrow is in line to start for Philadelphia. The Eagles will look for more depth at linebacker in the draft or search for an upgrade via trade.
Evans will get an opportunity to start opposite Reed Blankenship at safety, but this move is for depth at the position as well. The Eagles aren't done adding at safety.
Expect Philadelphia to keep looking at free agents in the coming weeks.