Who should the Eagles add late in free agency?
By Jacob Keppen
Entering June, the big question eating away at Eagles fans minds is whether or not Philadelphia will make one more move before the season. There still are quality names on the market, and with it being so late a signing most likely won’t burn a hole in Jeffery Lurie’s wallet. With holes still needed to be filled on the roster heading into the season, here are three late free agency additions the Eagles should look to make.
KJ Wright, Linebacker
It’s a bit puzzling why K.J. Wright still remains a free agent heading into June. Yes, Wright is not quite the same player he used to be. He might not give you near pro bowl caliber play like he did in the mid 2010s. What you do get in the longtime Seattle Seahawk is veteran experience and leadership.
The Mississippi State product has been a mainstay for the Seahawks defense over the past decade. Besides a knee injury plagued 2018 season, Wright has been a guarantee to start a majority of games. Since 2013, Wright has started in at least 15 games in every year except for that 2018 season. The Eagles linebackers group is not great. Alex Singleton and Eric Wilson will hopefully be solid starters this year, but there’s no standout player and there is a big lack of depth. A player with the experience and leadership of Wright’s caliber would be a great short term addition to the team.
Malik Hooker, Safety
This has been the fabled move since the offseason began. Bringing in Malik Hooker seemed like a bit of a longshot, but boy did it make sense. It makes even more sense with the former Ohio State Buckeye still on the market this late into the offseason.
Hooker is extremely talented, but there are major injury concerns. Basically, when he’s on the field Hooker is an impact player”¦ when he’s on the field that is. A short term “prove it” deal to reunite the former Colt with former Colts defensive backs coach and now Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon is a smart move to make. Rodney McLeod has been very good for the Eagles over the years, but he’s soon to be 31 and is coming off of a major injury. With Malik Hooker still on the market this late, the deal shouldn’t cost Philadelphia that much. He could fit for a starting spot and if he does well, earn a future contract in Philadelphia.
Gareon Conley, Cornerback
This is a move that the Eagles should seriously consider, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone given the franchise’s history with the Ohio State corner. After the 2017 NFL Draft, there were reports that Gareon Conley was going to be the pick for Philadelphia, rather than Derek Barnett, if it wasn’t for allegations that came out before the draft. The Howie Roseman administration has shown in the past interest in Conley, and it would be smart to show interest in the former Raider and Texan again.
The Eagles have a big need at the 2nd cornerback position. Unless they believe 4th round pick Zech McPhearson is ready to start opposite Darius Slay, there’s no standout option to start on the outside. Gareon Conley showed flashes of that first-round potential in 2019 with the Texans and looked poised to have a breakout season in 2020 before an ankle injury took him out of action. If Conley is healthy, he could be a smart low risk-high reward option for the Eagles. At 25, Conley could potentially be a long term option for Philadelphia moving forward as well.