It certainly appears like Eagles general manager Howie Roseman hit the jackpot with his free agent signings during the offseason.
Pass rusher Haason Reddick had 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries on Sunday in the Eagles’ 29-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. That made him the only Eagle player going back to 1950 to accomplish that feat. Reddick has 3.5 sacks for the season and leads the NFL with 3 strip-sacks.
Reddick, the South Jersey native, signed a three-year contract worth as much as $45 million last spring.
“Haason [Reddick], he affects the game,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said. “He makes big-time plays … Even if he doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, we deploy him in a way that creates good matchups for other people, so he’s always helping us win the game.”
But Reddick is not alone.
Cornerback James Bradberry, signed to a one-year deal worth $7.25 million in June after the Giants released him, had a crucial interception Sunday. Bradberry was the only healthy cornerback among the three starters − Darius Slay left after three plays with a forearm injury and Avonte Maddox was ruled out before the game with an ankle injury.
The Eagles are still stunned that they have him. Slay, for example, interrupted Bradberry’s postgame interview Sunday to say that reporters should be asking Bradberry why the Giants let him go. The clear answer is the Giants had to clear space on their salary cap and couldn’t keep him.
“I try to make sure I tell him once or twice a month … how happy I am that he’s here, and I know I definitely said that to him (Sunday),” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. “That was an unbelievable catch and an unbelievable play by him.”
The Eagles have also done well this season with linebacker Kyzir White, who plays practically every snap and is second on the team with 23 tackles; and wide receiver Zach Pascal, who is a reliable slot receiver, not to mention strong special teams player.
Here, then, is a ranking of each free agent class, from worst to best, since Roseman was put in charge of personnel decisions in 2016:
7 – 2018
Hits: TE Richard Rodgers
Misses: LB Paul Worrilow, LB Cory Nelson, DL Haloti Ngata, WR Mike Wallace
Comment: The Eagles were cash-strapped coming off their Super Bowl season, so all of the above players were signed to one-year contracts. But Worrilow, the Delaware native, tore his ACL the first day of spring practice and never played. Wallace, the much-needed speed receiver, broke his foot in Week 2. Nelson, perhaps the biggest name in that class, was released before the season started. Rodgers provided depth behind Zach Ertz, who set an NFL record for tight ends with 116 receptions, and rookie Dallas Goedert.
6 – 2019
Hits: WR Greg Ward, QB Josh McCown
Misses: S Andrew Sendejo, LB L.J. Fort, DT Malik Jackson, DE Vinny Curry, LB Zach Brown, DB Orlando Scandrick
Comment: The Eagles signed Jackson to a 3-year, $30 million deal, but he broke his foot in Week 1 and missed the rest of the season and was ineffective the next season. Fort also signed a 3-year deal, was cut before the season started, then started for the Ravens. Brown was released after a loss in Minnesota, and Scandrick was released the next week. Then he ripped the Eagles, Roseman and Malcolm Jenkins on a sports TV show. The best thing about this class was Ward, who became a dependable receiver after 2-plus years on the practice squad.
5 – 2020
Hits: DT Javon Hargrave
Misses: LB Jatavis Brown, S Will Parks, CB Nickell Robey-Coleman
Comment: The Eagles splurged on Hargrave, signing him to a 3-year deal worth as much as $39 million. After a slow start due to a hamstring injury, Hargrave finished with 4.5 sacks. He made the Pro Bowl in 2021. The other signings were low-risk deals that didn’t pan out. Brown retired early in training camp.
4 – 2021
Hits: S Anthony Harris, RB Jordan Howard, CB Steven Nelson
Misses: DE Ryan Kerrigan, S Andrew Adams, QB Joe Flacco, LB Eric Wilson, OL Le’Raven Clark
Comment: Harris and Nelson were dependable starters in the secondary. Howard, signed at first to the practice squad, ended up rushing for 406 yards. But Kerrigan, who had 95.5 sacks in 10 seasons in Washington, had none with the Eagles, and he only had 3 tackles total. Wilson was released midway through the season, and Flacco was traded to the Jets.
3 – 2022
Hits: Bradberry, Reddick, White, Pascal
Comment: It’s still early, but so far, every player has made a significant impact on the Eagles’ 4-0 start this season. Reddick had 23.5 sacks over the past two seasons, while Bradberry was selected to the Pro Bowl with the Giants in 2020. White had 144 tackles last season for the Chargers. This group has the potential to challenge the 2016 class. See below.
2 – 2017
Hits: RB LeGarrette Blount, WR Alshon Jeffery, QB Nick Foles, CB Patrick Robinson, WR Torrey Smith, DE Chris Long
Misses: G Chance Warmack
Comment: All six were instrumental players in the Eagles’ Super Bowl season. Foles, of course, was the MVP of the championship game after he replaced an injured Carson Wentz in Week 14, then led the Eagles to three postseason victories. Robinson had a pick-6 in the NFC Championship game, while Jeffery had a 34-yard TD catch on a shredded shoulder. But there wasn’t much staying power. All but Jeffery were gone after the 2018 season.
1 – 2016
Hits: RG Brandon Brooks, S Rodney McLeod, LB Nigel Bradham, OL Stefen Wisniewski
Misses: CB Leodis McKelvin, QB Chase Daniel
Comment: This group gets the nod over the 2017 class based on longevity. Brooks and McLeod outperformed their initial contracts and got second contracts, as did Bradham. All four started for the Eagles in the Super Bowl the following season. Daniel signed a three-year, $21 million contract, but he was released after one year.
Contact Martin Frank at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.
This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Ranking Eagles free agent classes, and how high 2022 class is climbing