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How Eagles replaced 8 departed free agents this offseason | Upgrades, downgrades or more of the same?


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How Eagles replaced 8 departed free agents this offseason | Upgrades, downgrades or more of the same?


Today 6:30 AM
jalen mills

Former Philadelphia Eagles safety Jalen Mills left for the New England Patriots in free agency.

As with any offseason, the Eagles have turned over a good portion of their roster over the past few months.
However, under new head coach Nick Sirianni, the Eagles have endured a bit more turnaround than in previous years. The Eagles shipped off former franchise QB Carson Wentz and bided farewell to aging veterans like DeSean Jackson, Jason Peters, Alshon Jeffery and Malik Jackson.
The front office also let eight veterans walk in free agency, looking to revamp the lineup with rookies and some up-and-comers.
Here’s how the Eagles replaced eight departed free agents this offseason:
Departing veteran: LB Nathan Gerry (one-year, $1.21 million deal with 49ers)
Replacement: LB Eric Wilson
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Wilson is an ascending, young defensive player, who has a background with the new coaching staff, while Gerry is a special teams ace who masqueraded as a three-down backer in Jim Schwartz’s defense over the past two years. Wilson has proven he can play the WILL and MIKE positions, while Gerry became a common scapegoat for the defense’s failures. Even if Wilson is just above replacement level, he’s an upgrade over Gerry.
Departing veteran: S Jalen Mills (four-year, $24 million deal with Patriots)
Replacement: S Anthony Harris
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Mills was moved to safety last season, and he actually played better as the campaign went along. However, he was never at the level of Harris -- a former franchise tag-earner -- and the swap out at the position should help the Eagles’ secondary. Harris is a legitimate starting safety, while Mills is still adjusting to the position at the NFL level. Mills was overpaid by the Patriots, and the Eagles were able to land Harris on a one-year, $5 million deal in free agency.
Departing veteran: P Cameron Johnston (three-year, $8 million deal with Texans)
Replacement: P Arryn Siposs
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Johnston was inconsistent last season, but at least he had NFL experience. Siposs has never played in an NFL game. The Texans thought enough of Johnston to give him a multiple-year deal in an offseason where they signed roughly two dozen veterans to one-year pacts. Siposs is running unopposed this offseason, which might not be the right decision.
Departing veteran: LB Duke Riley (one-year deal with Dolphins)
Replacement: LB JaCoby Stevens
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Riley’s leadership ability was felt on special teams, but his overall impact wasn’t enough to keep him in Philadelphia. The Eagles drafted hybrid safety-linebacker JaCoby Stevens to fill the void in the game’s third phase. While Riley received heavy defensive snaps last season, he wasn’t particularly effective. Stevens has a shot to earn time as a sub-package player, which is ideally where Riley should have been situated all along.
Departing veteran: S Rudy Ford (two-year, $4.2 million deal with Jaguars)
Replacement: S Andrew Adams
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Ford, when healthy, was a phenomenal gunner on punt coverage. That said, he was rarely healthy, and the special teams unit suffered as a result. The Eagles’ first move in free agency was adding Adams to replace Ford as an ace. Adams has a strong reputation on special teams, and he will provide just as much or more value than Ford if he can stay healthy.
Departing veteran: DE Vinny Curry (one-year, $1.3 million deal with Jets)
Replacement: DE Ryan Kerrigan
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Curry’s second tour with the Eagles was low-key successful. While he wasn’t racking up numbers on the stat sheet, he was a strong rotational pass rusher in Schwartz’s platoon system. Kerrigan, who signed after the draft, can be much more. The Eagles are likely to use Kerrigan as a rotational pass rusher at both linebacker and defensive end. Kerrigan has a much more impressive pass-rushing history than Curry, and he should be able to start if Brandon Graham or Derek Barnett suffer injuries.
Departing veteran: QB Nate Sudfeld (one-year deal with 49ers)
Replacement: QB Nate Mullens
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Sudfeld’s final act in Philadelphia will be remembered forever. Unfortunately, Sudfeld’s name became synonymous with "tanking” due to Doug Pederson’s foolishness in last season’s final game. Mullens is a clear upgrade over Sudfeld. Mullens has more game experience and had quite a few bright spots in limited action. It’s hard to find a better third-string QB in the league than Mullens.
Departing veteran: RB Corey Clement (one-year deal with Giants)
Replacement: RB Kerryon Johnson
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Clement’s final two seasons with the Eagles were disappointing, to say the least. After battling several injuries, Clement became an afterthought on offense, despite his Super Bowl LII heroics as a rookie. While Clement was able to earn a contract with the Giants this offseason, his NFL career appears to be hanging by a thread. The Eagles upgraded his spot in the lineup by claiming Johnson off waivers. The former second-round pick, at worst, is a strong short-yardage and blocking back. Johnson is likely to get a lot of third-down snaps if he makes the roster, which he is favored to do.
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