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Eagles can sign any of these possible free agents to replace Derek Barnett


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Eagles can sign any of these possible free agents to replace Derek



We are, more than likely, watching Derek Barnett’s final games with the Eagles.

In 2022, for the first time in a very long time, the Philadelphia Eagles will enter an offseason with both draft capital and a few dollars that they can wave around in free agency. History has taught us, over and over again, that even if Philadelphia lacks one or the other, they’re going to address the defensive line, even if it seems like there are more pressing concerns.

The Eagles have Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave under contract through next season. They also have a budding young star in their defensive tackle rotation by the name of Milton Williams, but it’s obvious that they need help at the defensive end position.

Brandon Graham’s age was already a topic of discussion, and after an Achilles tear ended his season in Week 2, that won’t stop being the case. The addition of Ryan Kerrigan was a train wreck. Derek Barnett is officially a bust.

It wasn’t for a lack of trying. The Eagles tried to squeeze all that they could out of the 2017 NFL Draft’s 14th-overall selection, but nothing has worked. Now, it’s time to turn the page, and when Barnett is officially off of this roster for good sometime in March and the topic of conversation turns to free agency, Philadelphia will have options if they choose to explore them.

Here are five potential free agents that would upgrade the Eagles at the defensive end position immediately if they indeed decide to move on from Derek Barnett.



Takkarist McKinley is one of those gambles that might pay off… maybe.

This one falls under the category of gambling and is the textbook definition of low-risk, high reward. Some of you are probably thinking to yourselves that all this does is trade one troubled star for another. Hear us out though.

As you all are very well aware, Derek Barnett was the 14th-overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. What some of you may not have known or might have forgotten is Takkarist McKinley was taken by the Atlanta Falcons in that same selection meeting 12 spots later at 26.

We’re well into their fifth season as professional football players. Derek Barnett has more career sacks than McKinley (21.5 compared to 19). He also has more career tackles (138 to 95). There are also a few other things that we’ve seen that are concerning.

Remember when McKinley publicly asked for a trade from the Atlanta Falcons and got himself released shortly thereafter? Yeah, that didn’t look good. Neither did that time when he was claimed off of waivers by the Las Vegas Raiders after failing physicals with the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Francisco 49ers.

We all know how that stint in Vegas went. McKinley was placed on the Raiders’ injured reserve in November of last year, designated by the team to return in December, and was shut down for the remainder of the season without ever playing a game.

Everyone needs a second chance though, or in this case, five. McKinley signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Browns in March and seems to have figured things out. Sure, he’s a gamble and possibly the last guy the Eagles need, but on a one-year prove-it deal that doesn’t cost the team a ton, this could give Philly some punch AND still allow them the financial freedom to sign someone else at the position that’s inexpensive like Stephen Weatherly or Charles Harris.


Al-Quadin Muhammad is one of those names Eagles fans need to know.

Let’s look at that 2017 NFL Draft again. On Day 3, the Philadelphia Eagles took Nathan Gerry with the 184th-overall selection in Round 5. 12 picks later, the Indianapolis Colts went with Al-Quadin Muhammad in Round 6 at 196.

Perhaps Philly should have reached.

Ahead of the 2021 season, on April 1st, Indy inked the six-foot-four, 250-pound defensive end to a one-year deal worth $2.9 million that included a $500,000 signing bonus and $1.5 million guaranteed. Through the first 13 games of the season, while being on the field for 73 percent of the snaps, he’s added 37 total tackles and five sacks to his professional resume, giving him 117 tackles and ten sacks for his career so far.

Muhammad doesn’t get a ton of pub. So far, one of the more memorable moments of his career. on a national level at least, came when he got ejected from a Thursday Night Football game in Week 10 of the 2020 regular season for punching Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo, but it’s easy to be overshadowed when you have DeForest Buckner and Darius Leonard as defensive teammates.

Still, we know that the Colts are one of those teams that still do business with Howie Roseman. If the Eagles are looking for an acquisition to assist in transforming this team back into one of the more feared teams at the EDGE, Muhammad can give them a better option than Derek Barnett has been without forcing them to break the bank.


Dante Fowler might be out of the Eagles’ price range, but he’s worth considering.

After watching the Eagles flounder around at so many important positions for what’s felt like forever, it’s hard not to imagine what a mini-spending spree would look like. We’ve all been playing Fantasy football for so long that it’s hard not to think of real-life roster building in the same manner. That’s why the Eagles’ leadership has their jobs and why we have ours, huh?

As mentioned, Philadelphia will have a few coins to spend come the 2022 offseason. That means that they could finally afford someone like Dante Fowler if they wanted to pursue him, but that doesn’t mean that they have to overspend in free agency when they have so many other important needs to satisfy.

It must be mentioned. Of the potential free agents who will have their opportunity to go seek that big payday, Fowler commanded one of the highest salaries during the 2021-2022 season, representing a $10.6 million cap hit and $15.3 million in dead cap space. He’ll be one of the more sought-after targets at the defensive end position in March. Again, that doesn’t mean that the Eagles should overpay, but this is someone that they have to consider.

Dante Fowler is truly talented. In 2022, he’ll eclipse 100 regular-season games played for his career. Heading into Week 14 of the current NFL season, he’s racked up 187 tackles and 34 sacks, and he’s still only 27 years old. He turns 28 next August.



The Eagles got a first-hand look at Solomon Thomas in Week 7.

Solomon Thomas is one of those names that NFL fans just recognize even if they’re unfamiliar with any of his accomplishments over the past few seasons. He too was a first-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft having been taken third-overall by the San Francisco 49ers that year.

He recorded 99 tackles and 10.5 sacks as a member of the Niners, but they declined the fifth-year option on his rookie deal (as the Eagles should have done with Barnett). That decision worked in their favor. Thomas tore his ACL in Week 2 of that season, and just like that his run in the bay was over without costing San Fran an arm and a leg.

The Raiders signed him to a one-year deal on March 19th of this year. Yep! You guessed it guys and gals! That was shortly after the time we learned officially that they were ridding themselves of Takkarist McKinley. Again, we mentioned Takkarist earlier, but you have to keep thinking of him on this Eagles team in that ‘low-risk’ and ‘high-reward’ vein.

Solomon is a much better player than McKinley (or Barnett), and he seems to have turned things around following the injury. He had 28 total tackles and 3.5 sacks heading into Week 14. Philadelphia got a chance to give him a look in Week 7, but he didn’t have a huge statistical performance in that one. Then again, he didn’t have to.

The Raiders ran roughshod over the Birds on an afternoon where Philly barely had the football. Trust us on this one though. Thomas would upgrade the Eagles’ crop of defensive ends very quickly. He might even eclipse both Josh Sweat and Tarron Jackson on the depth chart.

That isn’t meant to be disrespectful to Sweat or Jackson. We’re just stating the facts here.


Emmanuel Ogbah upgrades the Eagles pass rush just by showing up.

Through the first 13 weeks of the 2021 NFL season, Emmanuel Ogbah had more sacks (6) than Josh Sweat (5). He also had more sacks than the combined total of Derek Barnett, Ryan Kerrigan, Fletcher Cox, Milton Willams, and Tarron Jackson (collectively they have five). Stop what you’re doing for a second, and let that sink in.

There are occasions when questions are asked about what someone like Bud Dupree would look like when he trades a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey for a Tennessee Titans ensemble and loses the luxury of playing opposite of T.J. Watt. Now, Dupree has seen some success without Watt before his arrival in the Steel City, but again, the questions are asked. They’re also fair.

In Ogbah’s case, he’s had some solid teammates along the offensive line with Raekwon Davis and Christian Wilkins. They’ve been awesome for the Miami Dolphins, but with no disrespect intended to either one of those guys, Ogbah should be fine without them.

The Dolphins are another of those teams that run the 3-4 defensive scheme, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Ogbah would fail in the Eagles’ 4-3 defensive alignment.

He can wreck a game single-handedly but put him along a defensive front like Philadelphia’s where teams can’t key in on him and his game can catapult to newer heights. That’s a scary prospect if you’re an offensive coordinator for any of the other three teams in the NFC East. He also figures to be less expensive than someone like Dante Fowler.




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Good.  #14 pick overall who can’t get to the QB.  And think he gets paid $10 mm a year.  No thank you.  Another Howie / Joe pick that needs to hit the bricks.

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No on them all. I’d rather draft new talent and have us save money on one of the most expensive posistions in the game. No one gets rid of great pass rushers unless they are old or a huge character risk. I’m not wasting money on players like that. I’d rather draft and develop like we have with Sweat, Williams, and Jackson. Keep developing them and add some high end talent on the edges in the draft. 

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I think they need to draft a DE in the first round AND add a pretty good FA. We don't know whether BG will definitely return and if he does then we don't know what level he can get back to. Sweat is a rotational guy and beyond that the cupboard is very bare. 

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