Ranking the Eagles' Free Agents

Ranking the Eagles' Free Agents

Believe it or not, the Eagles do have free agents besides DeSean Jackson. All together, 12 members of this season's club are slated for some form of free agency when the new league year begins on March 13. Some of them already have a foot out the door, while others we don't want to see the team live without. We break them all down here in this handy guide.

NO PRIORITY (AKA, GONERS)

12. Victor Abiamiri
A second-round pick out of Notre Dame in '07, Abiamiri missed each of the last two seasons with serious injuries, and has started just six games in his NFL career. They can't count on him to stay healthy, and he showed little even when he was on the field.

11. Ronnie Brown
You may recall the Eagles attempted to trade Brown to the Lions at the deadline, but the deal voided when they discovered Jerome Harrison had a brain tumor. Brown had fallen out of favor with the coaches after the backward-pass debacle, and his carries dried up in the midst of LeSean McCoy's breakout season.

10. Trevor Laws
Selected in the second round from ND one year after Abiamiri, Laws at least managed to stay on the field, but like Abiamiri, he never produced much. Laws had four sacks and an interception in 2010, career highs that teased he had finally arrived, but accomplished surprisingly little in Jim Washburn's wide nine this season.

9. Steve Smith
The Eagles never really needed Smith to begin with, and it didn't help he wasn't 100%. The offense could still use another situational target, but the front office would be better off finding a receiver who isn't recovering from major knee surgery.

LOW PRIORITY

8. Juqua Parker
After a surprisingly lengthy career in Philadelphia, Parker's playing time finally diminished last season. He could still serve as an effective situational pass rusher or fill-in, but with a pair of Pro Bowlers anchoring a group of young players, there simply doesn't appear to be room for him here any longer.

7. Owen Schmitt
You could make the case Schmitt should be a higher priority, only fullback isn't very prevalent in this offense. Regardless, he knows the system, and McCoy was effective running behind Schmitt in short yardage situations this season. There could be competition for his job, but Schmitt should at least be in the mix.

6. Vince Young
The vague idea Young could be back in Eagles green next season will undoubtedly annoy, but backup quarterback remains a question mark for this team. Is Mike Kafka ready to step into the role? Does a better option than VY become available in free agency? Young can't possibly have a firm grasp on the system yet, and probably isn't a perfect fit either way, but he's a year ahead of most of the other quarterbacks they could bring in, and he'll likely be around. Interesting dilemma that we'll be taking a closer look at in the coming weeks.

5. Antonio Dixon
Dixon is only listed as low priority because he is a restricted free agent. A solid run defender with a high ceiling, Dixon is coming off a torn triceps that ended his season in October. Due to his short track record, management should be able to tender Dixon at a level that prevents another team from swooping in for the steal.

HIGH PRIORITY

4. King Dunlap
All things being equal, keeping Dunlap could prove difficult. He has the size and athleticism scouts love, plus pro experience playing both tackle positions, as well as left guard. We've been critical of Dunlap in the past, but another team might view him as a potential starter. If not, you can never have too many offensive tackles on the roster, especially when they have his versatility.

3. Derek Landri
What a find. By the end of the season, Landri had become more than just some journeyman lineman -- he was a force. According to Pro Football Focus, Landri charted as the fourth-best defensive tackle in the league, and he was the fifth-most productive interior pass rusher with 18 hurries in 178 snaps. It seems he was a great fit for Washburn's scheme, so he should be interested in returning, unless somebody pays him to be an every-down player again.

2. Evan Mathis
Mathis might have come in at number one on this list, but chances are he will do everything under his own power to re-sign. Mathis had his best season as a pro, and spoke very highly of Howard Mudd and the organization, admitting he feels like his NFL career truly began in 2011. These things usually have a way of working themselves out, which is somewhat of a relief. Mathis played at a Pro-Bowl level, a big reason why the offensive line finally started to settle into a decent unit.

1. DeSean Jackson
It still feels like this offseason, the early portion anyway, boils down to what to do about DJacc. The consensus remains the Eagles will use the franchise tag, but as we discussed previously, what that means exactly is open to some interpretation. They need to decide before free agency opens though, in case they intend to pursue another receiver, because they can't fit both of their contracts. We feel Jackson will ultimately be back next season on the franchise dollar, but until it's official, anything can happen.

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Phillies corner outfielder/infielder Howie Kendrick is finally nearing a return. He'll begin a rehab assignment tonight with Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Kendrick has been out since April 15 with an oblique strain. He did defensive work during the Phillies' road trip and has been taking outdoor batting practice at home this week.

Kendrick was off to a hot start when the oblique injury sent him to the DL. In 10 games, he went 13 for 39 (.333) with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs. He batted second all 10 games.

The Phillies are in a bad offensive funk and could use Kendrick's bat over Michael Saunders' right now. The Phils' 1-2 hitters were among the most productive in the majors in April, hitting close to .350 for the month. They're down to .282 on the season as Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera have slumped in May.

With Clay Buchholz likely out for the season and Saunders providing little offense so far, the Phillies' trio of offseason veteran additions has not panned out through two months.

Supplement-free Lane Johnson heaviest he's ever been, feels he has much to prove

Supplement-free Lane Johnson heaviest he's ever been, feels he has much to prove

It's only natural to have some reservations about Lane Johnson after he was suspended for 10 games last season for his second violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. One more positive test and the Eagles will lose their starting right tackle for two full years.

Fortunately, Johnson seems determined to avoid any future run-ins with the league. The 27-year-old changed his entire approach this offseason, cutting out negative influences or any other voices at all while preparing for the 2017 season.

"I just trained by myself back in Oklahoma," Johnson said after the Eagles' first full-team practice of OTAs on Tuesday. "Trained by myself and everything went good. I came back, my body weight is about 325, so I'm heavier than I've ever been. I feel in good shape, and I have a lot to prove, so it's a big year for me.

"I did everything by myself. There wasn't going to be any mishaps."

Two suspensions totaling 14 games later, Johnson has gained a healthy fear of being unknowingly steered toward an illegal supplement.

Johnson tested positive for PEDs before the season last year after taking a banned substance known as peptides and was eventually slapped with the full 10-game penalty after a lengthy appeal process. The fifth-year veteran always maintained peptides were not listed on the label of the offending supplement.

Johnson filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the players' association in November after the suspension was upheld. Its status is ongoing.

Johnson also served a four-game suspension in 2014.

When he's not in trouble with the league office, Johnson is a vital cog in the Eagles' offense. They went 5-1 with him and 2-8 without him last season.

"I feel like whenever I'm playing, I try to be the best right tackle in the NFL," Johnson said. "My deal is to just stay on the field, play a complete season, and I think it will be a big year for me."

Johnson isn't concerned about losing a competitive edge, physically or mentally, after dropping supplements altogether.

"I've always been the athlete that I am," Johnson said. "That's what I'll continue to prove. I'm gonna go play and show people what I can do."

Signed in January 2016 to a five-year contract extension worth $56 million, Johnson has plenty to prove. He was working out in place of 35-year-old left tackle Jason Peters, who wasn't at the start of OTAs, on Tuesday and is expected to one day replace the nine-time Pro Bowl selection permanently.

Despite his checkered past, it sounds like Johnson knows exactly what's on the line, which is why he chose to go it alone this offseason. The only person you can trust is yourself.

Then again, Johnson still has his vices, which might raise some eyebrows with the news he's up to 325 pounds — eight more than his listed weight.

"My big deal is cutting out the ice cream, the Ben & Jerry's late at night — the stuff you want to indulge in," Johnson said. "If you get me on an ice cream binge, it's not good."

The Eagles can probably deal with a little extra ice cream, just as long as Johnson remains committed to keeping dodgy supplements out of his body.