The Philadelphia Eagles had the best record in the NFL in 2022 but came up short when it mattered most, losing 38-35 to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII. It's a bitter pill to swallow for all sorts of reasons, but even more so considering how many important players they have hitting free agency this offseason. The Jalen Hurts era in Philly is just beginning but it is not crazy to think the standout QB may never have a better roster around him than he did this year. Look at this list of significant names hitting the open market next month if you don't believe me:
Obviously this doesn't mean the Eagles are losing all those guys. It's nigh impossible to believe the front office won't figure out a way to bring guys like Brandon Graham or Jason Kelce back. But they can't afford everybody, especially since Hurts will be receiving a hefty extension this offseason as he heads into the final year of his rookie deal.
Here are five Eagles who will not be back with the team next year as they attempt to recreate the magic of their Super Bowl run.
Sanders had a great year in 2022, rushing for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 1,347 yards from scrimmage is a career-high. Sanders is also a free agent and everybody knows the danger of believing in the Contract Year Guy. Sanders is a good running back but he is not one of the best in the league and really benefits from playing behind the NFL's best offensive line. Philly is better off financially replacing Sanders with a mid-round draft pick, even if he's willing to agree to a below-market deal in order to stay with the championship contender. He won't be back.
Hargrave was the breakout performer of a dominant Eagles defensive line in 2022, finishing the season with a career-high 11 sacks. He was so good he probably priced himself out of Philly's range. The team has Jordan Davis heading into his second year and ready to embrace a larger role. They'll probably bring back Fletcher Cox as a longtime Eagle and important locker room presence despite his declining production. Same with Brandon Graham. There just isn't enough money to reward Hargrave for his huge year with all the resources already invested. Maybe there could be interest in a big one-year deal if Hargrave's market isn't fruitful but that isn't likely. He'll be in a new uniform come 2023 with a well-earned payday.
No, Bradberry is not on this list because he committed the season-ending penalty. He's here because he signed a cheap one-year prove-it deal with the Eagles after getting cut by the Giants and boy did he prove it. Bradberry showed he can be an above-average No. 2 cornerback on an elite defense and probably earned character points for admitting he grabbed JuJu Smith-Schuster in the last two minutes of the Super Bowl instead of complaining about the refs. More importantly, Darius Slay already has a huge contract in the secondary and Philly probably views Chauncey Gardner-Johnson as more important to retain as a safety. Bradberry was a great fit for one season but won't return and both sides should feel real good about how things worked out.
Dillard hasn't developed into the star tackle everyone thought he could be, but he proved to be invaluable as a depth piece down the stretch for the Eagles. As nice as that is, Philadelphia has too much money tied up in its offensive line as things stand to give Dillard anything near resembling a market-value deal-- and that's before they re-sign Kelce. Dillard will get a big deal from a team that doesn't already have two All-Pro caliber tackles and Philly should get a nice compensatory pick for their troubles.
Eagles fans were very excited when the team acquired Robert Quinn at the deadline for a mid-round draft pick because he used to be awesome and has been quietly rotting away out of sight on a bad team in Chicago. Well, things didn't really pan out the way Philly hoped. He recorded exactly zero sacks as an Eagle after playing less than a quarter of all defensive snaps after the trade and had two tackles in the playoffs. Quinn was a good thought by Howie Roseman but a failed experiment and the Eagles will let Quinn walk.