In this article, we’re going to do an early analysis of the Eagles free agents after the end of the upcoming football season. They include, Dan Klecko (FB), Jason Avant (WR), Chris Gocong (LB), Omar Gaither (LB), Hank Baskett (WR), Max Jean-Gilles (G), Nick Cole (C/G), Tank Daniels (LB), Rashad Baker (S), and Sean Jones (S).
The most notable offensive players on this list are Hank Baskett and Jason Avant, both of whom have been nice contributors for the Eagles over the past few years. Jason Avant’s recent development has been very noticeable these last two seasons, especially when it comes to his role as a 3rd down receiver. I have a feeling the Eagles will hold onto him. He’s just 26 years old and has a bright future.
Hank Baskett was a restricted free agent after the end of last season but Philly tendered him to a one-year contract. The Eagles will probably keep him too and extend him for another 3 to 5 years. He’s great in the red zone because of his tall stature and he’s been really valuable when it comes to special teams plays. In 2008, he had 440 receiving yards and scored 3 TDs. Very similar numbers to Avant and the two go hand in hand. They’re also both 26 years old.
Omar Gaither and Chris Gocong are both solid and versatile as LBs for the Eagles. Gocong seems to get better each year and had a career high 59 tackles in 2008. I believe that the Eagles will resign Gocong, but I’m not so sure about Gaither.
During the second half of last season, Gaither was replaced by Akeem Jordan as the team’s weak OLB. At training camp, the two of them find themselves fighting for the starting job, and I don’t see any reason the Eagles would look to extend Gaither if Jordan carved out the starting role. When it comes to Tank Daniels, he’s a hard-working bench player and a strong special teams player, and I can see him being extended for a couple of years.
Klecko filled in at fullback last season when the Tony Hunt project didn’t pan out, but now he’s back to defensive tackle where he made 4 tackles and 2 sacks in 5 weeks before changing to fullback. I don’t believe Klecko will even make to the end of next season, because here in the 2009 off-season the Eagles already have 3 DTs and they usually don’t carry 4, but Klecko’s versatility may keep him around. Should he stay on the team, the Eagles probably won’t resign him.
The Eagles value Nick Cole and the role he plays in their offensive line. Cole was a bench player last season, but saw some action once Max Jean-Gillies was injured. Since Cole can play both center and guard, I could easily see him getting as much action this season. He’ll be challenging Jamaal Jackson for the starting job at center, and Stacy Andrews’ health raises a question mark too, giving Cole multiple openings. While the Eagles will probably try to resign him, another team may recognize his talent and make a better offer.
While safeties Rashad Baker and Sean Jones are both new Eagles going into this season, they should both improve the team’s presence at the position. Baker will be a better backup than Considine was last season and Jones gives the team security at the position in case Demps doesn’t realize his potential. Hopefully they both do nice jobs in 2009 and remain Eagles after the season.
I can guess all day, but no one knows what will actually happen. A year ago I thought that Baskett, Cole, Daniels, Thomas, Hanson, and Dawkins would all be Eagles, but I missed the biggest two names there. The decisions all lie in the hands of Philly’s front office and we’ll have to see how the season plays out. Can’t wait to see!