The Philadelphia Eagles organization has many issues to address in the coming months regarding their depth chart. Whether it is through the draft or the free agency market, there are plenty of important decisions to be made by head coach Chip Kelly and the white collars of the Eagles organization regarding future positions to be filled. At this point in the offseason, the Eagles still have a “suspect” defensive backfield and are also thin at the wide receiver spot (if they lose Jeremy Maclin in free agency they will be dangerously thin). But a position that very recently has opened up that absolutely must be addressed this offseason is the offensive guard position.
Offensive Guard Todd Herremans was released by the team on Thursday. The 32-year-old veteran has spent ten seasons as an Eagle and was the team’s longest tenured player along with linebacker/defensive end Trent Cole, who is now also gone. Herremans was selected 126th overall in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL draft out of Saginaw Valley State University. Throughout his career in Philadelphia, Herremans started 124 games on the Eagles offensive line and has been one of the most consistent performers on the team. Herremans has been referred to as a “renaissance man” among the offensive line, starting at every position on the line for the Eagles except center. Although he has been a reliable player game in and game out over the years, his 2014 campaign was a rough one for the 10-year veteran. He started the first eight games of the season at right guard for the Eagles, but soon after, was placed on the injured reserve list for the remainder of the season due to bone and ligament damage in his right foot. It was reported that he was playing through a lingering torn bicep injury throughout the 2014 season as well.
It is believed that Herremans was released from the team for multiple reasons. One of the reasons of his release was due to the structure of his contract. Herremans signed a contract extension in March of 2012 in which he would be under contract with Philadelphia through the 2016 season. He was due to make $4 million for the 2015 season, but due to his age and plethora of injuries as of late, the organization decided to let the long-time Eagle go. The Eagles will save $2.8 million in cap space due to his release, leaving the team approximately $45 million in cap space to work with.
Now that Todd Herremans is no longer an Eagle, it is in question how the guard will be replaced. At this point, it is believed that Herremans could be replaced by his backups, Andrew Garner or Matt Tobin, both of which have rotated along multiple positions on the Eagles offensive line. The team could also explore their options through this year’s draft as well. Either way, the long-time Eagle will be missed by fans and his teammates. Although the Eagles need to replace a well-versed veteran along the offensive line in this offseason, the guard spot is not the only position that the Eagles are likely going to “upgrade.”
Cornerback Bradley Fletcher performed poorly in important defensive situations towards the end of the season, proving that he cannot defend elite wide receivers throughout the league. Fletcher is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and will more than likely not be re-signed by the Eagles, leaving another position to be filled. Along with Fletcher departing from the team, cornerback Cary Williams was released as well to help begin a rebuilding process of the Eagles defensive secondary.
A big priority of this offseason was re-signing wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. With a career high of 85 catches in 2014, Maclin was a pivotal piece of the Eagles passing attack. Philadelphia was unable to resign Maclin, and it came down to the figures. Maclin’s statistics were among some of the best in the NFL last season, leading him to seek a very sizable contract extension. He sought approximately $11 million per year while Philadelphia was only willing to pay him $9 million per year. This lead to the Eagles losing their receiver to the Kansas City Chiefs, who were more willing to adhere to his contract demands. Maclin will reunite with former head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Andy Reid, in Kansas City.
This offseason for the Philadelphia Eagles organization is certainly an important one in regards to the teams’ future. Losing LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin leaves crucial positions to be filled in the coming months, so needless to say Eagles fans are eager to see what the organization will do.