March 11, 2024   8 MIN READ

Dream Team

Ideal Free Agent Targets For Birds


The next phase of the NFL offseason kicks off Monday, as the legal tampering period for pending free agents begins at noon.

The Eagles, like every team, will work the phones and begin the negotiation process for what promises to be an eventful and potentially transformative signing period.

Critical thinking will be paramount.

Taking into account specific fits for philosophical and practicality purposes, I’ve identified several players who should be of interest when the window opens.

Note: These are targets that I think should interest Eagles based on their historical tendencies and preferences. For intel on the Eagles’ thinking ahead of free agency, listen to today’s “Inside The Birds” podcast with Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher.

JK Dobbins

GETTY IMAGES: RB JK Dobbins, who had an injury-plagued career with the Ravens, could be a bargain free-agent signing.

Backup QB: Tyler Huntley

Huntley, 26, has appeared in 20 games (nine starts) over his four-year career. The thinking here is that Huntley’s dual-threat skill set, experience in Baltimore, and age could appeal as a long-term backup behind Jalen Hurts. At worst, Huntley could compete in camp for the role with second-year pro Tanner McKee. Huntley has thrown for 1,957 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions in his career.

Running back: J.K. Dobbins

Other: Alexander Mattison

A talented player marred by injuries, Dobbins seems like the quintessential Eagles upside signing who wouldn’t command a significant investement. At 5-foot-10, 215 pounds, Dobbins would give the team a power element, complementing holdover Kenny Gainwell and whoever could be added through April’s draft.

Wide receiver: Noah Brown

Others: Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, K.J. Osborn, Jalen Guyton

Coming off back-to-back 550-plus receiving seasons, Brown has established himself as a viable contributor in the passing game. He also played three seasons (four total) under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore in Dallas. Traditionally, under head coach Nick Sirianni, the team has coveted gritty pass-catchers interested in mixing it up and doing some dirty work – see Zach Pascal and Olamide Zaccheaus. Brown would have a larger role in the passing game. Westbrook-Ikhine (6-2, 211) sports a bigger frame, which should help working the short-to-intermediate levels of the field. The former Titan yielded 370 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 28 receptions (45 targets) in 2023. The speedy Guyton, who played under Moore last season with the Chargers, could appeal as a low-cost vertical threat to replace Quez Watkins.

Guard: Jon Runyan, Jr.

Runyan recently switched agents – he’s now represented by Drew Rosenhaus – so it’s likely he’ll seek a sizable payday. But taking into consideration age, experience and projection, Runyan should garner interest due to offering plug-and-play ability at right guard and would be a wise investment with Cam Jurgens moving to center as Jason Kelce’s successor.

Blake Cashman

GETTY IMAGES: LB Blake Cashman came into his own last year with the Texans and would be a good fit for the Eagles’ defense.

EDGE: Bryce Huff

Others: Danielle Hunter, Josh Uche, Jonathan Greenard, Mike Danna

The Eagles’ top two pass rushers from 2023 suddenly face uncertain futures, and given the team’s longstanding philosophical approach to the position, I’m expecting the Eagles to aggressively target the free-agent pass-rusher market.

Andrew Van Ginkel would be the obvious choice, given his past with Fangio. But I suspect the Eagles will also look for more pass rush production. Huff would qualify as a splash signing and offer a different dimension. A twitched-up edge rusher known for quickness and leverage, Huff would be a home-run signing.

Uche, though more of a complementary addition rather than a headliner, is another player I’m fond of despite boasting less-than-ideal measureables. An athletic player with a multi-faceted skill set, Uche could potentially reach new heights under Fangio.

Beyond the players listed, further down the free-agent list you’ll find Mike Danna, one of the league’s more underrated defenders. While Danna lacks length and explosiveness, and isn’t equipped to rack up double-digit sacks, he impacts the game in different ways. His hand placement is fantastic, his motor runs hot and he plays with exceptional play strength. A no-brainer signing if I were calling the shots.

Linebacker: Blake Cashman

Others: Jerome Baker, Josey Jewell, Tyrel Dodson

Sure, Patrick Queen, Jordyn Brooks, and even Frankie Luvu supersedes every other available free-agent at the position, but history suggests that Howie Roseman will steer clear of a big-budget talent, especially at this position. But that’s not to suggest the team won’t wrangle a player or two to fortify a faulty second level.

Cashman, coming off a career season in Houston, is a supremely athletic linebacker who is fluid in space and demonstrates heady instincts. While injuries derailed his breakthrough earlier in his career, the 27-year-old has enjoyed a clean bill of health as of late. And he doesn’t figure to be cost-prohibitive compared to the aforementioned.

Baker would appear to be the most obvious, given his recent success under Vic Fangio in Miami, but it’s fair to wonder if the Eagles will be willing to overspend, as Baker should have suitors. Jewell is tough as nails and also has the Fangio connection working in his favor. Dodson is a bit of a wild card here, as the former undrafted free agent has recently come into his own, performing well in his 10 starts in 2023. He’ll also only be 26 at the start of the season.

If the Eagles look to add another player to supplement the position, a veteran like Oren Burks makes sense. Burks, 28, started five games last season for the 49ers, logging a career-high 326 snaps. He’s also an established special teams stalwart, so perhaps the thought of providing special teams coordinator Michael Clay with another core member is considered.

Nickelback: Kenny Moore

The Eagles parted ways with oft-injured slot cornerback Avonte Maddox last week, and other than Zech McPhearson and perhaps Mario Goodrich, they don’t have another nickel corner in the pipeline.

If/when Isaiah Rodgers is reinstated, perhaps he fills the void, but Rodgers predominately played outside in Indianapolis and hasn’t proven he can handle an extended workload inside. It would also be awfully ambitious to bank on Rodgers stepping in after a year away and seizing a starting gig at an important position.

The soundest course of action would be to address the position via April’s draft, where an abundance of prospects fit the bill. Still, it would be shortsighted to pencil in a rookie to take the mantle, and if the Eagles can land veteran slot defender Moore at a favorable price-point, they should pounce. He’s still one of the best in the business and has a history with Sirianni.

Safety: Kam Curl, Jordan Fuller

Xavier McKinney is the undisputed cream-of-the-crop for free-agent safeties and should command a pretty penny. Veteran Justin Simmons, recently released from Denver, where he played under Fangio, is a logical fit whom could help facilitate the scheme.

But the sense I get is the Eagles want to get younger, and at 30 years old, Simmons doesn’t meet that criteria. While that’s not to suggest the Eagles wouldn’t pay a premium to secure a long-term starter – especially at a position that should be tops on their list to upgrade – the team can get more bang for its buck by signing the former Commanders safety Kam Curl.

Curl, perhaps the league’s most underappreciated safety, has shown major development as a former seventh-round pick. Known for having a high football IQ – as one person put it to me, he’s is the “QB of a defense” – in addition to appealing length and range, Curl has yet to scratch the surface of his capabilities. He also just turned 25 earlier this month, so he’d qualify as a building block. Put him in a major market like Philadelphia and he’d become a household name quickly.

With only Reed Blankenship and Sydney Brown – who’s recovering from ACL surgery – as viable in-house options, the Eagles need to come away with two safeties. The second name could very well be acquired through the draft, but for this exercise, I’ve identified another player entering his prime worth pursuing: Fuller, 26, is another highly intelligent center fielder who even donned the green dot in his second season with the Rams.

The former Ohio State safety is also known to be a strong leader. If the Eagles swing for the fences for a high-end talent like a McKinney – or in this case, Curl – Fuller would be a solid secondary signing to fill out the position.

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for

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