Eagles free agents that Gannon, Cards should consider signing

Feb 19, 2023, 7:14 AM

Javon Hargrave #97 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts after a play against the Kansas City Chiefs du...

Javon Hargrave #97 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts after a play against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals checked another box off the offseason list on Tuesday with the hiring of former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.

Now, it’s onto filling out the rest of the coaching staff and looking into next year’s roster.

With 36 free agents from the Cardinals’ 2022 depth chart hitting the open market this offseason, turnover is more than expected in Arizona.

For a first-year head coach like Gannon, past connections could and should come into play as he builds his team.

And after seeing what the Philadelphia Eagles defense did this past season with Gannon at the helm, kicking the tires on some of their 2023 free agents is far from a terrible decision for the head coach and the Cardinals.

There’s nothing like having some familiarity within the walls of your new home. It also doesn’t hurt that a handful of players could help fill some major needs for Arizona.

With that being said, a look at some intriguing Eagles defenders that put in work under Gannon and could searching for a new home in 2023:

DL Javon Hargrave

The Cardinals have a lot to do when it comes to rebuilding their defensive line following J.J. Watt’s retirement, Zach Allen’s current status as a free agent and a need to get better along the inside.

The Cardinals could very well use their No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft on Georgia’s Jalen Carter — if he’s there — but if they don’t, one name that stands out like a sore thumb is Hargrave.

After posting 19 sacks across five NFL seasons, the veteran interior defensive lineman has racked up 18.5 over the past two years under Gannon.

Last season marked Hargrave’s best by a mile behind 11.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss and 16 QB hits. He produced the fourth-most sacks for a defensive tackle in the NFL.

Hargrave, 30, would bring a veteran presence on the inside and would be a solid piece to build around.

The price tag could be pretty hefty, though, with Pro Football Focus projecting a three-year, $55 million deal for the lineman’s services.

CB James Bradberry

Yes, he was called for defensive holding late in Super Bowl LVII, seemingly putting the final nail in Philadelphia’s coffin. But Bradberry, 29, should be recognized for much more than that.

Earning a second-team All-Pro nod this past season, the cornerback compiled three interceptions, 44 tackles and 17 passes defensed in 17 games played. He also returned a pick 27 yards for a touchdown.

Currently, the Cardinals have Marco Wilson as the only starting CB returning to the fold in 2023 with both Byron Murphy and Antonio Hamilton free agents.

Per PFF, Bradberry’s next deal projects to be in the two-year, $24 million range.

LB T.J. Edwards

There would need to be a little maneuvering but adding a guy like Edwards, 26, could really give the team’s linebacking core that already includes Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins a boost.

He has been a tackling machine for the Eagles the past two seasons, totaling 289 across 33 games played (31 starts). This past season he set a career mark of 159, good enough for seventh in the NFL. He also had two sacks, five QB hits and seven passes defensed.

But with other areas of greater need within Arizona’s defense and Collins’ improved play, Edwards could be an unnecessary cost.

Edwards’ next deal could be in the three-year, $40 million range, per PFF.

DL Fletcher Cox

After 11 solid NFL seasons that included six Pro Bowls and a first team All-Pro nod, Cox likely doesn’t need to add to his resume.

But if he decided to return for a 12th year, he would be another name to consider along the interior for Arizona given his stature and leadership he could bring.

And at 32, he’s still producing following a 7-sack, 14-QB hit effort in 2022.

Adding the lineman on a one- or two-year deal wouldn’t hurt if the price is right.

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