Eagles Mailbag: Cornerbacks, Cutting for Cap Room, Pinkston & Thrash

We got so many good questions this week for the mailbag that we split it up into two.

Monday's edition was a good one, with a theoretical question about which three players I'd pick from the Falcons and Patriots to plop on the Eagles in 2017.

Plenty more good ones today. Let's hop in:

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This is a good question because it's a pretty decent line of thinking. Because there are so many good cornerbacks in this year's draft, maybe the Eagles can get max value at a later pick. In theory, this should be true.

And it was with that thinking in mind that I asked Howie Roseman at Senior Bowl week if teams think that way. His answer was really interesting and seems to ring true:

"It's interesting, because last year we sat there and said defensive tackles in this draft are unreal. You're going to get an opportunity to be there in the fourth or fifth round and there's going to be a second- or third-round guy. And what happened was they all went. And we had looked at it before and in years where there's positions of strength, when you think you can get guys later, what typically happens is there's a run on those guys and [teams] want to get their own guys.

"So you just have to be careful that you're not sitting there going, ‘This is a great draft at position X and we'll be sitting there in the sixth round and we'll get a great guy.' That's why just sticking to your board and not getting cute and just making sure you just get the best player for the Philadelphia Eagles."

Roseman is right. Last year, 14 defensive tackles went in the first three rounds. 

So while it might make some sense to think that the Eagles can put off taking a corner because there will be a good one later, it could be a dangerous trap. If there's one at the top of their board when they're on the clock, they should take him.

Interesting. So many people think back to Thrash and Pinkston and trash them, but let's take a strictly statistical look at the difference. Pinkston and Thrash were teammates in Philly from 2001 to 2003, a total of three seasons. In each of those three seasons, Pinkston and Thrash were the Eagles' best two receivers. Here's a look at their combined numbers:

2001: 105 catches, 1,419 yards, 12 touchdowns

2002: 112 catches, 1,433 yards, 13 touchdowns

2003: 85 catches, 1,133 yards, 3 touchdowns

The Eagles' top two receivers in 2016 were Jordan Matthews and Dorial Green-Beckham. They caught a combined 109 passes for 1,196 yards and five touchdowns.

So, to answer your question, yes, maybe Pinkston and Thrash weren't that bad. Or maybe they were and this group was just worse.

Yes, I fully expect the Eagles to make a few moves to clear cap room and then to sign a wide receiver who can help the team immediately. That doesn't mean they're going to make a huge splash, but I think they're at least going to sign someone you've heard of before.

The Eagles could look to the draft to find a wide receiver too; it's very possible. But signing a receiver takes some of the gamble out of trying to fix the position. Roseman made an effort to point out that aside from the 2014 draft class, it has traditionally taken receivers longer to acclimate to the NFL game. At least if they sign a free agent they'll have a better idea of what they're getting and will know that player is at least capable of playing in the NFL.

Clearing up some cap space is something Roseman is good at. Cutting Connor Barwin would save $7.75 million. Cutting Leodis McKelvin would save $3.2 million. Cutting Ryan Mathews would save $4 million. And Cutting Jason Kelce would save $3.8 million.

I think those first three moves are the most likely and would save just under $15 million in cap space that could help them sign a few free agents.

The Eagles rarely use the franchise tag; the last time was with DeSean Jackson in 2012. And I don't see them using it this year either.

Bennie Logan is the only player who would even be in consideration for a franchise tag, but the franchise tag for defensive tackles last season was $13.6 million and it'll be more this year, whereas if the Eagles sign Logan to a long-term deal, they could spread the money out and not take a big cap hit.

If Logan is back with the Eagles in 2017, it won't be on a franchise tag, it would be because the Eagles sign him to a long-term deal.

In that scenario, the Eagles should at least consider it. Tanoh Kpassagnon had a really impressive week down in Mobile for the Senior Bowl and proved he can hang with the bigger school guys, which was his goal.

The physical attributes jump off the charts and Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas seemed impressed with Kpassagnon. "The first thing that jumps out is he's 6-7 and 280 pounds and he's cut out of rock. He's as body beautiful as it gets."

The thing with Kpassagnon is that I view him more as a 3-4 end with his 6-7, 280-pound frame. He could probably play in a 4-3, but I'm not sure it fits him best.

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