James Casey, Isaac Sopoaga among flurry of Philadelphia Eagles signings
For a good while Tuesday, it looked as if the Philadelphia Eagles’ only move would be the release of cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Then, in a flurry of activity, that all changed.
A few hours after that Asomugha transaction, the Eagles announced the signings of FB James Casey, NT Isaac Sopoaga, S Patrick Chung, LB Jason Phillips and CB Bradley Fletcher. You can go ahead and file all those moves as the early stages of Chip Kelly’s roster remake, prior to his first year as Philadelphia head coach.
How does each move impact the Eagles going forward?
Casey checks in as the most interesting of the quintet, at three years and $14.5 million. A fullback/tight end hybrid, Casey caught 34 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns in Houston last season. Only a so-so blocker, Casey projects out more as a pass-catcher in Kelly’s spread attack — and a potentially solid one, at that.
Sopoaga comes to Philadelphia after spending all nine of his NFL years with the 49ers. He won’t put up any huge stats, but the bulky veteran gives the Eagles exactly what they need as an anchor in their new 3-4 defense.
Chung played at Oregon while Kelly was the offensive coordinator there, so the two are familiar with each other. Thus far, Chung has been disappointing in his NFL career (especially over the past two seasons), but brings the thunder from the safety spot and is just 25 years old. Philadelphia probably can pencil in Chung as a starter, as well as a special-teams contributor.
Fletcher comes from a similar situation as Chung — he’s 26 and played inconsistent football in St. Louis. But he did have a four-interception season back in 2010 and held quarterbacks to a 55.8 rating on passes thrown his direction last year, per Pro Football Focus.
Finally, Phillips has seen very limited playing time in three NFL seasons, the past two with Carolina. He signed a two-year deal, but he may have to earn a spot come camp.
Grade for Casey signing: B. We can expect the innovative Kelly to find a way to use Casey, who was an underrated part of Houston’s success over the past couple of seasons.
Grade for Sopoaga signing: B-plus. Philadelphia fills a need with a known quantity. Sopoaga needs to prove he has something left in the tank.
Grade for Chung signing: B. If Chung can prove that he’s capable of staying healthy, Philadelphia might have found a long-term answer at safety here.
Grade for Fletcher signing: C. Are the Eagles expecting Fletcher to start? If so, there’s a decent amount of risk here. This could wind up being a stroke of brilliance or a total letdown.
Grade for Phillips signing: Inc. Hard to pinpoint this one without seeing how much of a chance the Eagles really plan to give him.