Juqua Parker’s production, at least from the perspective of sacks, has been decent for a left defensive end over the past five years:
Some of his time over that span was as a starting LDE, although the majority of it was spent as part of the Eagles LDE rotation that included current players like Brandon Graham, to others that are long since gone, like Jevon Kearse. By my count, only three players have been with the Eagles longer: K David Akers, S Quintin Mikell, and C Jamaal Jackson – Akers and Mikell are all but goners, and Parker should find himself squarely on the endangered list as he just turned 33 in May and is scheduled to make $3.5 million in 2011.
In free agency this year, there are two very intriguing defensive ends out there that the Eagles could pursue, that also just happen to play LDE – Charles Johnson of the Panthers and Ray Edwards of the Vikings. I’ll focus on Johnson. The Panthers franchised C Ryan Kalil instead of Johnson, so if players with 4 years of NFL experience are free to pursue free agency under the new CBA, Johnson can field offers from any interested bidders.
(Cont after the jump)…
Johnson would be a huge get, as he really came into his own as a stud pass rusher last season, somehow collecting 11.5 sacks on a terrible Panthers team that was always playing from behind and facing a heavy dose of the run. But the great thing about Johnson – he turns 25 in July. Obviously, the Eagles invested a lot in Brandon Graham last season as they traded a healthy bounty to move up to 13 in the 2010 draft, but he’s not likely to be ready for the beginning of the season after tearing his ACL last year. Even if you’re the Eagles and you believe that Graham is still bound for stardom, you can never have too many good pass rushers – Look no further than the 2007 Giants, who won the Super Bowl on the strength of their absurdly deep and talented DL.
The downside, obviously, is that Johnson will cost a boatload of money. If the Eagles do indeed try to sign a DE (a position they’ve historically placed a heavy value on), they can offset some of that cost by cutting Parker and his $3.5 million salary in 2011.