Philadelphia’s defense was one of the league’s best last year. The unit finished 2017 ranked No. 3 in the league and shut down ground games with the top-ranked run defense. The Eagles’ free agency addition of defensive end Chris Long helped with that. Long had 28 tackles, five sacks, and four forced fumbles playing in rotation.
Center Stefen Wisniewski was set to hit free agency in 2017, but the Eagles retained him to anchor a line that NFL.com analyst and former NFL center Shaun O’Hara rated as the league’s best unit last year. They also kept tight end Trey Burton, who threw that touchdown pass that Foles caught in the Super Bowl.
Until we see otherwise, Cousins is less likely to change the market for players than he is to change it for veteran quarterbacks who have already made life-changing sums of money.
He might very well have taken a reasonable extension if Washington had offered one.
Just as Tom Brady chose the privilege of taking below-market deals after making a fortune over his first three NFL contracts, quarterbacks like Cousins are likely to be the only ones who will have the leverage and the slow aging curve required to bet on themselves and wait to make this sort of deal.
Verdugo has the previously mentioned above-average hit tool and the potential for power, though it has not translated to in-game just yet. Even if it doesn’t, Verdugo’s plate approach belies his years and professional experience.
In his short stint last season, Verdugo struck out only 16 percent of the time, but this was up significantly from his usual rate in the minor leagues. Prior to being recalled to the majors, Verdugo was striking out only 10 percent of the time in Triple-A.
With the glove, Verdugo has a strong arm and has shown that he can handle all three outfield spots, though right and center are more natural fits. That presents a problem, with Chris Taylor who had something of a breakout of his own last season blocking the way in center, and Yasiel Puig doing the same in right. But regardless, Verdugo’s potential with the bat is legit, so Dave Roberts is going to find him room in the lineup in 2018.