The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t waste time in making some moves once the free-agency signing period began Tuesday.
They filled several voids while agreeing to terms with tight end James Casey, safety Patrick Chung, cornerback Bradley Fletcher, linebacker Jason Phillips and defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga.
Casey, Chung and Sopoaga got three-year contracts while Fletcher and Phillips signed two-year deals.
Casey, 28, has the size (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) and speed to play both tight end and H-back in Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s new offense. Last season, Casey caught 34 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns for the Texans. He played four seasons for Houston, snaring 66 passes for 752 yards and four TDs.
Casey will conpete with incumbent tight ends Brent Celek and possibly Clay Harbor for playing time. Celek was the Eagles’ second-leading receiver last season with 57 receptions for 684 yards and a TD. Harbor had 25 catches for 186 yards and two TDs.
Chung (5-11, 210) was a part-time starter at safety for New England for four seasons, amassing 235 tackles, seven interceptions, three sacks and 19 passes defensed, while also starring on special teams. Chung, who played for the University of Oregon while Kelly was the Ducks’ offensive coordinator, is considered a major upgrade at safety for the Eagles. The 25-year-old will likely replace Nate Allen or Kurt Coleman as a starter.
Fletcher (6-0, 200), a former part-time starter for St. Louis, gives the Eagles some much-needed depth at cornerback. The Eagles released starter Nnamdi Asomugha earlier Tuesday and also lost starter Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to free agency. Fletcher collected 25 tackles with a forced fumble and sack for the Rams last season. He led the team with four interceptions in 2010. He should compete for a starting job with the Eagles, though they may add another free agent and take a cornerback fairly early in next month’s NFL Draft.
Phillips (6-1, 240) was mostly a special teams player during stints with Baltimore (2009-11) and Carolina (2012). The 27-year-old led the Panthers with 16 tackles on special teams last season.
Sopoaga (6-2, 330) is the Eagles biggest addition to date, both in terms of size and potential impact. The Eagles desperately needed a nose tackle for new defensive coordinatory Billy Davis’ 3-4 system. Sopoaga, 31, should help. The former San Francisco 49er netted 55 tackles and a sack last season for the 49ers and added eight tackles and a sack in playoffs while helping the Niners reach the Super Bowl.
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