Snaps Lost: Philadelphia Eagles
The “Snaps Lost” series is a detailed look at the playing time void created by players that have left each team this offseason, whether they were traded, cut, left in free agency, or retired.
Because each unit plays a different number of snaps over the course of the year, we have created the “Full Time Equivalent” metric. FTE is the total number of missing snaps divided by the number of plays the team ran on that side of the ball. This is an equivalent measure of how many full time players (100% snap count) the team would need to add on to make up for their offseason losses, even though very few players actually play a full snap count.
For example, if a team had 1,100 snaps on offense and then lost seven players who combined to play 2,200 snaps, their FTE would be 2.0 (2,200/1,100). This ensures that a team who lost a high volume of players only has a high FTE if those players racked up some significant playing time. FTE can only fall between zero (no players left the team) and 11 (fire everyone!) for each side of the ball.
Each team will have a ranking following their FTE, with the first-ranked team in each category (offense, defense, and total) representing the team with the smallest portion of their playing time in need of replacement.
A few caveats before getting into the good stuff:
-Suspensions and injuries that may limit 2015 snap counts are not considered.
-Biggest Losses are purely in terms of snap count, not necessarily in terms of impact.
-All snap counts are Regular Season only.
Overall FTE Lost: 7.16, 30th
FTE Lost: 3.28, 24th
Biggest Losses: Jeremy Maclin (1043), LeSean McCoy (791), Evan Mathis (608), Todd Herremans (585), Nick Foles (553)
Summary – Few teams saw more change this offseason than the Eagles, and it starts with some big names on offense. Maclin bet on himself in signing a one-year “prove it” deal last offseason and was rewarded with a long-term deal in Kansas City after an excellent 2014. McCoy found himself in Buffalo by way of trade, netting the team Kiko Alonso in the process. Apparently unhappy with his contract, Mathis was granted his release just recently, and in conjunction with Herremans’ release and subsequent signing with the Colts, the Eagles are much thinner at guard than they were this time last year. Foles saw a massive drop off in his numbers and his grade (+7.4 vs. -7.4) from 2013 to 2014, and like McCoy, he was dealt away in a trade with the Rams.
Replacement Plan – First-round pick Nelson Agholor should consume most of Maclin’s snaps, even if the production isn’t quite replicated in his rookie year. Veteran Miles Austin could figure into some of those snaps, but he’s struggled to be both effective and healthy since his early days in Dallas. Speaking of health, both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews have had their share of injuries over the years, but between the two, they should still be able to account for the loss of McCoy. The door is wide open at guard with two positions to fill. The likes of Allen Barbre, Dennis Kelly, and Matt Tobin will all get a chance to crack the starting lineup. Foles’ loss was accounted for the minute they traded him away for Sam Bradford, though once again health concerns arise here.
FTE Lost: 3.88, 28th
Biggest Losses: Cary Williams (1198), Nate Allen (1121), Bradley Fletcher (1094), Trent Cole (834), Casey Matthews (440)
Summary – Chip Kelly’s wild ride continues on defense, where the Eagles were the only team to move on from three defensive players who accounted for 1000 or more snaps each. Fletcher allowed nine touchdowns on the season, second most among corners, and has since signed with New England in an attempt to help their depleted secondary. Williams was solid enough in his second year since coming over from Baltimore yet was jettisoned nonetheless, rebounding in Seattle. Allen’s departure leaves another hole in the secondary, this time at safety. A career Eagle, Cole was cut in an effort to save cap room and will play out the next two years with the Colts. Matthews was pressed into duty last year but never developed much from his rookie year, and now is in a backup role with the Vikings.
Replacement Plan – Boykin was the team’s best corner last year (+6.5), so moving him into an every down role makes sense and would account for some 500 additional snaps, but he can’t do it alone. Second-round pick Eric Rowe may see play time, and Nolan Carroll (+4.7 coverage grade in 2014) could see an increase on his 388 snaps, but the other starting job will be taken by the highly paid Byron Maxwell, signed away from Seattle this offseason. Another former Seahawk, Walter Thurmond, appears to be the frontrunner to replace Allen, but he’s spent his entire career at corner and has dealt with plenty of injuries. Cole’s release almost certainly means a much anticipated bump in play time for Brandon Graham, but behind him and Connor Barwin the Eagles will be relying on unproven players like Bryan Braman and Marcus Smith II. Finally, Matthews loss can be covered by Alonso or a healthy season from DeMeco Ryans.