With the offseason looming, several big decisions will need to be made by the Eagles’ front office staff. Impending free agents Jeremy Maclin and Brandon Graham may or mat not return, and Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy are expecting big contract extensions.
Those choices won’t be easy, particularly with several of those players among the best in the NFL at their respective positions. Here’s Metro’s take on the best the Eagles had to offer during the 2014 season.
MVP: LeSean McCoy, RB
This year’s Eagles set a bevy of offensive records, so selecting the team’s most valuable catalyst is no easy task. However, with all circumstances considered, LeSean McCoy gets our nod. The back compiled 1,319 yards behind 10 different offensive linemen. He also was a workhorse for the Birds, racking up 312 carries and 28 receptions. It wasn’t the career year Shady posted in 2013, but it certainly proved he wasn’t an aberration.
Offensive MVP: Jeremy Maclin, WR
DeSean Jackson’s offseason drama paired with Jeremy Maclin’s decision to sign a one-year deal to prove his worth put considerable pressure on the veteran wideout heading into 2014. But Maclin surely did not disappoint. Look for a big payday this offseason after the speedster led the Eagles with 1,318 yards on 85 receptions and 10 touchdown catches.
Defensive MVP: Connor Barwin, OLB
The Eagles’ pass rush was the catalyst for most the team’s (relative) success on defense, and their top performer was undoubtedly Pro Bowler Connor Barwin. The outside linebacker collected 14.5 sacks and forced a pair of fumbles while making 64 tackles, good for third on the squad.
Rookie of the Year: Jordan Matthews, WR
The Rookie class of 2014 was more or less a dud for the Eagles, save for their second round wideout Jordan Matthews. Matthews became a star late in the year, finishingthe season ranked second all-time among Eagles rookies with 67 receptions, second with 872 yards and tied for second with eight touchdowns.
Most improved player: Mychal Kendricks, MLB
The Eagles lost their defensive leader DeMeco Ryans midseason in Houston, but Mychal Kendricks stepped in and made himself Ryans’ clear successor. The young budding star led Philadelphia with 83 combined tackles. He also picked up four sacks and caused three fumbles.
Least valuable player: Bradley Fletcher, CB
The case isn’t hard to make. Bradley Fletcher may have cost the Eagles a playoff berth as Dez Bryant and DeSean Jackson burned him with great frequency on back-to-back weeks. He (and partner in cornerback crime Cary Williams) proved to be the weak links in the Eagles’ defense as the team fell from 9-3 to 10-6 in the month of December.
Best offseason acquisitions: Darren Sproles, RB/Cody Parkey, K
Here’s a pretty close toss up between the Pro Bowl return specialist (who was also a valuable running back and pass catcher) and the best rookie kicker in NFL history. Darren Sproles was signed as a free agent after he left the Saints scored two punt return touchdowns and led the team with six scores on the ground. Parkey was acquired for a late-round draft pick and had the second most made field goals in Eagles history (32) and scored the most points ever by a rookie (150).