NFL

Taking an early offseason look at the Eagles’ 2022 opponents

The Eagles (9-8) finished in second place in the NFC East, and as the organization starts preparation for free agency, we’re taking an early offseason look at each of Philadelphia’s 2022 opponents.

Thanks to their second-place schedule, the Eagles will play teams from the NFC East (twice), NFC North, AFC South, and other second-place finishers from the NFC West and AFC North.

We’re a few weeks from the NFL officially revealing the 2022 regular-season schedule, and each team on the list could look different thanks to free agency and the draft.

Home opponents at Lincoln Financial Field

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Dallas Cowboys

Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

2021 results:
12–5
1st NFC East
Lost Wild Card Playoffs (vs. 49ers) 17–23

Projected Cap Space: -$21.7M (30th)

Notable Free Agents: DE Randy Gregory, WR Michael Gallup, TE Dalton Schultz, G Connor Williams, LB Leighton Vander Esch, S Jayron Kearse, WR Cedrick Wilson, S Malik Hooker

Team Needs: LB, DL, OL

The Cowboys are reeling as an organization, with critics and pundits now questioning head coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Dak Prescott.

There have been discussions about parting ways with WR Amari Cooper and RB Ezekiel Elliott.

New York Giants

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2021 results:
4-14
Last NFC East

Projected Cap Space: -$10.7M (27th)

Notable Free Agents: TE Evan Engram, S Jabrill Peppers, T Nate Solder

Team Needs: OG, LB, EDGE

New general manager Joe Schoen hired former Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as head coach and former Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale to the same position.

The Giants could gain $12.1 million in cap savings by cutting James Bradberry, as his 2022 cap hit of $21.8 million is untenable and a restructure would be his third.

Washington Commanders

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

2021 results:
7-10
Third NFC East

Projected Cap Space: $31.9M (9th)

Notable Free Agents: G Brandon Scherff, DI Tim Settle, T Cornelius Lucas, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, S Bobby McCain

Team Needs: QB, LB, S

Washington could be players for Carson Wentz or Jimmy Garoppolo via trade or a rookie quarterback at No. 11 overall. NFL free agency provides plenty of cap space and the Commanders should be players.

Star guard Brandon Scherff is looking for a long-term deal from the team after playing on multiple franchise tags.

Green Bay Packers

Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

2021 results:
13-4
1st NFC North

Projected Cap Space: -$50.8M (31st)

Notable Free Agents: WR Davante Adams, LB De’Vondre Campbell, WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, CB Rasul Douglas, T Dennis Kelly, TE Robert Tonyan

Team Needs: WR, OL

Outside of Philadelphia, Green Bay will be the NFL’s team to watch as Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams could both be moving on. The Packers are $50 million over the cap and players like Edge Za’Darius Smith (saves $15.3 million), Edge Preston Smith (saves $12.5 million), WR Randall Cobb (saves $6.5 million), TE Marcedes Lewis (saves $2.5 million), and DT Dean Lowry (saves $4.1 million) all could be cap casualties.

Minnesota Vikings

Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Cap Space: -$15.6M (29th)

Notable Free Agents: LB Anthony Barr, CB Patrick Peterson, S Xavier Woods

Team Needs: CB, OG, EDGE, QB

Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins accounts for $45 million against this year’s cap (roughly 21.5% of Minnesota’s entire cap).

The Vikings could be forced to cut ties with edge defender Danielle Hunter, which would open up $14.6 million.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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Projected Cap Space: $59.3M (2nd)

Notable Free Agents: WR D.J. Chark Jr., T Cam Robinson, G Andrew Norwell, G A.J. Cann

Team Needs: Every position outside of QB and RB

The Jaguars are sitting pretty with almost $60 million in salary-cap space and Doug Pederson was inserted as the team’s new head coach. A good amount of that cap space will be spent on getting Trevor Lawrence protection up front and weapons on the outside.

Tennessee Titans

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Projected Cap Space: -$7.1M (26th)

Notable Free Agents: Edge Harold Landry III, C Ben Jones, LB Jayon Brown, T David Quessenberry, TE Anthony Firkser

Team Needs: TE, G, EDGE

The Titan would free up millions by cutting Taylor Lewan (saves $12.9 million), G Rodger Saffold (saves $10.4 million), and CB Janoris Jenkins (saves $6.9 million).

New Orleans Saints

Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Cap Space: -$76M (32nd)

Notable Free Agents: T Terron Armstead, S Marcus Williams, QB Jameis Winston

Team Needs: QB, OT, WR, S

Sean Payton has moved on and now general manager Mickey Loomis will look to pull off salary cap magic with the Saints slated to be $76 million over the cap, with tackle Terron Armstead and safety Marcus Williams set to hit the open market.

Both Armstead and Williams rank among PFF’s top 10 free agents of 2022.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Cap Space: $31.3M (10th)

Notable Free Agents: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, CB Joe Haden, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, S Terrell Edmunds, G Trai Turner

Team Needs: QB, CB, OT

Pittsburgh’s offseason goal is to find a starting quarterback and Mike Tomlin would prefer to acquire his starter via trade or free agency over the draft unless the player is Kenny Pickett.

Away Opponents

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Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium

(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

New York Giants at MetLife Stadium

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Washington Commanders at FedExField

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears at Soldier Field

Mandatory Credit: Eileen T. Meslar-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Cap Space: $28.6M (11th)

Notable Free Agents: WR Allen Robinson II, DT Akiem Hicks, G James Daniels, OL Germain Ifedi, DI Bilal Nichols, QB Andy Dalton, T Jason Peters, LB DeAndre Houston-Carson, S Tashaun Gipson Sr.

Team Needs: OL, WR, CB

Justin Fields is the guy and now it’ll be about surrounding the former Ohio State star with offensive line protection. Fields was under pressure on 43.3% of his dropbacks in 2021, the second-highest rate in the NFL.

With Allen Robinson looking to move on, Chicago will need to upgrade the receiver position as well.

Detroit Lions at Ford Field

Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Cap Space: $23.6M (13th)

Notable Free Agents: Edge Charles Harris, S Tracy Walker

Team Needs: CB, S, QB, WR, LB

Jared Goff will return on a prove-it deal, and the Lions will look to upgrade a porous secondary.

Houston Texans at NRG Stadium

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Cap Space: $17.9M (16th)

Notable Free Agents: S Justin Reid, DI Maliek Collins, QB Tyrod Taylor, CB Desmond King II, TE Jordan Akins

Team Needs: Every position

The Texans need help at every position and they’ll need to trade Deshaun Watson with the hopes of using those assets for drastic upgrades.

Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium

Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Cap Space: $37.4M (7th)

Notable Free Agents: T Eric Fisher, TE Mo Alie-Cox, G Mark Glowinski, CB Xavier Rhodes, RB Marlon Mack, WR T.Y. Hilton

Potential Cut: QB Carson Wentz (saves $13.3 million)

Team Needs: QB, WR, OT, DL

The Eagles will travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts, but it’s unlikely QB Carson Wentz will be under center after a meltdown to finish the 2021 season.

Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium

Nfl Los Angeles Rams At Arizona Cardinals

Projected Cap Space: -$813K (22nd)

Notable Free Agents: Edge Chandler Jones, WR Christian Kirk, TE Zach Ertz, WR A.J. Green, RB James Conner, RB Chase Edmonds, CB Robert Alford, TE Maxx Williams, QB Colt McCoy

Team Needs: CB, OG, DT, WR

Arizona has to upgrade its secondary while working to appease an unhappy quarterback in Kyler Murray.

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