Eagles’ Defensive Overhaul Could Include Free Agent Gem with Vic Fangio Ties


Getty Images The Eagles could look to make Andrew Van Ginkel a centerpiece of a rebuilt defense in 2024.

As the Philadelphia Eagles aim to rebuild a defense that collapsed down the stretch in 2023, targeting free agents with experience playing for new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio could be a priority.

Linebacker is going to be a top organizational priority, for once, for general manager Howie Roseman and the Eagles who will likely set out to upgrade over impending free agents Nicholas Morrow, Zach Cunningham, and Shaquille Leonard.

Fortunately for the Eagles, Andrew Van Ginkel, a rising young and versatile linebacker who thrived under Fangio is about to hit free agency.

Pro Football Focus lists the Eagles as an obvious ‘best fit’ for Van Ginkel, when free agency gets underway on March 13.

“Philadelphia may move on from Haason Reddick this offseason,” PFF’s Brad Spielberger points out. “And here we have Van Ginkel following defensive coordinator Vic Fangio from Miami. Van Ginkel just had a career year under his tutelage, so why not try to recreate that magic?”

That magical 2023 season in Miami saw Van Ginkel produce a career-high six sacks, and 69 total tackles, with one interception that the 28-year-old returned for a touchdown.

Van Ginkel’s positional versatility will make him a coveted player when free agency begins, after playing snaps at WIL and LOLB under Fangio last season.

“I’m comfortable playing inside and outside. I’ve got a good grasp of what everybody is doing and the weak spots in the defense, and how we’re trying to attack on certain calls,” Van Ginkel told All Dolphins.

Given Van Ginkel’s ties to Fangio, Fangio’s confidence in him, and his ability to rush the passer off the edge or make plays at linebacker, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Eagles pursue the five-year veteran with 250 career tackles.

Andrew Van Ginkel a ‘Secret Superstar’

Van Ginkel is certainly hitting free agency at the right time.

Coming off the most productive season of his career, flashing as a pass-rusher, Van Ginkel should have a strong market.

Even before free agency gets underway, Van Ginkel was named Miami’s ‘secret superstar’ from the 2023 season.

“Van Ginkel’s “91.1 PFF grade was the eighth-highest among all edge defenders,” Pro Football Focus’ Thomas Valentine writes. “[And] his PFF pass-rushing grade was the seventh-highest.”

Beyond proving that he’s capable of being a disruptive pass-rusher, Van Ginkel also showed his value in coverage in 2023, after breaking up eight passes.

Given Van Ginkel’s breakout season, the Dolphins would likely prefer to keep him in place, but that could prove to be a struggle since Miami is currently approximately $51.24 million over the cap.

Can the Eagles Afford to Sign Andrew Van Ginkel?

After spending five seasons with the Dolphins, this offseason could be Van Ginkel’s best opportunity to cash in.

Van Ginkel could fetch a contract worth upwards of $13 million, over two seasons, which includes $8 million guaranteed, according to Pro Football Focus.

If the Eagles have Van Ginkel in their sights, spending flexibility won’t be much of a concern. Ahead of free agency beginning, and the offseason getting underway in earnest, the Eagles are currently approximately $19.5 million under the cap.

Roseman and the Eagles can also free up cap space by potentially moving on from or restructuring veteran cornerback Avonte Maddox’s deal, could get some relief under the cap if Jason Kelce retires, and can rework several veteran players’ contracts.

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