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Ranking the top 10 Eagles free-agent signings

A key free-agent signing for the Eagles has led to Super Bowl glory and contributions on and off the field for the team.

Nick Foles admires the Lombardi Trophy after he passed for 373 yards and three touchdowns in an MVP performance in Super Bowl LII.
Nick Foles admires the Lombardi Trophy after he passed for 373 yards and three touchdowns in an MVP performance in Super Bowl LII.Read moreDavid Maialetti / Staff Photographer

This list of best Eagles signings generally rewards those who helped the Eagles make deep playoff runs, which is usually the job of a prized free agent — to get a team to the next level.

Whether it’s prolific stats, leadership or out-dueling Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, there are several ways to become one of the Eagles’ 10 best free agents. Here’s one man’s opinion.

10. Rodney McLeod, 2016

Solid safety who was here for six years. Starter on the Super Bowl season. When Jalen Mills blanketed Atlanta’s Julio Jones to clinch a 2017 playoff win, it was McLeod who alerted Mills what play was coming before the snap.

» READ MORE: Eagles safety Rodney McLeod wins NFLPA Alan Page community award

9. Haason Reddick, 2022

It’s been just one season, but Reddick led the team with 16 sacks and led the league with five strip sacks. Though he slipped and slid during much of the Super Bowl, Reddick was the team’s best defensive player in the NFC playoffs.

» READ MORE: How Haason Reddick’s persistent quest to become a top edge rusher spurred the Eagles’ Super Bowl run

8. Alshon Jeffery, 2017

Jeffery’s nine touchdown receptions led the 2017 team, and his touchdown catch in the Super Bowl was spectacular. He had a bad drop the following playoff season at New Orleans, otherwise he might be ranked a little higher here.

7. Ricky Watters, 1995

Failed to dive for a pass in his first game as an Eagle and then asked critics, “For who? For what?” Fact is, Watters would have gotten blasted on the play and it turned out to be a prudent business decision as he rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his three seasons. He didn’t miss a game for the Birds, and helped them reach the playoffs twice.

6. Asante Samuel, 2008

Selected to the Pro Bowl three times in his four seasons here. Was not terribly interested in tackling, which didn’t endear him to Eagles fans and critics. Had 23 interceptions in four seasons, tied for 10th in club history. His nine picks in 2009 is tied for second most behind only Bill Bradley (11, 1971).

5. David Akers, 1999

Akers was on the street, having flamed out for three other teams, before the Eagles picked him up off the waiver wire. After a season in NFL Europe, he went on to become the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. Akers revealed the secret to his success early in his career to The Inquirer. “If it wasn’t for Pepto-Bismol, I wouldn’t get through the games,” he said in 2003. “I keep Pepto in business. And Tums. To settle my stomach.”

» READ MORE: Ranking the 50 greatest Eagles players of all time

4. Malcolm Jenkins, 2014

Led the team in tackles three times in his six seasons with the Eagles, but his legacy extends off the field. Jenkins was a strong leader from 2014-19, at a time when societal issues often crept into the world of sports. He was the Godfather of the Eagles locker room and helped the team win their only Super Bowl following the 2017 season.

» READ MORE: Eagles’ C.J. Gardner-Johnson gets Malcolm Jenkins’ seal of approval

3. Troy Vincent, 1996

The Eagles plucked Vincent from the Dolphins, who were being run by old Cowboys rival Jimmy Johnson. Vincent was a two-time All-Pro and was named to five consecutive Pro Bowls (1999-03). He was 0-3 in conference championship games, departing for Buffalo before the Eagles finally reached the Super Bowl in the 2004 season.

» READ MORE: Troy Vincent is an Eagles Hall of Famer. He knows this team is getting a precious Super Bowl opportunity.

2. Jon Runyan, 2000

Played nine seasons for the Birds and never missed a game. Add in another full season for the 17 playoff games he never missed during his career here. Runyan was the player opponents hated facing, mostly because of his size (6-7, 330) and his propensity for playing through the whistle and sometimes beyond. It’s ironic, then, that his current job is handing out supplemental punishment for the NFL.

1. Nick Foles, 2017

Foles was drafted by the Eagles in 2013 and traded by Chip Kelly for Sam Bradford. The day he returned from a two-year hiatus (one in St. Louis, another in Kansas City), Foles said, “You just never know. … You just never know what’s going to happen.” Amen. Today, there’s a statue of Foles outside the Linc.