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The Philadelphia Eagles aren't exactly flush with salary cap space entering 2021 NFL free agency. In fact, they're on the opposite end of the spectrum, restructuring the contracts of a handful of big names just to get under the reduced cap for the start of the league year. Only the New Orleans Saints entered the offseason with a deeper financial hole, and that was before the Eagles assumed a record dead-cap hit by trading quarterback Carson Wentz just two years after signing him to a $128 million extension.

Suffice to say, the Eagles are widely expected to steer clear of splashy additions, despite a penchant for big-name moves this time of year. Couple their tight cap with team owner Jeffrey Lurie's directives -- public and behind closed doors -- to kick off a longer-term rebuild in 2021, and there's no doubt the Birds will look to be frugal.

That said, is it safe to rule out even a single big swing from general manager Howie Roseman? We'd caution against doing so. Roseman has built a reputation as one of the NFL's most trade-happy personnel heads, so it's more likely he tries to get creative to acquire a starting-caliber veteran already under contract. But if the Eagles are serious about adding to a mostly barren secondary or capitalizing on an especially deep free agent wide receiver class, they can't be counted out of the mix for some top targets.

"Anything is possible with a willingness to have a low first-year cap number where the other figures balloon like the Saints did in 2014 with Jairus Byrd while having a tight salary cap," says Joel Corry, CBS Sports contributor and former agent and cap expert. "The Eagles already have no problem adding voiding/dummy years to deals to stretch out signing bonus proration. Using the signing/option bonus structure, like in Carson Wentz's contract, would be a way to keep cap numbers low in the first two years."

There's more risk in this approach, Corry says, because if a player doesn't pan out, the back-loaded contract can haunt the team down the road. (The Eagles are navigating that very issue, in part, this offseason.) But let's say Philly is desperate to improve the WR spot after years of swings and misses, and not only that, but sees value in signing a younger starter who can conceivably still be hitting his prime in 2022-24. They have the flexibility to be bidders, at least for one major player, even if said flexibility isn't apparent right now.

So which top free agents might convince them to take the plunge? Here are a handful of veterans at WR and the defensive backfield that make sense (and keep in mind, this list excludes cheaper vets who would be more likely, obvious budget fits):

Corey Davis
NYJ • WR • 84
TAR92
REC65
REC YDs984
REC TD5
FL1
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Potential contract: Three years, $32.25 million

The Eagles are likely to address WR early in the 2021 draft, but Davis fits exactly the profile they should be looking for: He's young (26), ascending (improved numbers each year) and brings size (6-foot-3) to a smaller, inexperienced group. He's also not going to cost as much as top-of-the-market starters like JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kenny Golladay. If you can back-load something like a three-year deal, it could work for both sides; you get instant help, and he gets a top 20 salary with another shot at free agency at 29.

Curtis Samuel
WAS • WR • 10
TAR97
REC77
REC YDs851
REC TD3
FL0
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Potential contract: Four years, $39 million

Like Davis, his annual demand could fall anywhere between $9M-$12M, which sounds steep considering he's never topped 900 receiving yards and has thrived mostly as a short- and mid-range target. But he won't turn 25 until August, he's gotten more productive each year in the NFL, and his jitterbug versatility makes him an ideal Swiss Army knife for what could be a quick-strike, high-efficiency approach from Nick Sirianni's offense. As a runner and receiver, he'd make an intriguing safety valve for a young quarterback.

Will Fuller
MIA • WR • 3
TAR75
REC53
REC YDs879
REC TD8
FL0
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Potential contract: Two years, $18 million

Fuller's market might be more varied than any other notable WR because of his availability issues; the former first-rounder has never played 16 games and missed at least five in each of the past four seasons. But his youth (26) and speed make him a potential home-run hitter as a No. 2-type starter. Fresh off striking out on a DeSean Jackson reunion, the Eagles could be more inclined to give a younger weapon a chance, and if they can keep the deal shorter to reassess after a few seasons, all the better.

Potential contract: Three years, $37.5 million

The Eagles are already paying a premium for 2020 trade acquisition Darius Slay, one of the few bright spots in an overturned secondary, and they've burned cash on failed free agent cornerbacks under Roseman before. But if they're going to spend, Jackson is more of a longer-term gamble than Slay, given that he doesn't turn 28 until October. He'd be an instant upgrade on the outside, giving Philly a more-than-adequate starting duo, if not an above-average placeholder for future draft picks.

Potential contract: Four years, $46 million

As one of the top two young safeties set to hit the open market in the wake of Marcus Williams getting the tag in New Orleans, Johnson is due for a nice payday, and the Eagles arguably need more help at WR and CB. They know the value of a steady hand on the back end, though, after enjoying Malcolm Jenkins' run, and hit on their last free agent dive for a young Rams safety in Rodney McLeod. As a core defensive building block, the rangy veteran makes a lot of sense as a chess piece for a new regime.