Indy will be crazy this week. You will have all 32 coaches, every GM/team executive and every agent in the book all together in one spot. There will be all kinds of talks, in regard to contracts, free agency and trades. The Eagles have a lot of talking to do.
They need to see if they can trade Mychal Kendricks, Jason Kelce and/or Connor Barwin.
They need to talk to Bennie Logan’s agent.
They should feel out the agents for the top WRs and CBs so they can start to make realistic plans for free agency.
There will also be a coin flip so we can find out if the Eagles will pick 14th or 15th. My free advice is to choose tails.
We already found out one bit of news this week.
The Eagles will the greater of the Browns' two compensatory picks, 139th overall, per a source.
That’s not exactly the haul of picks the Browns have, but it is a lot better than last year.
It will be great if the Eagles can add picks through trades, or at least use those players to move up in the draft. This is a deep, talented draft class. This would a good year to have as many picks as possible.
Bennie Logan is the Eagles top free agent (apologies to Bryan Braman). We still don’t know if the team will be able to bring Logan back. With Fletcher Cox making so much money at one DT position, there is only so high the Eagles can go with Logan’s salary.
My guess is that the team does want him back. When he was healthy, the defense played very well at the beginning of the year. Logan played his best football early in the season and then suffered a groin injury in the first Skins game. He was still solid when he came back, but I’m not sure he got back to fully being 100 percent.
In a normal offseason, teams would be lining up for a shot to get someone like Logan. This year there could be a lot of good free agent targets.
Brandon Williams – BAL
Kawaan Short – CAR
Dontari Poe – KC
Johnathan Hankins – NYG
Sylvester Williams – DEN
Nick Fairley – NO
Logan would probably be 4th on that list, but that could change depending on what teams are looking for.
You can see Logan has a good combination of strength, quickness and athleticism. He can shoot up the field and be disruptive. He can 2-gap and eat up blockers. Logan has a role in every defense. That will help his value.
He also is the kind of high character guy you want representing your team. This is the kind of guy you want to reward with a big deal. If the price is right, I think the Eagles will make a strong push to keep him. If the market for him turns out to be better than expected. the Eagles might find themselves looking for a replacement in free agency or the draft.
If Logan does walk, Hankins would be a player of interest for me. He had 7 sacks back in 2014 and we know that Jim Schwartz loves DL who can get to the QB. Hankins isn’t a great player, but he is talented.
The Eagles need CB help. Nolan Carroll is a free agent and won’t be re-signed. Leodis McKelvin got cut recently. That leaves Jalen Mills, Aaron Grymes and CJ Smith to create a no-fly zone in south Philly.
The Eagles will add a CB in free agency. We just don’t know if they will throw megabucks at a top corner or if they will focus big money on WR and add a solid veteran at a reasonable price to help the secondary. We did get some news today on a couple of potential targets.
Source: The #Bucs are releasing CB Alterraun Verner today. The future of Vernon Hargreaves helps explain this one for the former FA pickup
Verner spent the last 3 years with the Bucs, but he began his career with the Titans. He never played for Jim Schwartz (already in Detroit), but he did play in the same system and for the man who succeeded Schwartz, Chuck Cecil.
Adding Verner would be a band-aid. You can think of him as a better version of Nolan Carroll. The Eagles will add one or maybe two CBs in the draft. You don’t want to count on them to start so it would help to have a dependable veteran on the roster. Verner could be that guy. He is 28 years old. He has started 70 career starts and has only missed 2 games in his career. Verner’s price would also be right.
He does have 15 career INTs and his familiarity with the scheme should help him to fit in.
Some highlights for your viewing pleasure.
If the Eagles decide to spend big, one guy they could target is AJ Bouye of the Texans. Because the team already has pricey corners in Jonathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson, it sounds like Houston will let Bouye hit free agency.
In fact, if it weren’t for injuries to Jackson and Joseph in October, Bouye might never have gotten an extended look as a starter in Houston. But once that door opened, Bouye didn’t let it shut. He became the No. 1 corner and one of the best players on the NFL’s best defense, in on 296 of 298 snaps from Week 12 to Week 16 and every one of the Texans’ defensive snaps in the playoffs.
“All that [I went through] instilled something in me, it gave me a chip on my shoulder,” Bouye says. “When you’re a first-rounder, you have way more room to make mistakes, people make excuses for you, saying you’re growing or you’re learning. But as an undrafted guy, you have to be perfect.”
I have watched tape on him and Bouye is terrific. If the Eagles want to invest big money, he would be an excellent choice.
Doug Pederson was hired in 2016. He drafted Carson Wentz the same year. That’s the foundation.
2017…Eagles have a winning record, get back to the playoffs. Realistic goal.
2018…Eagles go a step further and become a title contender. Realistic? Sure. Likely? Impossible to say without knowing what happens in 2017.
2019…New President Justin Bieber declares martial law while Eagles are 13-0 and that leads to complete chaos and civil disorder. No Super Bowl for anyone.
My crystal ball has been acting up recently so could be a tad off on those predictions. We’ll just have to wait and see.
We can talk about 3-year plans or 5-year plans or whatever schedule you want, but the truth is that we really don’t know what is going to happen. Each year a football team is a chemistry experiment. The 1998 Rams went 4-12. Their offense was 24th in points and 27th in yards. The next season they went 13-3, led the league in yards and points and won the Super Bowl. For my money, that was the best offense I ever saw. The Rams didn’t have more than 7 wins in any other season in the 1990’s. That team just exploded from bad to great.
Andy Reid’s Eagles built year-by-year. Bad to good to very good from 1999-2001. Then from 2002-2004, the Eagles were one of the best teams in the league.
The Falcons made the Super Bowl in Dan Quinn’s second year. That schedule is different from others because he inherited a good veteran QB in Matt Ryan and an elite player in Julio Jones. Really helps when you can build around a great duo like that.
The Rams have been the youngest team in the league for a few years in a row. That hasn’t done them any good. They aren’t building so much as treading water. That got Jeff Fisher extended fired and we’ll have to see how the new coaching staff does out there.
The Titans went from 2-14 to 3-13 to 9-7 last year. They seem to be a team headed in the right direction. The last time they won more than 9 games was back in 2008 (under Jeff Fisher) so this group of players is in somewhat uncharted waters for them. It will be interesting to see if they can continue the upward trend.
Seattle was mediocre in Pete Carroll’s first couple of years, going 7-9 each season. The team drafted Russell Wilson in 2012 and has won at least 10 games every season since then. Beyond that, they have been a title contender in each of those years.
There simply is no set schedule for teams. You have so many variables that you can’t make accurate predictions over an extended period of time. A lot of this is based on how Wentz progresses. He is ahead of where Donovan McNabb was after his rookie year. But McNabb took a big step forward in Year 2. Can Wentz do the same? I didn’t think McNabb really started to look like a consistently good pocket passer until Antonio Freeman arrived in 2002. Having a reliable slot receiver who could work the middle of the field helped a lot. Wentz already has a good slot receiver in Jordan Matthews. Wentz needs guys on the outside.
The Eagles could take a huge step forward this year if they add the right players. Or Wentz could get hurt and we could watch Chase Daniel throw passes to Trey Burton in painful loss after painful loss. I think the team has a good enough foundation in place that they can add some good pieces and become a playoff team. If they can find a great player, that changes things. That’s when you jump ahead of your schedule.
“I mean, it’s definitely a great story and ending, I guess you could say,” Jackson told Schefter of a possible return. “Starting your career somewhere and you go to a division rival and possibly maybe going back. You think about all that, you start somewhere and maybe you want to finish it. There’s a lot of speculation of a lot of thoughts. It all sounds good, but you never know until the final decision is made.”
But he does like Wentz.
“He killed it,” Jackson said. “He had a heck of a year. He showed he can do it all. He has the intangibles of being a big-time quarterback.”
It is cool to hear DJax say good things about the Eagles and Wentz. There is no denying that. And Jason La Canfora recently wrote that a lot of people around the league think it is almost a done deal that Jackson is coming back to Philly. I’m just not sure. If he was younger or cheaper, they might love him. He’s not.
I could be wrong and the Eagles might target him. I haven’t heard anything about DeSean that you haven’t.
Can the Eagles find an elite receiver? Can the team find a good CB? Who is going to be the starting tailback this year? There are some interesting questions as we head into this offseason. But those questions seem pretty easy when you think back 365 days. A this time last year there was tremendous uncertainty for the organization.
All we knew about Doug Pederson is what we heard in his press conferences, and that was pretty scary. We had no clue if he could be an effective head coach. There was also a fear Pederson would be Andy Reid Jr, mis-managing the clock and refusing to run the ball. Pederson was far from perfect, but he did okay with the clock and he did run the ball. There is hope for him.
Nobody knew what to expect from Howie Roseman. Would other teams deal with him the way they had in the past? Would he remain good with contract negotiations? Would the team draft okay? Would he get along with the new coaches? Overall, Howie had a very strong offseason. He moved players the Eagles didn’t want and managed to get the Eagles up to #2. He drafted Carson Wentz. The overall rookie class looks promising. The Eagles landed good free agents and extended Fletcher Cox. Not every move worked perfectly, but doing all that and then trading Sam Bradford for a 1st round pick is a good offseason in my book.
Last February we had no idea what to make of the Eagles. From management to coaches to players to schemes, we had no idea exactly what to expect. It looks like the Eagles made mostly smart moves and now have the foundation in place to get back to being a winning team. Can the team take the next step and become a Super Bowl contender? We’ll have to wait and see on that.
The next 6 months are going to be huge for the Eagles. They need to make the right cuts/trades to create cap space. They need to sign the right players. They need to scout and draft well. And the coaches must develop the young players already on the roster. If the team can make enough of the right moves, a year from now we’ll be talking about what a difference a year makes, only this time it won’t be about laying a foundation, but rather winning games and getting back to the playoffs.
I’ve mentioned this as a possibility in previous posts.
If Maclin hit the market, his price would certainly be cheaper than it was last time around. He’s older now and isn’t a star player. Still, he would be a high character, quality veteran receiver to add to the offense. He has RAC ability and is still fast enough to get deep. The Eagles might be interested.
There are reports that the Eagles are targeting Alshon Jeffery. If true, that would make Maclin and other receivers backup options if the Eagles aren’t able to land their primary target. The good news is that there are enough receivers who will definitely be on the market that the Eagles can find at least one to add to the lineup.
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