The Eagles cut DT Mike Patterson and DT Cullen Jenkins this afternoon. I hate this part of the NFL, but it is part of the cycle of the game. And the NFL most certainly is professional football…this is a business. If you can find someone younger and cheaper, do it.
I was ecstatic when the Eagles drafted Patt back in 2005. I can actually vividly remember a phone call with a buddy in March 2005 as we discussed Patt and just how perfect he’d be for the Eagles. Seems like that was yesterday. Time flies.
The move does make sense. Mike isn’t old, but he’s taken a pounding over the years. His best football is behind him. I do think he can still play, but might be best suited to being a backup in a 4-3. The Eagles will be looking for a NT. Patt’s not an ideal fit and is older and expensive. You can see that things don’t stack up well there for him.
Jenkins has the size and skill set to play in any scheme. I think cost and age were big factors with him as well. He’s a declining player so why stick with him if you can find someone to replace him? The media loved Jenkins, but I’m not sure he was as great a locker room presence as many would believe. I’m not saying he was a bad guy, but some of the leadership stuff may have been overblown.
What do the moves mean for the Eagles?
Some think this is a sign that the team is targeting Shariff Floyd or Star Lotulelei at #4. These cuts were getting made no matter what. It wasn’t to open spots for draft picks. The Eagles could take either Floyd or Star. Those guys could play DT or DE in the scheme.
The Eagles now have very little money invested in the DL (since Cole, Graham are now LB types). Fletcher Cox is reasonable. Cedric Thornton is cheap. Antonio Dixon is cheap. Ronnie Cameron is real cheap. The Eagles didn’t need cap room to sign any FAs, but the cuts may have opened some budgetary resources to go for a DL.
NT is the biggest question mark for now. Dixon has the size to handle it, but I’m not counting on him. At the least, the Eagles should bring in a veteran to challenge him for the job. It is also possible they draft Star (or some other guy) for that role or maybe add a quality NT in free agency.
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What about Nnamdi? No idea. The Eagles tried to get him to restructure the other day. That caught me off guard. Because of his deal, he’s going to get money from them this season no matter what. Maybe they were hoping to get him cheap enough that he could stay around and not make the money a total waste. Personally, I’d cut him. We’ll see what happens.
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Dion Jordan was the star of the Combine today. Taking him at #4 would make a lot of sense. He would be the SAM right away. Dion has the pass rush skills needed for that. He’s got even better cover skills than what you are looking for. He has an excellent frame at 6-6, but would need to add 10 to 15 pounds to get up in the 260 range.
The question raised by a few people is whether Jordan might get snagged by the Jaguars at #2. Gus Bradley needs a Leo (Chris Clemons pass rusher role) and Jordan could be of interest. I don’t think they would make that move, but that is strictly a hunch by me. They’ve got a new coach and new GM.
There is one problem with drafting Jordan. Actually, make that 3…Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, and Vinny Curry. How do you get them all on the field with Jordan as the SAM? Cole would likely be the starting Predator (RDE/ROLB). The Nickel would be a lot of 4-man fronts. You could use Cole and Graham in that look. Curry could back both of them up. This isn’t an ideal use of resources, but does make some sense.
In 2014 you would cut Cole and let Curry and Graham fight for the Predator role.
Some people wonder about Graham getting pushed aside so easily. Is that dumb? The guy played well in 2012.
Here’s the thing…Chip Kelly has specific types of players that he wants. He prefers longer, taller, athletic guys on defense (and the whole team really). Graham is 6-1. He was a good athlete prior to microfracture surgery, but seems more like a straight line guy now. On paper, Graham is not a Kelly type of player.
Kelly will give him a chance to show what he can do in 2013. If Graham wows him, Kelly will find a way to use him. If Graham isn’t a standout, you could trade him or just let him play out his contract. Kelly needs to build the team around players he truly wants and believes in. Bill Parcells traded Hugh Douglas to the Eagles in 1998 because Hugh didn’t fit the 3-4. Tuna gave up a Pro Bowl pass rusher, but he knew the guy didn’t fit his system. In Dallas Parcells stuck with the 4-3 and undersized, speedy players for a couple of years, but he didn’t believe in that so he changed in 2005 and went to the 3-4 and bigger guys. A coach must know what type players he wants and go get them.
I guess it is always possible the Eagles could try to trade Graham this year, but I don’t think that’s likely. I think Howie Roseman would really like to see him pan out for the Eagles and I do think Chip will give him a chance to show what he can do in the new system.
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Hot rumor is that KC and SF have a deal in place for QB Alex Smith to go to the Chiefs. I’m not sure I buy this. Reid wants a young QB. He likes Nick Foles. Not sure which draft prospects have his attention. I could see Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib, Tyler Wilson and EJ Manuel all getting his attention. One of those guys will be there in the 2nd round.
Why trade for Smith, pay him several million, and draft a kid? Smith will be miserable, knowing he’s going to eventually lose his job. You’ve wasted a resource in dealing for him.
There will be some free agent that Andy likes and signs to help mentor his rookie QB. That model makes a lot more sense.
If you like the conspiracy angle…maybe Reid started the Smith trade rumors to see if the Eagles would change their stance on trading Foles and the cost of trading for Foles. This is the season of information and mis-information.