And Here We Go

Posted: March 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 47 Comments »

Free agency starts at 4pm.  Will the Eagles be active?  Will they be aggressive?  Howie just emailed me their plans, but made me promise not to reveal the amazing plans he has for the greatest offseason in the history of mankind.

Okay, so that’s not exactly true.  Would be nice, though, huh?

I’m excited for today for a couple of reasons.  First, we get to start fixing the Eagles.  God knows that is going to take more than a little work.  Second, we get to start seeing what Chip Kelly wants to do, in regard to the season and in regard to what types of players he wants.  Every move/non-move can be a clue as to what he’s thinking and what he’s hoping for.

Adam Caplan tweeted last night about the Eagles making a FA move involving a “joker”.  This is a term that has changed over the years.  Jim Johnson used it to refer to a DE/LB that he would move around on 3rd downs.  Jevon Kearse was great in that role in 2004.  Now joker is also used on offense.  It generally applies to a TE type that can also play FB/H-back or WR.  The player can line up in a variety of places on the field and perform a variety of roles.

I think the player that Caplan expects the Eagles to sign is James Casey, the TE/FB/H-back from the Houston Texans.

team bio

stats

We all know that the Eagles biggest needs are on defense.  I think Caplan is talking about this move because he feels it is likely to happen.  On defense, the Eagles will be bidding for potential impact starters and you don’t know who will end up where.  Casey is more of a niche player that only a few teams will have interest in.

Chip Kelly doesn’t use a traditional FB.  He wants a player who can do that role and also do some TE/H-back stuff. Casey is perfect for this.  He can be a lead blocker on 3rd/1 and line up in the slot on 3rd/10.  That’s the kind of versatility Kelly loves.  Casey is 6-3, 240 and that size plus his skill set makes him a valuable role player.

* * * * *

The Eagles will add at least a pair of defensive starters, but we don’t know the timeline for that.  Could be the Eagles bring someone in as early as tonight for a visit or that they give this thing a couple of days to let other teams throw big money around.

We’ve seen the Eagles be aggressive and passive in FA.  They adjust their style of business to the market and own team needs.  This year they have a lot of needs, but the lack of premium talent may cause them to sit tight for a day or two.

Be patient.  The Eagles know they need defensive help.  They’ll make moves.  I just don’t know if they’ll start at 4:01pm.

* * * * *

If the Eagles do sign James Casey, that doesn’t rule out another TE move.  They could even still go after Jared Cook.  Casey would be replacing the FB.  Cook would be a WR/TE hybrid.  Those are different roles.

Andy Reid didn’t do a lot with TEs in recent years.  He fed the ball to Celek, but that was about it.  Chip Kelly is going to be different.  He’ll have a conventional in-line TE (Celek).  He’ll have the H-back type (possibly Casey).  Kelly could add a traditional backup to Celek (Ben Watson or Anthony Fasano).  He could go for Cook as the athletic WR type.  Or Kelly could use the draft to add a player.  All kinds of options.  Sounds like Kelly would like 4 TEs on the roster.

Cook would be a great addition, but there will be a serious bidding war for him.  Daniel Jeremiah said on Twitter that Cook is the FA he’s hearing the most buzz about.  You can’t think of him as a TE.  You have to think of him as an offensive weapon.

Here is a video of all his targets/catches from the 2012 season.

* * * * *

For PE.com I wrote a short FA preview.  You know most of the names already, but the article is worth reading.  I took a look back at the free agent class of 2000, arguably the best haul the Eagles ever made. Why did it work?  Who were the players and how did they fit?

As always, the lesson is to find the right guys and not the biggest names.

_


  • austinfan

    You also have to think in terms of opportunity cost. Cap room (especially future cap room) is not an unlimited resource, and agents are focusing more on guaranteed money, which means more deals have dead money the first two or three years, so $6M in 2013 may also mean $6M in 2014 and 2015. So you don’t want to paint yourself into a corner just adding guys, then find out when you’re ready to make a run in 2015 you added the wrong guys and you have to eat a bunch of money just when you’re ready to add that final piece to the puzzle.

    That’s why I don’t like Cook, he won’t be a 900 snap guy, he’s not a big WR, he’s a tall fast TE, there’s a HUGE difference, Cook has a role in some schemes, but he’s not a guy you can just stick out there all the time. He’s not a H-back, he’s not Burress or VJ. You don’t break the bank for tinker toys unless you’re knocking on the door and think that one additional facet to your offense can put you over the top.

    Guys you want are someone like Bryant, who’s started a couple years and can fill a couple roles along the DL, so you have more flexibility in the draft. Goldson and Landry are not guys you give contracts with dead money in 2015, too much out year risk.

    The key to this year is there are no Vincents or Runyans out there, no one worthy of a bidding war or an overpay – so don’t be afraid to wait a few days and go for quantity, most of these guys have a serious flop risk so there’s something to be said for safety in numbers.

    • http://twitter.com/LuvJones1987 Malcolm Jones

      Cook is young and had Locker as a QB. Cook can lineup in a couple different places and because of his ability to create mismatches because of his size and versatility his value does shoot up but its a good risk and would be great balance to all these speedy backs we have. Also the red zone is a place we lack a physical specimen, he may see the ball more than you think.

      • austinfan

        Cook was not a great red zone target in Tennessee, he’s had Hasselback and Locker the last two years behind a much better OL (more time to get deep), that’s not much different than Vick, VY and Foles. It’s one thing to blame Fitz’s fall off last year on the combination of a horrible OL and QBs, that excuse don’t fly for Cook.

        Cook is similar to Hernandez and Daniels, except he’s taller, faster but not nearly as good of a receiver (route running and hands). He makes sense for a team that lacks a TE who can catch the ball.

        Got to think about value, Eagles can draft a receiving TE on the third day of the draft, more of these guys come out every year. They need help on the secondary and the DL far more than they need a tinker toy. Foles didn’t go 1-4 his last five starts because the offense was horrible (23 ppg, 350 ypg), he did so because the defense allowed 30 ppg. When the ship is sinking, you fix the hull, not rearrange the chairs on the deck.

        • Lukekelly65

          i agree that TE isn’t one of our biggest needs i still wouldn’t mind bringing Casey in because of the different roles he can fill i would be happy if we can grab a CB and a Safety i prefer sean smith and Landry but they might get a offers from some other team that the eagles dont want to match… no matter what we do in FA i still hope we draft a couple dbacks..cant wait to see how chip builds this team

  • http://www.hazepiffbudweedcheeba/blazeituppleasepeacetocheeba.com micksick

    wow, cooks 2012 season tape, niiice, bout to sit back and watch it and get my hopes up that eagles land him… lol… him and casey would be dope!

    how about danny woodhead as a value signing? fits the uptempo offense

    • TommyLawlor

      Is Woodhead a UFA?

      • http://www.hazepiffbudweedcheeba/blazeituppleasepeacetocheeba.com micksick

        yessir!! i do believe

    • TommyLawlor

      Woodhead would only make sense if he replaced Dion Lewis. The problem is that Danny is used to lots of touches. He’d be the #3 RB here. Not a likely move.

  • http://twitter.com/LuvJones1987 Malcolm Jones

    If we got Casey and Cook this team and the dynamics behind it become scary. Even I would be afraid of this offenses potential lol. What kind of joker role defensive player do you think we go after? Maybe Martellus Bennett’s Brother, RJF, Bryant, Knighton? Who should we be looking at. Also I kinda think Caplan may be hinting Cook only because his second hint was to watch his TE & DL film sessions.

    • TommyLawlor

      I don’t know that the Eagles want a Joker on defense. If they do, could be more of a SS/LB type.

      Jim Johnson used the Joker when he went to the 3-3-5 alignment. Joker was the MLB. Not sure Bill Davis uses that. The hybrid DB would move all over and be a guy that would do different things.

      • austinfan

        That would be a role Wilson could fill, or Landry.
        Wilson lacks the speed to play SS on passing downs, and I’m suspicious of Landry’s cover skills as well.

        Similar to Dawk in 2008 when they’d bring Demps in at FS.

      • deg0ey

        The PE.com film room things suggested that Glover Quin could maybe be that guy. Supposedly Houston never used a Nickel package, they would use a Dime instead where Quin played as a hybrid S/LB. Not sure how much truth there is in that (or maybe I misunderstood their point) but that might be something to consider?

  • Cvd52

    eagles better upgrade at WR or add a pass catchng TE. maclin and desean arent a great duo. maclin is very overrated, desean is a great piece to have if you have another good WR. early draft pick on a TE or WR please, im not paying a ton of money for gennings or any of those guys on the market

    • Neil

      The thing about WRs and any other skill position player is that they just aren’t very important individually. Skill players are completely moot without an offensive line and quarterback. And you don’t get dependence quite like that on the defensive side; though I will admit pass rushers make CBs’ jobs easier etc. WR is a position you only worry about when you’re like the 49ers, at worst functional at every other position, with most of them stacked. The Eagles have too many holes on defense and too many questions along the offensive line at this point to put many resources into a WR.

    • Ark87

      Maclin and Jackson are not good enough as a duo to be the feature of the offense in a Reid-style offense. If you are going to live and die by the pass, you either need a superstar that can take on double teams and still get production (we don’t have that) and a solid receiver opposite him (we have 2 of them) OR you can have a superstar pocket QB (Brees, Brady types, don’t have that) that can spread the ball around to a solid stable of receivers and TE’s and RBs (which we do have). We didn’t have what we needed to live and die by the pass, Reid tried to scheme his way past this, didn’t work.

      If we become run-centric, our pass-catching options are adequate enough. We simply cannot justify spending our 1st or 2nd on a receiver when we have almost no starters on our defense and absolutely zero depth at any defensive position, not to mention we don’t have franchise QB to fully utilize this star pass catcher. You either grab a stud O-lineman high to complement our running game, or grab a player to build our defense around.

      • Cvd52

        true, i keep forgetting AR is gone and we probably wont throw the ball so much. im happy with our WRs if we run a lot and have a great defence. although it would still be nice to upgrade

        • Ark87

          agreed

  • http://www.facebook.com/normanahaupt Norman Haupt

    I had an interesting thought. You know for many years, Madden guys have been shifting their athletic FB to the line of scrimmage and their speedy TEs into the slot. I’m sure someone’s got a 1940s version of that innovation in the NFL, but i do wonder if gaming has influenced these young athletes to want to play their roles with a much more versatile flair. Maybe not as much in the pros, but certainly high school and college.

    Which is a ripe place for TEs to run some routes from the slot.

    I think versatility for both offensive and defensive players will be the wave of the future. Less pure strength and more focus on athleticism.

    And to me, Chip Kelly is the guy I want at the helm for those years.

    • TommyLawlor

      Interesting take. Chip will certainly keep an open mind and use guys creatively. He won’t get caught up in labels.

  • TommyLawlor

    Jake Long as an Eagles target?

    http://eaglesblog.net/2013/03/jake-long/

    • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

      I would not object to this. Draft an stud OL too, and the offensive line is talented AND deep. I think you accept the risk of overpaying him as insurance for Peters.

      • http://twitter.com/sjampendk Patrick

        I know Schefter is the big one, but I also read that the market for Jake Long apparently wasnt all that big. I think it was an article by La Canfora, which makes it very unlikely, his Roseman views in mind. It could be the Eagles taking advantage of Long lowering his price tag down to acceptable RT and eventual LT territory. Long is 4 years younger than Peters and as you say, Peters injury needs insurance.

  • http://twitter.com/ScottJ610 Scott J

    I wonder how much competition there will be between Roseman and Banner? Do you think they will purposely try to outbid each other just to beat the other guy? A smart agent could play these GMs to get their client overpaid.

    • TommyLawlor

      I think Banner is anti-Eagle. I don’t think the Eagles care that much. Banner was pushed out. He’s the one with the chip on his shoulder. The Eagles want to win more than get over on Joe.

      • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

        I don’t think Joe is “anti-Eagle” and I don’t think it took much forcing to get him out of here. At the time of his resignation, he said he had been planning on joining a perspective ownership group for a while, and that’s exactly what he did.

        I know you are probably thinking about the La Canfora-Browns-Roseman-Head Coaching Search flap, but I have a different theory.

        If there’s someone in the Browns front office who doesn’t have much respect for Roseman and was leaking it out o he media, it’s proabably Mike Lombardi.

        If you remember the specific jab, it was that Bill O’Brien was an Eagles target and former Belichick guy that the Browns and Eagles wanted to compete for. The story came out that O’Brien was wary of the Eagles on advice from the Hoodie, who thought Roseman was a goof. Well, the guy in the Browns with strong BB ties and strong media ties is Lombardi. He had also recently been critical of Roseman’s manner, especially as it relates to a prospective head coach:

        “If Howie [Roseman] is going to continue to sit next to Jeff [Lurie] at the games, I think that’s never a good thing because I think that the coach wants to make sure his personnel director isn’t talking to the owner, the man that is in charge of hiring and firing him, during the heat of the battle,” NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi told 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi and the WIP Morning Show on Wednesday. “So, I think there has to be some separation. As I said to you before, part of being a general manager is you have to keep yourself away from the team, because that’s the coach’s team.

        “Coaches are cynical by nature, coaches are always worrying about what’s happening, so you have to be very careful. That’s what’s going to have to be developed in these interview processes, is what’s going to be the relationship between the GM and the head coach,” Lombardi said.

        http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2013/01/02/is-howie-roseman-too-close-to-jeffrey-lurie/

        • TommyLawlor

          Phils…I thought just like you, that Banner left somewhat on his own terms. I was wrong.

          Trust me on this. Banner is very anti-Eagle. He has an agenda against Reid, Howie, and Lurie. That won’t change until a few years have gone by…if ever.

          • Mac

            Does that mean he’s anti-KC now by proxy?

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            Ah, the Reid angle. I think I am more inclined to buy into that one. I got the strong sense that they were growing tired of each other the last few years.

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            What swayed you? If it was just this coaching flap, what do you think about my case that more signs point to Lombardi?

        • http://twitter.com/ScottJ610 Scott J

          I was shocked when Lombardi went to the Browns. I think they’re forming an Eagles hate group.

  • deg0ey

    If you’re right that Casey is the guy, I think Chip might decide he’s got ‘enough’ weapons on offense that spending big on Cook is an unwise use of resources.

    As an OSU fan, I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Jake Stoneburner. He’s a bit on the small side for a TE and isn’t someone you’d want to keep in to block often, so I’d expect him to be a relatively late pick, but as a hybrid-receiver-type guy he might be of interest.

    • TommyLawlor

      Deep TE class. He’s got NFL potential and could prove to be an Eagles target.

  • Jason

    T-Law,

    Great coverage and analysis as always during this FA and Draft season. If the FA Safeties get too pricey, what about a value combination of Quentin Mikell and Kenny Phillips and target an SS in the draft? Mikell provides leadership and provides some time for the rookie to break into the lineup. Phillips has a high ceiling and has Nate Allen as competition if health issues re-emerge.

  • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

    You wonder why Cook is going two and three quarters without a target in that cut-up (something that the video is obviously not equipped to explain). Not being featured enough, or not getting open enough?

    • TommyLawlor

      Crappy offense and crappy QB. They fired the OC late in the year.

      Cook wanted out of TEN because he was so under-used.

      • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

        So you think it’s entirely extrinsic? A big payday would support that view.

        I would think even a bad QB is capable of at least targeting his big hybrid TE if he was getting open a lot.

  • Cliff

    I didn’t watch much of the Titans or Cook this season, so would I be right to assume the Titans tried to use Cook in a similar way as the Packers use Jermichael Finley?

    • TommyLawlor

      Very similar.

  • Anders

    Tommy if we sign Casey, do you think we have spot on the roster for Havili? I really liked him in college and think he would be a good 3rd/4th RB for us and he is a great pass catcher.

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      Kelly doesn’t use the FB, so that wod point to Havili being an odd man out. That said, Havili isn’t really a traditional FB. I still think there’s a strong chance he winds up in KC.

    • TommyLawlor

      I think Polk will stay as the FB/RB tweener. Havili would be cut after TC.

      • austinfan

        Polk, Havili, Emil, Carrier are all different flavors of RB/FB/H-back.
        If they keep 7 RB/TEs, then only one, at most two, of this group will have a job, and that’s before they sign or draft someone.

  • http://twitter.com/sjampendk Patrick

    Aaaaaaaand, there goes Nnamdi… Finally. Good guy, old player. Best of luck.

    • http://www.facebook.com/xbcsmith Brett Smith

      na na na na. na na na. good bye!

  • nicolajNN

    Tommy, in regards to eaglesblog.net you could possibly place an RSS feed for it on the right side bar, maybe instead of Bounty’s? (Considering the newest story is from December) I think having it further up the page would be great, but obviously up to you. It could spare you from having to post links in the comments

    • http://www.facebook.com/xbcsmith Brett Smith

      I second that! awesome idea

  • Mac

    Thanks for the update Tommy re:Nnamdigate.

    The grey poupon era is over. The era of Gulden’s spicy brown begins!