Putting FA into Context

Posted: March 13th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 100 Comments »

I’m very happy with the Eagles start to free agency.  Others aren’t.  I understand those that were hoping for bigger moves.  The Eagles didn’t add anyone yesterday that is likely to make the Pro Bowl.  They didn’t add any blue chip players.

Go back to 2011.  Nnamdi was the bluest of blue chippers.  Cullen Jenkins was a notch below.  DRC had even more raw talent than Nnamdi.  Ronnie Brown was a versatile, workhorse RB coming here to be a backup.  Vince Young was an incredibly talented QB coming to a team that seemingly got the best out of all QBs.  Jenkins was the only non-1st rounder of that group.  Those players had incredible potential.

Think about the guys from 2011 who worked out the best…Evan Mathis, Jason Babin, and Derek Landri.  Mathis was a perfect fit for Howard Mudd’s blocking scheme and has developed into a Pro Bowl level player.  Babin had an amazing 2011 season because he was a great fit for Jim Washburn’s system.  Landri thrived while getting regular snaps in a defense that let him attack.   Babin was the only former 1st rounder of that group and was long removed from that.

You don’t just add talent.  You need to add guys who fit what you do.  You also prefer players who can stay hungry, motivated, and focused.  Brown and Young were coming here to be backups.  Those were lesser jobs.  I’m sure that was a bit awkward.  Nnamdi and Jenkins were older guys that had great track records.

This time the Eagles got guys with something to prove.  They got players who are hungry to show doubters that they can be top players.  Casey wanted to be a bigger part of the offense.  Fletcher wants to be a full time starter again.  Chung wants to be a full time starter again.  Sopoaga is the established vet coming in here, but he’s not a blue chip talent with Pro Bowls all over his resume.  He’s still a grinder, a NT who embraces doing the dirty work.  And Jason Phillips is here to earn a roster spot and show he belongs in the league.

I can’t promise you all of these guys will pan out.  History says maybe 3, maybe 4 will.  Heck, there’s no guarantee of even that.  I do really like the fact we’re getting these kinds of players.  Chip Kelly is a new coach.  He needs players that are coachable.  He doesn’t need established stars that will try to do things their way.  Chip needs guys that will buy in.

One of the other reasons behind these moves, there were no elite CBs or Safeties available in FA.  There were more talented guys than Fletcher and Chung, but those players were looking for mega-bucks.  I have nothing against paying huge money to a player, but you want a return on your investment.  The Eagles paid Jon Runyan huge money.  He was worth it.  The Eagles paid Jevon Kearse huge money.  He was worth it in 2004.  Injuries got the best of him after that.

If you don’t see players you love, then don’t go overpaying for guys who aren’t worth it.  It feels like those players are less likely to pan out.  Maybe they thrived due to a system.  Or maybe due to being surrounded by top talent.  Putting them on a team and projecting them to be the star rarely works.

Think about the best FA signings of the Andy Reid era.  Runyan – 2000.  Carlos Emmons – 2000. Brian Mitchell – 2000.  Shawn Barber – 2002.  Mathis – 2011.  Juqua Parker – 2005.  Leonard Weaver – 2009.  I’m leaving out the 1-year deals of Antonio Freeman, Dorsey Levens, Jeff Garcia, etc.

Runyan was the only guy of that group who was a high level, proven starter at the time.  Emmons failed to live up to expectations in PIT.  Mitchell was “washed up”.  Barber was coming off an ACL tear.  Mathis was a nobody.  Parker was a nobody.  Weaver was talented, but an odd fit.  Those guys all became terrific Eagles.

There is something to be said for taking chances on players that have talent, but some issue that has lessened their value.

* * * * *

These moves by the Eagles are part of the offseason.  They aren’t the be-all, end-all.  Don’t look at this and say “So Howie and Chip think Fletcher and Chung mean the secondary is fixed?”  That’s not the case at all.

First, the Eagles can still make further FA moves.  Paul Domowitch said on Twitter that he still expects the Eagles to add another CB.  I can absolutely see this still happening.  The Eagles are going to be patient about it.  Let the market settle down and then talk to the CBs that are left.  Find someone that you like and see if he’s go reasonable expectations.  Sean Smith is reportedly taking a visit today.  Things have been quiet for Derek Cox, Antoine Cason, Keenan Lewis, Brent Grimes, and the gang.

I guess it is possible the Eagles could still add another Safety.  I tend to think they’ll wait for the draft since they have Patrick Chung and Nate Allen.  I’m not ready to give up on Nate yet, but he needs serious competition.

I do think Fletcher will be the LCB and Chung will be the SS.  The RCB spot is wide open.  Nate is the FS for now, but he’ll definitely get pushed.  The Eagles will spend an early pick on someone to fight for that job.  If there is any way that Jonathan Cyprien is on the board at the 2nd round pick, he could be the guy.  If not, we’ll see.

We know the Eagles are talking to Ricky Jean-Francois today.  He would fill out the starting group up front and be a solid signing.

Dan Graziano, ESPN’s NFC East blogger, reported that the Eagles are interested in OT’s Jake Long, Andre Smith, and Sebastian Vollmer.  Long is in St. Louis and taking a physical today.  If he gets a clean review, the Rams will likely sign him to be their LT.  Vollmer was the RT for the Pats last year and would seem to be a good fit with the Eagles.  We heard very little about Vollmer yesterday.

Smith is a guy that I just can’t see the Eagles wanting.  He was the RT for the Bengals.  He can be a dominant run blocker.  Smith is only a mediocre pass blocker.  The Eagles actually beat him regularly last December.  He’s also not a guy in top shape.  Would he fit Chip Kelly’s up-tempo, no-huddle offense?  Think about all the ex-Oregon players have said.  “Be in the best shape of your life.”  Smith isn’t.

Maybe I’m wrong and Kelly wants a dominant run blocker.  This is part of getting to know Chip and how he thinks.

If the Eagles add RJF, go for another CB, and add a RT, they will have the freedom to do just about anything in the draft.  That would be pretty wild.   RT isn’t a lock to be addressed in FA so don’t focus in on that too much.

The Eagles have the cap room to make these moves.  I just wonder if they could really add 3 more starters.  That would make this one wild offseason.

And we’re just getting started.


100 Comments on “Putting FA into Context”

  1. 1 Matthew Leighty said at 11:15 AM on March 13th, 2013:

    Funny how andys best years we had very few “stars”. I like this approach better much more coachable. I know everyone complained about thrash and pinkston but we were winning with those guys. Not saying we didnt need upgrading but I think andy really lost what made him good which was not having stars and having a good Oline. It allowed him to spread the ball and get it to whoever had best matchup and wasnt forced to “feed” someone (the superstars) the ball. Only one we really ahd was westbrook and he was perfect becuase he was a weapon and not a true RB.

  2. 2 teltschikfakeout88 said at 11:33 AM on March 13th, 2013:

    Tommy, love this “pulse check” article. We have Gamble, Kelly and Roseman working to build a team for the FIRST TIME. We do not want to commit big money to anyone until the working relationship between Gamble, Kelly and Roseman is a bit mature. By working relationship I don’t mean whether they get along, I mean when Kelly says I want guys that allow me to do this or that on O or D; both Roseman and Gamble are at a point to go through a list of guys and work through the film to give Kelly what he wants and put a real value on that player. Kelly is guy who has been evaluating 18 year old kids and how mother nature will project that kid to play college ball. Roseman knows nothing else but what Reid wanted. Gamble knows how SF did things. Three different view points that need to get on the same page. These are good signings with contracts that don’t hamstring us much if the player evals are just wrong.

  3. 3 disqus_OOtKMYhbAO said at 11:35 AM on March 13th, 2013:

    What about Asante Samuel as one of Reid’s best free agent signings? Perennial Pro Bowl CB…

  4. 4 TommyLawlor said at 12:43 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    He was a partial success, partial failure. Left him out to avoid trying to explain that move from multiple angles.

  5. 5 D3Keith said at 2:06 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Oh, okay. I figured it must have been a brain fart because it was, aside from Runyan, *the* most successful FA move of the Reid era IMO.

  6. 6 disqus_OOtKMYhbAO said at 8:13 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I totally agree. 23 INTs (plus the very important 2 in the 2008 playoffs), three Pro Bowls. If he is only a partial success, no way Juqua Parker is a total success. Although I too know that Asante couldn’t/didn’t want to tackle.
    Anyway, great article Tommy, as always!

  7. 7 Iskar36 said at 2:15 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Asante had his struggles, but I have a hard time saying he was a “partial failure.” He did exactly what we wanted him to do (get turnovers) and did it at a high level. I know we got frustrated with his weak tackling and his soft coverage in the redzone, but those were things we knew about when we signed him. To me, he was absolutely a successful signing and one of the top FA signings we had in the AR era.

  8. 8 Jim said at 11:46 AM on March 13th, 2013:

    What do you think about Marcus Pollard? Would that be a duplicative signing to Chung?

  9. 9 Jordan Stuart said at 11:50 AM on March 13th, 2013:

    Marcus Pollard the TE? He is long retired.

  10. 10 Kenny Sweetman said at 11:52 AM on March 13th, 2013:

    It’s Bernard Pollard

  11. 11 TommyLawlor said at 12:43 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Bernard is a pure SS. You could go for him and then make Chung a FS. That’s not his ideal spot, but you never know what Bill Davis might be interested in trying.

  12. 12 Scott J said at 11:49 AM on March 13th, 2013:

    Most veterans lose their edge after they get their big pay day.

  13. 13 TommyLawlor said at 1:01 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Too many.

  14. 14 Michael Abrams said at 12:01 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Hey Tommy and Eagles Fans,

    I thought I’d post a public service announcement. I just ran into Don Tollefson in the Starbucks in Chestnut Hill (for those not in Philly, he’s been a local news sportscaster for 30+ years). He’s organizing a series of Eagles road trips to the away games this season. Seems like a good time, so I thought I’d pass along the info. Basically, he gets all of the pieces to the package donated and then all proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

    Package: Two people get 3 days/2 nights with air, hotel and game tickets. You go on a plane with like 100 other rabid Eagles fans plus a disabled vet or two that Tollie comps.

    Cost: $750… for two. Not per person.

    Games: Packers, Broncos, Raiders, Cowboys, Bucs, or Vikings. Schedules TBD (once the NFL releases them), but Tollie says he’ll swap you out if you have a particular weekend that doesn’t work. Never been to Lambeau? Me neither. This might be the year.

    For more info: See http://www.employyoungadults.com (he says, but I can’t find it up there yet), or email Tollie directly at tollie66 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  15. 15 TommyLawlor said at 12:42 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I’ll check into this. Could be a good thing to promote.

  16. 16 Jeremy Slaney said at 12:08 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I like the way the Eagles have gone about this FA period. No huge names signed, but they got guys that in the past have shown they are solid contributors. Some have something to prove or an injury history. I think a few of these guys could really be good solid starters for us this year or solid role players.

  17. 17 new coach said at 12:11 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Grantland has a piece up on he 1st day of free agency, with positive things to say about the Eagles’ appraoch

  18. 18 Skeptic_Eagle said at 12:20 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I think the main competition Nate Allen should be getting is the competition for the 4th safety spot, from Kurt Coleman. Not making a big move to get a better answer than Nate Allen at Free Safety would be organizationally negligent. He’s been one of the worst safeties in football in the past 2 years by just about any metric you could throw out there–regular stats, advanced stuff, naked-eye, All-22 breakdowns, chemical analysis, archaeoastronomy, carbon-dating. Linguists struggle to invent language to explain how poorly he’s played in the past 2 years.

    They have got to draft a safety high, with the idea of making him the starting FS right away, if they don’t sign someone else in Free Agency. If Nate can somehow make that guy a bench player, then that’s fine, but to go into the season holding out hope for Nate Allen is pretty much exactly what they did with Jaiquawn Jarrett, and why they had to go back to Kurt Coleman again. Sure, Nate may have shown some promise in the first few games 3 years ago, but it’s been nothing but misery since.

    There’s a difference between spending wisely on valuable roleplayers to build the team, and trying to fill all these holes using the Ryan Budget. I’d really like to see them bring in a young ascending player. Off the top of my head, Vollmer comes to mind, now that Desmond Bryant and Jared Cook are off the market.

  19. 19 TommyLawlor said at 12:41 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I thnk I made it clear the Eagles will bring in a rookie early to challenge Nate. The Eagles will give Nate a chance to win the job, but he would have to do just that…win it. Nate isn’t even guaranteed of making the final roster.

  20. 20 AustinMax said at 1:30 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Tommy – I dont understand your infatuation with Nate Allen…he has been below average at best and done hardly anything to justify being on the roster and you are still not ready to give up on him….

  21. 21 xlGmanlx said at 1:37 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Agreed, it appears he was another Reid reach. I would love for him to make me eat those words, but it looks like no one ended up a winner in the deadskins/igg’s #5 trade.

  22. 22 Justin Sengstock said at 1:48 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    He wasn’t a reach, Allen went right in the range he was projected to go in. He might not have turned out as expected, but a safety with a strong body of work, with acceptable athleticism and decent competition going at the top of the 2nd round isn’t a reach. Jaiquan Jarrett was a reach.

  23. 23 Ark87 said at 1:51 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Exactly, an argument for bust can be made, reach, not so much.

  24. 24 xlGmanlx said at 3:37 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Fair enough, I still think there could have been value found in the 3rd round for a S, but hindsight is 20/20. I would say it is a reach for that reason and ignoring all the other talent and value to be had in the second round at other positions.

  25. 25 Ark87 said at 4:09 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    A reach is when you fall in love with a player (usually due to need but not necessarily exclusively need) who will almost surely be available much later in the draft (subjective, I usually guesstimate 10+ spots later), but don’t want to risk waiting till your next pick. So rather than pick a conventionally accepted BPA, you pick the player you fell in love with. Usually this happens when a team can’t find anyone to trade down with. Busts and reaches are very different. One is based on talent evaluation (often viewed in hindsight), the other happens when you defy conventional and contemporary draft value.

    IE: The Seahawks bewildered many when they picked Bruce Irvin, who was likely going to stay on the board for a while longer. This was considered a reach. However, their talent evaluation, while unconventional, was spot on. He was every bit worth the pick (in hind sight).

    Nate is the opposite. He was a solid pick at the time, we were probably wrong, but so was everyone else.

  26. 26 xlGmanlx said at 6:14 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I don’t disagree with anything you wrote. I still feel it was a reach due to the fact that had we not really felt the need to draft a Safety, maybe other positions get a look. That is all, there was still good value to be had in later rounds and based on what we got, in the high 2nd, he was a reach based on his talent/production in my opinion. I also said I have the benefit of hindsight.

  27. 27 D3Keith said at 6:29 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Saying the Eagles didn’t need to draft a safety the season after they started Macho Harris eight games and Sean Jones nine is completely and 100 percent revisionist history.

  28. 28 xlGmanlx said at 6:34 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Not reading what I wrote is also part of the problem.

  29. 29 D3Keith said at 6:43 PM on March 13th, 2013:


  30. 30 goeagles55 said at 1:24 AM on March 14th, 2013:

    Actually, the jury is still out.
    Short version:
    Picks from #5 + PHI 2012 3rd = Nate Allen, Casey Matthews, Demeco Ryans, & Nick Foles

    Long Version:
    Eagles trade Donovan Mcnabb,
    ……receive #37 in 2010 (Nate Allen) and 2011 4th(pick #104)
    Eagles trade #104 in 2011 to TB,
    ……receive #116 (Casey Matthews) and 2012 4th(pick #99)
    Eagles trade #99 in 2012 and #76 to HOU,
    ……receive Demeco Ryans and #88 (Nick Foles)

  31. 31 Ark87 said at 1:50 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    He isn’t saying to give him the job. He’s saying let him compete. The entire secondary has been dreadful for the past 2 years. What you see in Nate is a kid that showed some good signs in his rookies season, got injured and struggled to fully come back from it. He finally gets back to where he was physically, and the entire secondary is absolutely dreadful.

    Nate is an anomaly, you have a kid that is smart, high character and has all the physical tools, but he is a mess on the field. You have to say “lets coach the kid up, get him in a functional situation with some good competition and see what we get”.

    Why not give up on him completely? You might find it a stretch to see him becoming a starting caliber safety, but what if we can get him to be a good back-up? It’s the off season, we have the roster space, lets see what they can do with him.

  32. 32 xlGmanlx said at 1:38 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I agree that it should probably come down to Allen v Cole for the last S spot.

  33. 33 Skeptic_Eagle said at 2:42 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I’m OK with that. As long as they invest some early draft capital, 1st or 2nd round, I’m on board.

  34. 34 Neil said at 2:26 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Considering the year before last I believe he had injury issues and this year the ENTIRE secondary had no idea what the actual play they were running is because Bowles decided to install a brand new defense over the bye, putting Nate at 4th safety is overreaction. What we saw last year in particular was madness, and there is plenty of reason to lay most of it at the feet of people besides Allen. This is a guy who if healthy and with his head on straight could not only be a functional starter but a good one. But you don’t bet on his head being on straight, which is why I think putting enough talent in the secondary to make him 3rd would be fine. He’s a guy who can be a reasonably good surprise in the future, not someone to banish to Siberia like Nnamdi.

  35. 35 Skeptic_Eagle said at 2:41 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Considering Bowles benched Allen in favor of Colt Anderson, a guy who is a special teams player, and Kurt Coleman (by Castillo), a guy we’re all ready to write off. I’d say that Bowles and Castillo understood Allen’s deficiencies in the coverages they were calling. I know he looks like an NFL safety, and they drafted him in the 2nd round, but at some point, you have to realize he just isn’t one, until he proves otherwise.

    I’m not saying they should cut him from the roster, but there is no way I’m comfortable penciling him in as a starter, even tentatively, at this point. I felt this way about Asomugha awhile before most others, as well, so we’ll see how everyone feels about Nate Allen about halfway through 2013, if he opens the season as the starter.

  36. 36 Neil said at 2:53 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I’ll agree with you I don’t want to pencil him in as the starter. But at the same time, I have trouble looking at last year and coming to the conclusion Allen was a problem. The fact that he got benched could just mean he didn’t assimilate the new scheme (in completely bizarre, dysfunctional circumstances that the coaches shouldn’t have put their players through) as well as the others. This isn’t a situation like Nnamdi where we can all clearly see physical limitations or a situation like DRC where the player has a track record of being a head case. This is why I like Tommy’s ideas: let’s get a guy who we could feel comfortable starting at FS and not bet on Allen to do anything more than be backup. NOT put him at 4th safety because we are so terrified of him taking the field for us; though he might earn that kind of treatment if he’s a trainwreck through training camp and the preseason.

  37. 37 Ark87 said at 3:38 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Competition for the 4th safety slot? Players compete to start, not sit.

    Broader point is, You can’t come into this season saying, here are our starters, we need to hold a competition to see who their back-ups are, or lets go sign someone to compete for the bench. It’s unrealistic to not project starters, sure, but everyone behind him needs to be looking to take his job. Open competition.

  38. 38 Skeptic_Eagle said at 3:46 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Work the semantics out however you want, Allen should be competing for a roster spot, not penciled in as a presumptive starter based on his “potential”. My opinion is that they need to add a starting caliber safety either in Free Agency, or the draft (rounds 1 or 2), with the intent of starting him. If Allen can resurrect his career, and unseat that person, or Chung, who was a backup in New England, it’s all gravy. I think at this point, you have to assume Allen is as a bust that needs to be replaced. A bit annoyed and tired of the half-measures, to be frank.

  39. 39 Ark87 said at 4:33 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I agree with you, I don’t think anybody on the defense should be penciled in as starters. Don’t assume anything. Starter, bust, camp body, whatever, it’s march. I want every signing to be an upgrade, if we can’t find one, find competition. I would never advise otherwise.

    But I’m curious. Reportedly the Eagles took a serious look a Dashon Goldson, he signed a 5 year deal with the Bucs for about 42 mil. Do you think we should have outbid that or use a high draft pick on a FS? Do you have any other FA targets in mind? Most of them seem to be at the same level as Patrick Chung, now, competition material.

  40. 40 Skeptic_Eagle said at 4:55 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I think you have to be very careful with a player like Goldson. Not old, but not young either, coming from a very good defense, that’s strength was the front 7 pressure. Goldson comes with a lot of the risks that BIG HITTERS have, namely, missed tackles. At the same time, he did play centerfield very well for them, and was clearly a much superior safety than his backfield mate, Whitner, that made a pro bowl, even when you isolate his play and look at his traits–movement, ball skills, instincts, aggressiveness.

    That being said, Goldson is a much better player than any of the players on the Eagles roster right now. I get the value argument–and maybe the Bucs did overpay for him–but I’m not sure it’s going to be a very winning one for me if the Eagles can’t cover the middle of the field again this year. I think Goldson provides solid centerfield play for a defense, and you can live with occasional open-field whiffs. What we’ve seen in regards to open-field tackling is on another level than anything Goldson has done.

    I would much rather draft safeties. I think this draft’s riches at that position should absolutely be exploited. I’m hoping that the Chung signing doesn’t preclude them from drafting one safety early, and one safety late (at least).

    I think Kenny Phillips is head and shoulders above the other safeties, if he is healthy. The whole key would be wringing that out. I have some hope that he is a name we’ll see as the dust settles.

  41. 41 Ark87 said at 5:08 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Kenny isn’t just head and shoulders above anybody on our roster, he’s the best safety in the division when healthy (come to think of it, a ranking of safties in the NFCE would likely be VERY Giant-heavy). Heard some troubling rumors about his health though, the dreaded “degenerative” word. If our doc’s clear him, I’d be excited to have him, for a reasonable price of course.

    I agree with your assessment of DG completely.

  42. 42 Skeptic_Eagle said at 5:53 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Oh, I hadn’t heard about a degenerative condition. That’s a gamechanger.

  43. 43 Ark87 said at 7:43 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Here’s my understanding of Kenny Phillips health, and I’m no doctor but it makes me uncomfortable. Basically in 2009 (2nd season) he was on IR. The docs proceeded with micro fracture surgery and discovered he had a degenerative knee. They claimed they “fixed” it (they can do that??) and called the whole thing a success. 2010 he wasn’t 100%, always seemed to have a nagging injury, just wasn’t all the way back. Fewell actually tried to keep him out of harm’s way as much as he could during that season. 2011 was when he really earned his rep as a standout corner. Then in 2012 he “aggravated” his MCL and sat the rest of that game. The rumors flared up about his knee condition not being “fixed” at this point. The Giants really babied this thing from what I could tell, just because this guy was so good and important. But his health seems like a very fragile thing. But like I said, I’m far far far from a doctor. I just get uneasy about these sort of things.

  44. 44 xeynon said at 1:28 AM on March 14th, 2013:

    You have to consider opportunity costs as well. Even granting that Goldson is better than anybody we have currently, he has to be MUCH better to justify giving him a contract that pays him more than $8 million a year, because that’s not only cash, it’s cap space that can’t be used elsewhere. Personally, I think it’s unwise to shell out top dollars on any FA who is not already a proven elite performer, one of the best in the league at his spot – if you’re not getting top 5 production, you shouldn’t be paying a top 5 salary. The history of NFL free agency bears that view out – it is riddled with bad contracts that ended up financially hamstringing the teams that gave them out. Many of these contracts were the sort that paid good players like great ones.

  45. 45 zphilly said at 9:44 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    so much depth in both the safety free agent class and in the draft. we can pick up a guy on the cheap after the monster deals like goldson’s (boy am i glad we stayed away from that deal) get out of the way.

    Im looking at guys like phillips who, when healthy, is a plus S. Not many truly elite guys available but definitely a lot who can be solid starters

    also curious about huff, who was solid in coverage when the raiders moved him to corner due to injuries in their secondary.

  46. 46 DamonL86 said at 12:25 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I would like to see us make an offer to Danario Alexander.

  47. 47 TommyLawlor said at 12:39 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    He lit it up this year. Injury history has people scared, but the guy can play.

  48. 48 TheRogerPodacter said at 12:30 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    what is the impact of bringing in such a large number of players on D that are all projecting to be starters?
    in a normal offseason, we would be hearing concerns about “chemistry” since there are so many new faces trying to fit in together.
    how has that changed this season? with the new coaching staff in place, i would guess that even if we had the exact same guys on the field, there would still be a problem of ‘chemistry’ simply because each one isn’t so familiar with the scheme as they might have been before.
    because of the new coaching staff, is the risk of bringing in so many new faces causing problems cut down a little simply because its like every person has a fresh start?

    what are your thoughts on this?

  49. 49 TommyLawlor said at 12:39 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Normally you don’t like this much change, but since we’re changing systems anyway, it won’t have as much impact. There was going to be a lot of change and confusion this year no matter what.

  50. 50 D3Keith said at 2:16 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Exactly. There is no current ‘chemistry’ and certainly little familiarity with Davis’s system, so now is the time to bring in guys and try to establish both.

    Everyone is a freshman again.

  51. 51 Ark87 said at 1:00 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I think of it as those war movies where a highly respected leader gets disciplined/served his tour and reassigned/retired/discharged and replaced by some green kid that went to officer school.

    That guy gets little to no respect or trust because the unit already existed long before this new hotshot rolled in.

    In the movies, the officer either triumphs as a heroic leader or becomes some incompetent villain for maximum drama.

    In the real world, you can always give the officer a mixed/new/reformed unit to build up as his own.

    So put me in the wagon of, there’s no such thing as too many new faces. The Eagles had an Identity and personality, and it sucked. There is no delicate balance of locker room culture that needs to be preserved. Bring on the new faces.

  52. 52 TheRogerPodacter said at 12:35 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    another question… i posted something similar on Jimmy’s site, but wanted to get the thoughts of everyone here.

    i’ve heard a few things saying that James Casey got a “large” deal of 3 Yr, ~$15M.
    if this was a deal of $5M per year, i could maybe see why this would be a lot of money for a guy.
    while we have a huge amount of cap space this year, so far none of the guys signed are really making a huge dent in that. as far as i know, there is a minimum amount that the team must spend on the cap.. so we have to put the money somewhere, right?
    do you think that these deals might be structured in a way to put the bulk of the money into this year to 1) use up the cap space that they have to use up anyway and 2) give them more freedom for future years?
    also, do you think we may see some of the cap space of this year put towards extending anybody?


  53. 53 TommyLawlor said at 12:38 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    The Eagles love to have lots of cap space. It allows them to sign guys to deals that eat up space in the current year so that in 2014 or 2015 these guys aren’t due huge balloon payments that will make them cap casualties.

    Players like it because they know the Eagles won’t have to cut them, if they perform up to the deal. Smart.

  54. 54 Ben Hert said at 4:42 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Isn’t this kind of a moot point now that you can carry over you leftovers to the next year? Or am I not thinking in the right way.

  55. 55 Lukekelly65 said at 12:50 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Im really hoping we get another CB there seems to be some guys out there yet i know that they are still out there for a reason but i think someone like carey williams (at the right price) or Grimes if you think hes back from the injury would really help to sure up the secondary

  56. 56 D3Keith said at 2:14 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Grimes is a guy we all liked last year when he was available, but if this regime likes big corners … he’s 5-9.

  57. 57 TommyLawlor said at 1:01 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I have a couple of interesting Jake Long updates posted:


  58. 58 47_Ronin said at 1:19 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    With Karlos Dansby’s release from Miami, any thoughts on him as an Eagles FA target at OLB?

  59. 59 TommyLawlor said at 3:21 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    In the current system, the OLBs need to be pass rushers. Dansby can blitz, but he’s not a pass rusher. Also, we’re looking for guys in the 6-3, 265 range. He’s more like 245.

    Dansby would play ILB. Problem is that we’ve already got a thumper in Ryans and a playmaker in Kendricks. Dansby really would need to replace Kendricks and that’s just not going to happen.

  60. 60 austinfan said at 1:57 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    It’s pretty much what I expected, given the lack of top quality, go for quantity, fill out the roster, establish competition in camp, and still move $10M into 2014.

    So Howie still has about $10M to play with now that the market is slowing down and he can start to “bottom feed.”

    Before additional signings or moving money forward, they have $15M in cap room for 2014 after subtracting the $5M in dead money for Vick. But subtract $7M or so on this year’s rookie contracts extending into next season. So that leaves $8M plus what they move forward.
    They save $3.2M if they cut Avant next year
    They save $1.8M if they cut Cole next year
    They save $6.8M if they cut Ryans next year
    They save $10.0M if they cut Peters next year

    Potential FAs: Maclin, Cooper, Harbor, Chaney, Hughes, Allen, Coleman.

    So depending how people play, they’ll want to retain flexibility going into 2014, keep, extend or cut some key veterans for cap room.

  61. 61 D3Keith said at 6:47 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I’m glad for this post. I was wondering how yesterday’s deals affected where the Eagles stand for the rest of free agency, but it was wise of you to look ahead into next season too. One of our guys with big contracts might bite it.

  62. 62 Bebin Abraham said at 2:18 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    we def have the cap space to get 3. RJF, Keenan Lewis and Winston would be my guys

  63. 63 Patrick said at 3:27 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Yes to RJF. I would rather have Derek Cox or Cason, although i do like Lewis “Steelers” schooling. No to Winston from me.

  64. 64 A_T_G said at 3:49 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Lewis is the CB I am hoping for.

  65. 65 D3Keith said at 12:01 AM on March 14th, 2013:

    Per McLane, this is the remaining available space:
    The Eagles had approximately $44 million in salary-cap space after they
    cut cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha on Tuesday. A rough estimate of their
    remaining space is about $25 million.

  66. 66 ACViking said at 2:27 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Re: Belichick’s “Shallow and Wide” Approach to His First SB Team

    In his second season as New England’s head coach, Belichick led the 2001 Patriots to the Super Bowl.

    That Patriots team had some great players — several who played on all 3 early ’00s SB winners — like DE Richard Seymour, DE/OLB Willie McGinnist, LB Teddy Bruschi, LB Ted Johnson, CB Ty Law, S Lawyer Milloy, OT Matt Light . . . and a back-up QB named Tom Brady.

    I have no idea what Belichick saw in that core group, but he decided to fill out that team by using free agency in a way no team had done before.

    Belichick went “shallow and wide” instead of the more conventional “narrow and deep” — where a teams spends a lot of money on 2 or 3 players.

    Early in 2001, the Pats signed 11 players as free agents who made through the season and to a SB victory. A few became key starters. A few road the bench. But several were great special teams players.

    Here’s the list:

    CB Terrell Buckley – started 1 game (age 30)

    DB Je’Rod Cherry – excellent special teamer (age 28) [spent the 2000 season as an Eagle, doing great on STs . . . but Reid cut him loose.]

    OG Mike Compton – started 16 games (age 31)

    ILB Brian Cox – started 7 games (age 33)

    FB Marc Edwards – started 13 games (age 27)

    LB Larry Izzo – All Pro ST (age 27)

    WR Charles Johnson – started 3 games (age 29) (yes, THAT Charles Johnson)

    DL Riddick Parker (age 29)

    WR David Patten – 14 starts (age 27)

    OLB Roman Phifer – 16 starts (age 33) [SB winner with 1999 Rams]

    DE Anthony Pleasant – 16 starts (age 33)

    DB Terrence Shaw – 2 starts (age 28)

    RB Antowain Smith – 15 starts (age 29)

    OLB Mike Vrabel – 12 starts (age 26)

    None of these players was younger than 27. They’d all been with at least 1 or 2 teams. Only Vrabel turned into a house-hold name.

    But they were exactly the kind of players needed to fill out the roster, provide solid depth, play special teams, and for older players like Phifer, Cox and Pleasant, bring leadership into the locker-room.


    So far the Eagles have added 5 low-profile free agents. Maybe there’ll be more.

    The Birds may be on the same sort of track as the 2001 Patriots (which may not be surprising if the connection between Kelly and Belichick is as strong as some reports have suggested).

    One notable difference, it seems to me, though is the 2001 Patriots were — certainly in hindsight — pretty loaded on defense. Not so much for the Eagles.

  67. 67 TommyLawlor said at 3:45 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Great comparison, even though the results aren’t likely to be the same.

    The Pats did have talent on defense, but also some holes. DTs were pedestrian. WLB Roman Phifer was 33 and past his prime. CB Otis Smith was 36 and way past his prime. The defense didn’t post great numbers, but made timely plays. They were smart and tough, and that worked with Bill B running the show.

  68. 68 T_S_O_P said at 4:22 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    They made the timely plays that they had failed so badly the year before to do. I think they were bottom 5 in 3rd down defence.

  69. 69 BobSmith77 said at 7:07 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I always thought the ’01 Pats were a lot more lucky than good especially watching them every Sunday while living in Boston at the time.

    Also really benefited from playing under the old rules that allowed pass defenders to get away with a lot more clutching & grabbing. Smith depended upon that to stay in the league at that point & Law was a master at grabbing without getting too many holding/interference calls.

  70. 70 TheRogerPodacter said at 5:15 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    OLB Mike Vrabel – 12 starts (age 26)

    None of these players was younger than 27.

    ; )

  71. 71 ShadyCrockett said at 3:52 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Just saw Bernard Pollard got cut…any interest there Tommy? He impressed me during the SB run, brings the pain and is 28.

  72. 72 ShadyCrockett said at 3:53 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Annnnnd just hit CTRL+F ‘Pollard’. No need to answer.

  73. 73 James Casagrande said at 4:09 PM on March 13th, 2013:


    I’d be interested to see you take a closer look at Patrick Chung. I read some reports that he has physical tools but was benched because “his eyes were in the wrong place” and he made poor decisions bailing out of coverage… hate to say it but that sounds a lot like our current safety corps.

  74. 74 T_S_O_P said at 4:15 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Mathis and Landri only just made it period! Evan made it to start at LG despite taking zero snaps with the first team thanks to a RT situation that was terrible. Landri made it BACK from the street in week 5 due to injury to Dixon.

    I too am quite happy with the haul so far.

  75. 75 Kevin_aka_RC said at 4:36 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Competition is good for everyone. This reinforces “Win The Day” that Kelly preaches. To do so, you need “real” competition. UDFA are nice, but they’re not always real competition.

    If Harbor doesn’t bring it, he’s gone.
    If Hughes/Marsh don’t bring it, they’re gone.
    One of Coleman/Allen will be cut barring major injuries.
    Antonio Dixon now has to fight for a roster spot.
    Chaney better be a better ST player, because Phillips will.

    Accountability. About time.

  76. 76 Ark87 said at 4:47 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Love it. Chip seems to value ST. I can’t wait for the first non-starter to give less than 110% on ST’s and watch them get cut so fast. Hey you aren’t a starter, ST’s are your meal ticket, learn it, earn it.

  77. 77 CalSFro said at 5:12 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Yeah, that seems to be one of the key theme’s so far other than Sopoaga.

    The ability to play special teams.

    I really like this kind of “inside-out” philosophy. Bring on core, high character guys who can help you in a number of ways, especially in the more nitty gritty areas.

  78. 78 BobSmith77 said at 4:42 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Been a little underwhelmed but it is what I expected especially since the Eagles have decided to gut their entire defense & rebuild with a 3-4 scheme. No sense in paying huge dollars right now given where the Eagles are at as an organization & what players are available given their particular needs are right now. No 24-25 year old FA who I thought was worth spending crazy dollars on .

  79. 79 Erik L. Richardson said at 4:43 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Bernard Pollard has been released by the Ravens. The Eagles should go after him hard. Need a modern DB, who can cover, hit and create turnovers? Pollard is an elite player at a serious position of need for the Eagles. Playmaker, Turnover creator, “Sound” tackler!

  80. 80 Baloophi said at 4:49 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Wait, agents are on Iggles Blitz, too?!?!

  81. 81 Erik L. Richardson said at 5:11 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Agents of fans who desire him to be on the Eagles!

  82. 82 Patrick said at 5:58 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Modern DB? Cover ? – I think he is pretty poor in coverage. Hit ? – yes, he is a tough(too tough) player that can hit, but he cant TACKLE. Not as bad as Asante, but still, not Laron Landry. Turnovers ? – a whopping 1 interception and 0 forced fumbles this year. Elite ? – No way.

  83. 83 Iskar36 said at 5:38 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I get the sense that Ricky Jean Francois’ visit is over with the Eagles. Has anyone heard any updates? From the lack of news, I get the sense we are likely not signing him, but maybe someone is hearing differently.

  84. 84 A_T_G said at 6:14 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Saying Andre Smith isn’t in shape isn’t really fair, pear is a shape.

  85. 85 TommyLawlor said at 11:37 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Why do you always ruin my posts with your so called “facts”!!!

  86. 86 D3Keith said at 7:24 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Well the Patriots’ loss of Welker is mitigated by their signing of Amendola.

    Those guys almost never take a step back.

  87. 87 Iskar36 said at 7:25 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Amendola fits a similar role, but I would say that Welker >>> Amendola.

  88. 88 A_T_G said at 7:43 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Welker on the Pats is certainly better than Amendola on the Rams. Those are some pretty weighty qualifiers, though. I will be interested to see just how replaceable Welker turns out to be.

  89. 89 Ark87 said at 7:52 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Good point, I would say Wes’ decline is much more imminent than Danny’s at this point. MUCH cheaper too (right? I don’t know the figures).

  90. 90 holeplug said at 8:17 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    turning down 2/12 for welker to pay amendola 5/31 is…..interesting

  91. 91 P_P_K said at 10:44 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Wes has to be the luckiest wr in the world. First he’s catching from Brady, now from Peyton.

  92. 92 xlGmanlx said at 7:57 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    I know it’s FA time, but does the bills letting Fitz go make our 4 more valuable if they want to go after Geno?

  93. 93 holeplug said at 8:02 PM on March 13th, 2013:


  94. 94 Ark87 said at 8:29 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    It can make things interesting for sure. The bills currently have Tavaris Jackson and Aaron Corp on their roster as far as QB’s go. That should throw them into the mix. The cards don’t really have a QB either, could the Bill want to leap-frog ahead of them just to be sure? Are the teams between us and them so attached enough to their picks to force the cards or bills or someone else to jump all the way to 4? Could we play interested parties against each other to drive up value? It definitely has my attention.

  95. 95 xlGmanlx said at 10:55 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Swapping picks and picking up a high second with the kind of depth this year could be an exciting scenario.

  96. 96 Wilbert M. said at 11:53 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Bills, Jets, Browns, and Titans all need QB’s. QB value goes through the roof as you get close in on the draft. -Gabbert, Tannehill, Ponder, etc. Trade down and still be in the top ten.

  97. 97 A_T_G said at 9:59 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Watching the Chung video, I can see what some commented about with the shoulder hits instead of wrap up tackles, with one caveat. He seemed to pick his spots. I know it is a highlight video, but the hits instead of tackles seemed chosen. RBs in the middle of the field he wrapped up. Players trying to get their feet inbounds, nearing the yellow stripe, or in the grasp of another player he hit.

    If that says anything about situational awareness and not just good editing, we have something.

  98. 98 Iskar36 said at 1:13 AM on March 14th, 2013:

    Yea, I asked about this earlier. There was definitely a few plays where he wrapped up, but the majority of them where tackles with his shoulder. I haven’t watched him nearly enough to know if that is purely a highlight coincidence (which to be fair I would not be all that surprising since it is a video specifically of big hits) or if he does that regularly throughout a game. If it is situational awareness as you suggested, that’s great. If not, it could be a telling reason why he was benched (in addition to him getting caught looking in the wrong place as has been mentioned by others).

  99. 99 Adam said at 10:09 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    Tommy.. What about SAM linebacker? Feels like we only have “Predators”

  100. 100 Wilbert M. said at 11:59 PM on March 13th, 2013:

    It’s a unique position in a 3-4 and there’s no one on the roster to play it. They better get a FA because depending on a draft pick isn’t smart.