Wednesday Night Update

Posted: March 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 45 Comments »

Ricky Jean-Francois is already visiting Indy.  Apparently he and the Eagles were far apart in money.  RJF is the kind of player you want, but only at the right cost.  He’s only got a few career starts.  He isn’t a huge guy.  He isn’t a great athlete.  He isn’t a pass rusher.  You love his toughness and versatility, but just can’t overpay for that.  It sounds like he and the Eagles left things open, but now that he’s gone it is likely he won’t be coming back.

* * * * *

There are other 5-tech DEs still on the market.  Here are a few names I know are still out there:

DE Vaughn Martin – SD
DE Leger Douzable – TEN
DE Ropati Pitoitua – KC
DE Jarius Wynn – TEN

There was a speculation with the Eagles and Martin, but I’ve not seen anything more on that.  There is no guarantee the Eagles will add a starting caliber DE.  Cedric Thornton can play the role, but I think ideally the Eagles would love him to be a backup to the DE and Fletcher Cox.

Really, this is a situation where the Eagles are tying to add the right player if he’s available.  If not, add depth and get a DE in the draft.  I should mention that the list above doesn’t include any recent cuts.  There could be an additional player or two the team likes.

* * * * *

The Jake Long saga truly is a saga.  He arrived in St. Louis on Tuesday evening.  He underwent a physical today that apparently lasted for hours and was very thorough.  There are concerns about his knee, back, shoulder, and triceps.  Amazing that the guy has only missed 6 games in 5 years, but has the Rams that nervous.

St. Louis has another concern. There was a report today that current Rams LT Rodger Saffold would request a trade if the Rams signed Long to play LT.  Saffold is scheduled to hit FA next year and wants LT money.  The Rams could slide Long to RT, but he may not want to go there unless he’s getting LT money.

The Eagles might still have a chance with Long, assuming they are interested.  There were other reports that the team had interest in Sebastian Vollmer and Andre Smith.  Vollmer is older, but a better fit.  Smith is young and a dominant run blocker, but seems to be the opposite of what Chip Kelly wants in terms of athleticism and build.

Dave Spadaro has shot down a lot of the RT talk, hinting that the team is more likely to go the draft route at that spot.  That is also what I’ve said, since the team has older players on the OL already.  Best to add young guys there.

* * * * *

Now for the CB update.  DRC is gone.  He signed a 1-year deal with the Broncos.  They will pay him $10M for every bone-jarring tackle he makes.  I have him down for $37 this year.  Honestly, DRC was smart to sign a 1-year deal. If he can get his stuff together, the guy can be a top player.  Playing for John Fox, Jack Del Rio, and with Champ Bailey will be the ultimate test.  If DRC struggles this year, he’s toast.

Derek Cox signed with San Diego.  Les Bowen reported that Chargers CB Antoine Cason was visiting Arizona, but hinted that didn’t mean he was close to signing.  Cason is a player I like.

Sean Smith has been silent.  Keenan Lewis and Brent Grimes too.

None of these CBs are guys you must have, but all could be effective starters.  If the price is right, I do expect the Eagles to make a run at one or two of them.  Stay tuned.

* * * * *

The Safeties are dwindling.  LaRon Landry went to Indy.  Dashon Goldson to TB.  Glover Quin to DET.  I don’t know if there is anyone else on the market that the Eagles will have interest in.  Bernard Pollard was cut by the Ravens.  He is a big SS type.  Best in the box or attacking downhill vs the run.  That is similar to Patrick Chung. It doesn’t seem likely for the Eagles to go for a similar guy to Chung.

Some of you have asked questions about Chung.  He was brought here to add a physical presence to the secondary.  Will Chung get burned from time to time? Yes. So have other Eagles Safeties.  The difference is that Chung will make some receivers pay the price for catching balls in front of him.  I have said since the season ended that the firs thing the Eagles needed was a physical Safety.  No matter what you do, receivers are going to get open.  Having at least one physical presence in the back end is a way to keep offensive players nervous, and that can affect their concentration on running routes and catching passes.

* * * * *

Word came out this evening that the Eagles might be interested in a pass rusher.  The primary name was Connor Barwin.  He played OLB for the Texans the past 4 years.  I think Barwin would take over the SAM role.  Since we still don’t have a confirmation on the scheme, this remains a guess.

Barwin is talented. He’s a former college TE that can run, cover, and rush the passer.  He’s got a lot of potential, but teams seem hesitant to give him much money.  Barwin had a great year in 2011, but was quiet the other 2 seasons.

Victor Butler and Antwan Barnes were also mentioned.  Butler is a talented, young player.  I’m just not sure exactly where he’d fit into the Eagles lineup.  He hasn’t proven to be a starter.  He also lacks the height and bulk that we think Chip would want in a SAM.  Barnes is visiting the Jets on Thursday.  He is someone the Eagles have liked since college.

I’m not sure I fully buy into the notion of the Eagles going for a LB, but if the price is right, they could.

How would this affect Trent, Graham, and Curry?  I still don’t know since Kelly/Davis have yet to fully explain the scheme.  I know many of you want Graham to have a prominent role.  He might.  We just can’t confirm anything because we still don’t know 3-4 vs 4-3 Under.

Just like RT, CB, and DE…stay tuned.

_


  • SleepingDuck

    I think Keenan Lewis tweeted that he was visiting the Saints today, well technically yesterday.

  • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

    I would think they’d want to grab at least one 3-4 style OLB whose strength is in coverage. No matter what scheme they run, they need a guy like that (I don’t believe he’s on the roster). Between Cole/Graham/Curry you have the pass rushing spot filled, but the Eagles haven’t had an OLB that can cover athletic TEs in quite a while.

    Much like the rest of the signings (including Vick), getting a FA OLB takes some of the pressure off in terms of needing to draft somebody. I can’t be the only one feeling better about the draft after they signed a NT/CB/S (and QB).

  • http://www.facebook.com/nathan.e.rufo Nathan Rufo

    Tommy,

    I tweeted this out earlier, but IMO, I’d like for them to make a run at another starting-caliber CB. Your point about Chung is a good one, I wasn’t sure about his coverage skills but from what you say he seems more naturally suited to SS. A safety combo of Chung and Pollard, and Fletcher (who hasn’t missed many tackles) would definitely change the culture of the defensive backfield though. I guess it hinges on what they want out of it.

    I’d like to see them make a run at another starting-caliber CB, possible a S who could come in and compete, and either an LB like Barwin or another versatile defensive line type. I think this would give them the most freedom in the draft. Also, if the Eagles were interested in Dion Jordan at 4, maybe they could get something for Graham from a 4-3 team, as he doesn’t seem to necessarily be the prototype predator for Davis’ system, and you could rotate Jordan and Barwin between Predator and SAM and mix Cole in at Predator as well.

    Just some thoughts. Keep up the great work. I check your sites multiple times a day.

    • Mac

      Fairly deep safety class this year. I have a feeling we’ll pull FS competition from the draft. Same with CB, but as Tommy and you point out it seems likely they will eventually nab another free agent CB.

      Don’t forget Graham and Curry will be vying for playing time on defense!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.parker.1044 Jamie Parker

    I wasn’t expecting so many FA signings so fast for us. I didn’t know we were trying to rebuild the team in one offseason. We still have the draft next month too. Looks like we’re trying to fill all the holes at once.

    • ICDogg

      They’re bringing in a bunch of guys. The odds are that some of them will help us and some of them won’t. The ones that don’t won’t be around long and their contracts won’t constrain the Eagles from keeping them on the roster.

    • GermanEagle

      Funny enough I see the exact opposite. The Eagles need to bring in at least two or 3 more Free Agents as possible starters or at least quality depth in order to have freedom in the upcoming draft.
      I want them so address Oline, Dline and DB depth before we can totally focus on the Draft.

      • xeynon

        I disagree. If the market’s not really there for the remaining guys in free agency, they may still be available later on in the process, even after the draft. The only guys you have to get in the early days of free agency are high priority targets other teams will snap up if you don’t. Veteran players who can be average starters will still be available in May and June. I’d like another signing or two as well, but if the team has to go into the draft, see how the draft goes as far as filling remaining holes, and then plug the remaining holes with veteran guys afterward I don’t think it’s the end of the world.

  • Brandon Judy

    Tommy I know off-topic and I know he was your favorite player in years. This is damn funny though

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aL5zLon7MRY#!

    • TommyLawlor

      Yeah, that is hysterical.

  • GermanEagle

    To be honest I can’t really see why they would have been far apart in money. Or why would RJF step on a plane to Philly in the first place if his agent’s salary demands were too high?!

    • Adam

      Why not? This is one of the biggest decisions of his life, you’d wanna leave no stone unturned. The Eagles have a walk away price for each player, and clearly RJF’s was higher than that. Both sides are going to do their due diligence. No harm, no foul.

      • D3Keith

        With Indy being run by Grigson, who is trained in the same art as Roseman, I’m sure they have a walk-away price too. It’s never a good sign when your guy leaves town without a deal, but if he hears the same talk from Indy when it comes to the money, maybe Philly is the spot he chooses. We certainly have a job available.

        I thought all the reports that said he left town and is good as gone are a bit premature. But I like that the Eagles aren’t breaking the bank for any non-need guys too.

  • miked718

    Pollard is a nasty Safety, possibly dirty but if you want to strike fear into the heart of the other team, just ask the New England Juggernauts what they see in their nightmares. It’s Bernard Karmel Pollard. Or at least, Brady, Welker and Gronk do…

  • Anders

    Tommy, what do you think about potential trading for chris gocong? I know he is older and coming off an injury, but he got tons of experience covering, Davis really likes him and seems to be a backup for the browns. I thought maybe a 6th?

    • GermanEagle

      I know where you’re coming from, but trading for Chris Gocong just made me ROFL! ;)

      • Cliff

        Ha! Let’s get the whole gang back together! Disco Stew is available!

        • Cliff

          Dhani Jones could be pried away from J. Crew for the right price.

          • TommyLawlor

            I’m drawing the line at Dhani Jones.

        • D3Keith

          Stew joined the Broncos yesterday … but it still made me laugh.

  • Adam

    Very nervous that we have no coverage outside linebackers. I know people say Dion, but how can you bank on that? Who knows if he’ll even be available, and even if we do get him you need at least 1 backup.

    I’ve had just about enough of getting burned by tightends and running backs in the passing game. We need to address this.

  • ACViking

    Re: “Antwan Barnes . . . is someone the Eagles have liked since college.”

    T-Law:

    Some questions on Barnes.

    First, the NFL official lists Barnes at 6’1″ 240 lbs (same height but about 9 lbs more than Butler). Does Barnes possess the size that Kelly’s purportedly looking for in a SLB.

    Next, Barnes turns 29 this October. Too old? Or do you see him as a short-timer if signed (2 years, for example). Barnes’ forte is as an edge pass-rusher, I think. And he’s getting close to that magical age 30 number when pass-rushers lose that critical half-step.

    Finally, this is the same Antwan Barnes whom the Eagles signed just before opening day in 2010. Then cut him after two games.

    So . . . who inside the Eagles’ organization is the person(s) who like Barnes?

    Who inside the Eagles dropped the axe on him after two games?

    And why was the axe dropped?

    • Mac

      I believe it’s the same Barnes, and I think he got caught as the odd man out in a numbers game. Having said that I feel there is no way we take another “smallish” guy when we have Graham and Curry on the roster.

      • D3FB

        and hunt

        • Mac

          also true

    • TommyLawlor

      Barnes would come here as a role player or to fight for a job. You aren’t signing him and giving him anything. I don’t know who in the FO liked him, but it may have been multiple scouts.

      Why cut? Roster tweaks. He was a player they wanted to keep, but had to cut to keep someone else who was more of need.

      And remember…this “interest” could all be a lie as his agent tries to create a market for Barnes. I don’t think it makes a lot of sense, but it is worth reporting.

  • ceteris_paribus1776

    CSN reports out of the Sean Smith running as well. Better be looking to draft CB in either of the first 2 rounds. There is nothing close to a #1 CB on the roster right now and not really one available via FA.

    • http://www.facebook.com/watkinsont Tom Watkinson

      I count 5-6 young corners who can start (Talib, Cason, Lewis, Smith, Williams) and Grimes, Winfield, Hall. Room to draft one and easily get one more in free agency. Buyers market. Only day 4 of free agency. Things will be okay.

      • ceteris_paribus1776

        We are out of the smith running. The rest of those guys aren’t #1 CBs. They’re starters, but not the who you want covering the other teams best player. That was my point. It’s a buyers market for complimentary CBs, not top end guys.

  • Mac

    Crazy idea… If the Eagles aren’t getting offers appropriate for the consensus top QB in the draft at pick #4. Is there a possibility that the Eagles draft him anyway in kind of an epic game of “chicken” and then say: “Ok, you want a QB, show me what you’ve got.”

    • GvilleEagleFan

      As long as we’re throwing out crazy ideas… what about Graham at the 5-tech? His strength has always been his bull rush, so it’s not like he’s losing the advantage of being split wide outside the OT’s shoulder. Thoughts Tommy?

    • Baloophi

      I like an epic game of chicken. We won’t have seen such high stakes since Ren and Chuck squared off on a couple of tractors in John Lithgow’s puritanical town of Bomont…

      • TommyLawlor

        It still blows me away that Chris Penn was in that movie.

        • Baloophi

          R.I.P.

        • laeagle

          Too pretty for this world.

    • TommyLawlor

      @ Mac, Possible, but that is a big game of chicken. Must be prepared to get stuck with the QB. Not sure the Eagles would do that. Kind of thing you might do if you were a playoff team the year before that had an early pick due to a bizarre trade. Then you could risk it and live with the consequences.

    • Iskar36

      I know the Giants and Chargers did this with Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, but my understanding is that, in addition to having to play chicken with a team, it is extremely difficult to make this trade happen from a financial standpoint. This may have changed recently, but I know the same issues existed when we were talking about trading Kolb to the Cardinals for Patrick Peterson. The issue is that if you draft the guy at #4, he is owed the price of the 4th pick. Because there is a rookie pool used to calculate how much each team can spend on their total rookies, it makes it nearly impossible to fit in an additional rookie (or swap rookies drafted at different spots) because the Rookie Pool does not allow that flexibility in signing them to a good contract. In other words, teams have a “rookie pool” that is sufficient to sign their draft class based on the number of draft picks and where those players were selected by each team. When you trade for another player, particularly a first round pick early in the draft, you don’t increase your rookie pool but now have an additional player you have to try to fit under that amount of money. In most cases, it is nearly impossible to do that.

      The other option is to draft the guy, sign him to a contract, and then trade him. The problem with this strategy is that it creates a lot of dead money, so this is not a good option.

    • Ark87

      That would be kind of spiteful and awesome. Bills are like: “Why would we go to #4 when we could just trade with 5 or 6? Screw you Philly.”

      HAH, suckers. Don’t mess with Howie Freakin Roseman. Honestly, getting “stuck” with Smith wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Plenty to like about him in a balanced or run-heavy offense.

    • xeynon

      Supposedly Geno Smith had an excellent Pro Day workout (Jaws was certainly impressed). That ought to up the price for him, since quarterbacks always shoot up the boards in the final weeks before the draft.

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

    I don’t see how anybody can be comfortable with out secondary situation.

    • Iskar36

      At the absolute least, I think they still need to make 2 significant moves in the secondary. One starting corner and one starting caliber safety (if Nate Allen can beat him out, great, but I will have no issue with him on the bench or even cut if he can’t improve). In addition to that, I wouldn’t mind an additional corner for added competition, but with our other needs, I’m not sure we have the resources and available players to do that.

      Having said all that, some of those guys can absolutely come from the draft, but I would be concerned having to fill those needs and also trying to navigate the draft with the idea of getting the best player available.

      • xeynon

        The draft, or secondary free agency post-draft. Serviceable veteran players can still be had then.

        People need to relax. There’s no game tomorrow. The team doesn’t have to have every position settled right now.

        • Iskar36

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we are not doing what we need to now or anything like that. My point was by the time we take the field week 1, those are the needs I see in the secondary.

          My point about navigating the draft though is that even if you think you can get certain guys after the draft, when you have a hole, there is that extra incentive to reach for a guy you like despite your draft board. It happens with such regularity in the NFL that you can’t simply ignore that possibility and assume the Eagles will not make those mistakes. Hopefully the will not, but with so many holes on the offense and defense, we can only wait and see.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509888566 Addison Abdo

    Hoping Keenan Lewis doesn’t sign with the Saints. Really like his potential and combination of size and speed. Should the Eagles not get Lewis, I also like what I saw from (dare I say it) Cary Williams down the stretch. Neither of them seem “soft” in my opinion. Thoughts on them as potential Eagles targets?

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.muller.71 Bill Muller

    tommy assuming mike vick is kellys choice to run whatever version of the read option he choses to install,how will vick being a southpaw qb affect kellys task?