Another Active Day

Posted: March 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 202 Comments »

Free agency is 3 days old and the Eagles have made 2 moves each day. First it was Malcolm Jenkins and Donnie Jones. Then it was Bryan Braman and Chris Maragos. Today the team added help for the offense and defense. The Eagles traded a 5th round pick for Darren Sproles and then they signed CB Nolan Carroll.

There is a ton of enthusiasm for the Sproles move.

When asked about Sproles earlier in the week, I said I didn’t see him as a fit for the Eagles. I was caught off guard by this move. The Eagles get a talented player, but one who is 31 and in the final year of his contract. He’s also a declining player.

I do think I missed an angle to this. I got caught up in labels and thought of Sproles as a RB. I’m now wondering if Sproles isn’t coming to town to be a receiver. He would line up in the backfield at times, but would see most of his snaps in the slot or outside. That would create matchup issues for the defense. Do they account for him as a RB or receiver?

There is no question that Sproles is still a very good pass catcher. He knows how to get open and he’s dangerous after the catch. Even on plays when he is stopped, he can affect the defense. Teams don’t like to leave him in space 1-on-1 with a LB so that causes them to adjust how they cover.

If you think of Sproles as coming in to eat up some of Jason Avant’s snaps, the move makes more sense. He will take some touches away from Shady, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk, but I don’t think he’ll line up at RB all that much.

Chip Kelly does love versatile players and he just got one of the most versatile weapons in the league. As far as Sproles being the RS…I’m not sure what to say. He didn’t post big numbers last year. Maybe he’ll do better there with less touches on offense. I would love for Sproles to take on a Brian Mitchell role. He could be the primary RS and a weapon to mix in to the offense in certain looks.

I love the Carroll signing. Honestly, I didn’t think he’d be willing to come to a team with returning starters at CB. The Eagles needed depth at CB in a big way. I still think they’ll draft someone, but Carroll comes in to provide immediate help. Beyond depth, he’ll challenge Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher for a starting gig. You want 3 or 4 guys battling for 2 jobs unless you have star players already in place.

Carroll can also help on STs. He’s not afraid to do the dirty work.

The secondary is better now because it is deeper and more versatile. Malcolm Jenkins can play FS, SS, CB or NB. Carroll can start or come off the bench. Chris Maragos might prove to be a better DB than Colt Anderson, which is one of the reasons I think the Eagles made a change there.

There is still a need for help at both S and CB. The Eagles will likely draft a CB. They could address S with another free agent or in the draft. Or maybe both ways.

* * * * *

Some of you have asked about improving the defense without adding substantial talent. I’m not ignoring your questions. I’ll cover that angle in a separate post.

_


  • Jarvis

    With all this help in the secondary, what do you think this means for our first draft pick? Dee Ford? Someone else?

  • ICDogg

    There is a rumor that the Eagles just signed Clemons the safety from Miami. I don’t see any credible sources for it though, so it’s probably crap.

  • Jon

    I was hoping to get deanthony Thomas at around the 5th round in the draft, you reckon that could still happen? Think he’ll make it to rounds 6 or 7?

    • Chippah

      He had a really bad combine, he may drop.

    • anon

      we just took dat in the 5th.

      • Jon

        We just took an older player for a one year rental. I’d still want Thomas, Sproles can develop him for the future

        • Sb2bowl

          3 year deal now, he just signed a 2 year extension

      • Jon

        We got an older player for a one year rental, I think it still makes sense to get DAT later on to learn from Sproles

  • Chippah

    In your last post you mentioned this hurts DAT’s chances of being an eagle, but I don’t know. I could see them bringing him in if he falls to the 7th or UDFA because of his poor combine. Then he’d have Sproles to mentor him on the little things of being a little man in the NFL. Sproles is TAZR this year and DAT or someone similar is TAZR of the future.

  • Media Mike

    This should improve the return game!

  • barneygoogle

    I think the Eagles are FAR from through with moves. Remember, this is Kelly’s first chance to re-assemble the team the way he wants it. Could be a fascinating time leading up to the draft. Makes the Phillies seem boring.

    • Media Mike

      I’m not bored at all with my boy Ryne Sandberg telling Jimmy Rollins to sit his selfish rear end down!

  • Corry

    This has all been exciting, but I really, really, really want another OLB. We have Kruger and Long on the roster, but I’d like a veteran option/backup/pass rush help. I don’t think we should leave it up to the draft.

    • D3FB

      Kruger is a 34 end.

    • korman

      The only pass rushers left are generally depth guys. Rob Jackson and some 3-4 over the hill dudes (Harrison).

  • Iskar36

    Tommy, what is your take on the price tag of Sproles? I expressed in the last post that for me, a declining, one year rental player, a 5th round pick is a bit expensive, especially in a draft considered so deep, and one where we have already only a few picks available to use. I’d be curious to hear your take.

    In terms of Sproles as an asset to the team, I fully agree with your assessment. Seems that receiving is the one area of his game that hasn’t had a major decline from last year (and trending downwards even from 2011). I wonder though that if his rushing continues to decline whether teams will ultimately just treat him like a WR and how that will affect his production. Of course, I guess you could argue that if defenses treat him as a WR, has CK already gotten the upperhand on a defense.

    In terms of return specialist, I think it has to be pointed out that Damaris Johnson was BETTER than Sproles as a returner last year. In addition, based on attempts, it seems that has become less and less part of his game, so the Saints seem to have felt he was declining as a returner and it wasn’t simply a statistical anomaly that Sproles’ numbers declined. I really hope the FO doesn’t treat Sproles as the answer at RS and continue to try and upgrade the position.

    • sprawl

      Just for perspective it’s not like the Saints were a great rushing team except for when they tried to have Sprolea run it and he stunk things up:

      Thomas 3.7 ypa, long 18 yards
      Ingram 4.9 ypa, long 34 yards
      Sproles 4.2 ypa, long 38 yards

      I’m concerned about his age but all we can do is trust Chip’s excitement here

    • Anders

      I think you way overvalue a 5th round pick.

      • Iskar36

        Certainly a possibility, but getting an ok backup, especially at RB in the 5th round is not unreasonable. A rookie backup should be around 3-4 years whereas Sproles will be here 1.

        Just to give you a possible scenario, De’Anthony Thomas is considered a 5th round possibility. Would he not fill a similar role as Sproles, but have the potential to grow with the team? Granted, I’m not obsessed with getting DAT, but he is an easy example to point to.

        • anon

          If we can’t get him to re-sign after the season it says as much about us as him. Sproles is perfect for this offense and he’s the best even if he’s lost a half step. We don’t need him to always play RB he’ll do all that stuff desean was doing and kr/pr.

          • Iskar36

            Father Time eventually catches up to every player. Sproles in his prime was perfect for this offense, but at 31, he is past his prime. It remains to be seen how far past his prime we are, but his statistics certainly suggest he is no longer the same RB that was perfect for this offense. In a years time, he will be older and slower. Him not resigning here could mean nothing about the team and it could mean everything about him just simply getting old.

        • Anders

          The odds are that even if we pick Thomas in the 5th that he is out before 2015.

      • ztom6

        In a vacuum yes, but in a deep draft, having more picks means more chances to hit on good players. I see his point.

        • Anders

          I want to trade back this year, but no matter how deep a draft is, 5th round picks have super low hit rate. Most 5th round picks do not even make it 1 season.

          • Sb2bowl

            I’ve heard the chance of a 5th round pick even being a “quality backup” is somewhere around 10%

    • Poppi

      i hope everything we do is part of a 2-5 year plan – SuperBowl ambitions year after year like the Pats, but not this year. We are still building a base defense and developing a young QB with an offense that really hasn’t developed an expansion scheme. I think the main reason we get Sproles is to give some relief to Shady to extend his career and possibly help our below average return game.

      • Maggie

        Exactly, People were clamoring for a dependable backup for Shady. Well now they have one.

        • RIP illa

          I believe those people were clamp ring for an actual RB that can run the ball primarily. That’s not or has not been Sproles!

          • anon

            yeah he;s a guy that can catch out of the backfield, polk’s role is safe

  • shah8

    I thought pretty immediately that he’s there to mostly replace Avant.

    I’m not really happy with this move, effectively because of Foles. Darren Sproles at this point in his career cannot really make anything happen. That means that passes behind the line of scrimmage, like Ponder to Harvin in ’12 aren’t likely to be productive. At the same time, he’s a smaller target who will most likely be trying to be forgotten about by the defense. The Foles in my imagination isn’t a Foles that can quickly make his reads and then find Sproles, passes on time, and ball’s zipped/placed appropriately. And you will *have* to make good passes wrt Sproles.

    In the end, it just feels like they’re trying to put as many targets as possible to help Foles, and I’m afraid of a reprise of Ronnie Brown and Steve Smith in ’11. I’m far more interested in real defensive aquisitions or who the backup QB will be, since I strongly doubt people are comfortable with Barkley.

    • anon

      Have you seen his stats over the last couple of years? You act like that 5th round was going to net us the next…darren sproles. He’s 31 but he’s not marshawn lynch he plays in space and D has to respect him.

      • shah8

        Understood, and yes, I’ve seen his stats. I’ve also seen him play, @Phi, Car, @Sea*2 last year. I really don’t think this is a good idea. His real contributions happened with a Saints team that mostly pushed defenses deep with a fairly vertical game. He was the primary horizontal stretcher. On the two years recent Saints team that has shallowed up a lot, well done zone concepts tend to swallow him, especially if the pass rush is getting home.

        I’m being clear here. Sproles has to have help getting open and doing the best at what he does. He can’t just take a ball whereever and make something out of nothing like, oh, Golden Tate (lower end) or Percy Harvin (higher end), so really safe passes like those thrown behind the line of scrimmage aren’t going to work against teams that close in and tackle well. On the flip side, he tends to catch his ball in voided areas past the line of scrimmage (screens are better to Shady or DJax, maybe Maclin). Even in those voids, there’s someone closing in. That ball had better be there and better be right if you expect him to do anything but get hit. There is a real danger that we’re basically going to play him like we do Avant, even though that would also be a harder to throw to Avant, given the size. We have a very full WR ecology here, and there’s not exactly a big niche for Sproles that others can’t do as well or better.

        • anon

          As effective as Djax was out of the backfield last year i think sproles will be even better. Obviously it’s great against man when he’s against a LB. But he can also play deception role freeing up people over the top. Also Kr/Pr.

          I almost think there’s too many weapons on offense now. It’s about to be Madden ’15.

    • A_T_G

      I am, once again, very grateful that the Foles in your imagination doesn’t play for the Eagles.

  • Iskar36

    In terms of Carroll, does he have any experience playing in the slot? Boykin is a great slot CB, but even with Jenkins here, it seems we are thin at that position. If Boykin gets hurt, Jenkins can take on some of that role, but to do it full time would mean we need someone to fill in his safety role, so I am hoping we can add another CB who can play the slot and backup Boykin. I don’t know if Carroll has experience there or not.

    • Media Mike

      An injury to Boykins means that Jenkins goes into the slot.

      • Iskar36

        So who plays safety then? Doing that weakens two positions, one of which is already not exactly a strength…

        • Media Mike

          Great question, but one of the things highlighted about Jenkins by writers was that he can also play the slot.

          • Iskar36

            Agreed (mentioned it above in the first post in fact). I think Jenkins will help out a lot in the slot, but he was obviously signed to be the starting safety, not the slot corner. I think Jenkins’ ability to line up in the slot allows the defense to be more versatile and gives the team a little more flexibility with Boykin (sending him on a blitz for example wouldn’t mean forcing a safety to cover the TE/slot WR which was an obvious mismatch last year), but I still think you would want to have a backup for Boykin so that if he went down, you wouldn’t have to rearrange the defense.

    • Corry

      according to the guys over at Birds 24/7, Carroll is exclusively an outside corner.

      • Iskar36

        Thanks

  • Jason

    I think Sproles is the first really questionable approach since Howie/Chip took the reins. I loved watching Sproles for two years, he almost singlehandedly got me to the championship of my PPR fantasy league in 2011. Now it feels as if he was a shiny object Kelly could not resist, going for a name of the recent past than ascending prospect for the future.

    So much of the positive analysis of Sproles in Kelly’s offense hinges on him as a receiver in space while playing as a RB. The problem is he can’t run the ball any more and therefore he’s not a plausible threat to do. Shady is great b/c he is threat as both. Line up in nickle against Shady and you can run, go heavy on D and have Shady matched up in space against an LB.

    When Sproles is in as single back, a defense should go nickel w/o hesitation to match him up with a DB in coverage. If he’s lined up in slot against a DB with Shady in backfield, is Sproles that much more effective than a young slot WR we could be drafting? I’m skeptical.

    I really wanted them to get Brett Smith QB out of Wyoming with one of those 5th round picks. Eagles were reportedly interested in him at his pro day today. They forfeited a 5th round pick in a deep draft for a declining player whose production could be replaced or surpassed with talent on the roster (Ertz, Maclin) or to be drafted.

    • shah8

      While there is a lot of fascination with Brett Smith right now, he’s a little on the short side, and very much a developmental prospect like Josh Portis or Tyler Bray or someone like that. Most of these guys usually don’t turn out to be anything. Ultimately, I have the sneaking suspicion that Logan Thomas will be a more desired commodity than Smith as a developmental prospect. Strongly suspect that Thomas can be fixed to TJax level.

      Brett Smith is short enough that he really has to be an incredible prospect otherwise to be a serious prospect. He’s fast and has a live arm, but that does look to be it. Why would you pick Smith over Boyd, the usual reason besides?

      • Jason

        Because Boyd, like Thomas, had an unimpressive season and were both loathed at Senior Bowl practices by the scouts.

        Besides, Shah, I thought you liked short quarterbacks.

      • Maggie

        Short? Two different reports say he is 6’3″. Short?

        • shah8

          6’1.5″

    • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

      the dude can still run the ball. plus he can pass protect. yes even at his size. infact pound for pound he might be the strongest player in the NFL.

  • Vick or Nick

    I have been open in my desire for the Eagles to draft D’Anthony Thomas out of Oregon.

    I think Chip missed having a piece like that to move around and get big plays.

    I think with this move, just adds another playmaker to the offense.

    The more the better.

    I didn’t particularly enjoy giving up a 5th rounder for him.

    I hope Eagles can pick up some draft picks some how.

    • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

      id still be open to drafting de’anthony. but not untill the 3rd at the latest. or if we trade into teh 2nd without giving up any more picks, IE trading graham or someone.

      • Insomniac

        He’s barely worth a 5th if he can’t prove that he’s faster than Damaris.

        • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

          Watch the game tape, the kid is WAY faster then damaris. lol

          • Insomniac

            No thanks. Watched his tape, would take Dri Archer over him any day.

          • anon

            why can Dri Archer catch? He’s fast but is he quick? Can he run routes?

          • D3FB

            Yes. I’ve watched extensive film on him. They used him more as a back this year but his junior year he was used both as a back and as a receiver. Dri is the better running back and if you get him the ball as the receiver can be a RAC nightmare.

          • Insomniac

            He can catch because he has arms and hands if that was a serious question.

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            Dri archer has the speed AND the quickness. like for real, he is shifty like lesean and fast like desean. But DAT is better as a WR.

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            Heyn i like dri too!!! one or the other!! Might get a better deal with DAT tho.. since he will go later i think… just because of thier 40 times. but Dri is also a very shifty runner, kinda like lesean, but he also got that speed!!! but he also has tiny hands. wonder how chip would feel about that? plus DAt might be the better WR between them.

          • Insomniac

            DAT has even smaller hands though.

            Dri has 31″ arms and 8″ 7/8 hands
            DAT has 29″ 7/8 and 8″ 1/8 hands

            Yea I agree. DAT looks smoother catching the ball but Dri has another gear. You can coach hands but you can’t coach world class speed.

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            just get one and im good lol..

          • Vick or Nick

            Maybe there is a conspiracy going on…

            Maybe DAT ran SLOW on PURPOSE so Eagles can draft him later. Maybe DAT and Chip have a deal.

            Maybe…

            Okay, prb not. But DAT would be such an awesome fit. He’s def a weapon, explosive, and knows Chip’s offense. It would be a seamless addition.

            I hope we can bring in DAT and Colt Lyeria. Both have issues (40 time vs character concerns) that could drop them.

          • Sb2bowl

            Or, maybe he just had a bad combine. I’ve heard McCoy state that he was nervous at the combine (reports were that he was “sick” leading up to that week) and that’s why he didn’t run well– he doesn’t have “top end speed” but sometimes nerves get in the way and things at the combine don’t work out

          • D3FB

            He’s not going til the fourth at the earliest. He is a luxury player not a necessity. He was hurt this year and didn’t shine at the combine like he should have.

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            luxery? he is a weapon. chip is all about having weapons.

          • D3FB

            But he’s not a guy who is going to be on the field every play. You’re going to design 10-15 plays a game to get the ball in his hands but he’s not an everydown back, he’s not an everydown receiver.

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            So? thats what our offense is about rotating in fresh weapons while we tire the ish out the defense. chip wants the weapons fully stocked.

          • D3FB

            I’m not saying he doesn’t have value to the Eagles. I’m saying you’re massively overestimating where he will be drafted.

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            i dont think so. he could go as early as the 2nd round. he is a dynamic talent, and his 40 at the combine doesnt match up to his field speed and that clear.

          • Insomniac

            He’s dynamic but there’s something about small players that barely weigh 180 lbs with an injury history that sinks their draft stock (DAT included). I’d be shocked if Dri was drafted that early.

          • ajbduck

            Injury history?! His ankle injury this season was the first injury that forced him to miss a game in his entire career… including high school. He’s not injury prone. Whatever supports your argument, right?

          • Insomniac

            Using semantics to argue with semantics…yea not going to bother seeing that you’re probably a Ducks fan before Eagles.

          • ajbduck

            Nope… Born and raised an Eagles fan that also happens to be an Oregon grad. Point is… Contrary to what you wrote, DAT is not “injury prone”. You pulled yhat out of thin air. I called your bluff… Get over it.

          • ajbduck

            Absolutely agree with this… DAT is a nightmare in the open field. 40 times be damned. He’s a big play waiting to happen if he gets the ball in space.

          • Neil

            D3FB, when do you think Dri Archer will go?

          • D3FB

            Back half of the third or in the fourth.

  • teltschikfakeout88

    Tommy….How about Steve Smith on a one year deal…..guy is tough as nails and physical…..do you think he can play some slot at this point and be a good blocker like Avant was last year???

    • anon

      Other teams way to WR needy.

    • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

      steve and desean would be fun to watch!!! but on the other hand steve smith is a handful and could be a bad example to desean in some ways. good in other ways tho… but since we got my dude sproles, id much rather draft a young stud WR.

  • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

    Thank you god!!! Been wanting sproles in green rocking wings since i 1st seen him during a preseason game during his rookie year.. im sooooo happy!!!

    • A_T_G

      It shows.

  • Insomniac

    Draft Dri Archer in the 5th and let him and Sproles loose.

    • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

      i dont think Dri makes it to the 5th..

      • Neil

        1st?

        • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

          no he wont be drafted in the 1st

          • Neil

            2nd?

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            slight chance. 3rd the most likely, 4th next then 5th… then 6th and then 7th… lol

          • Insomniac

            Try 4th as a little reach but 5th would be fair value.

      • Insomniac

        He’s a specialist. The only specialist that got drafted high in the 2nd was Dexter McCluster. Dude’s a free agent and didn’t really live up to his draft status. Plus this draft really deep in talent.

        • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

          tavon austin.

          • Insomniac

            Austin is a receiver first and very durable/productive in college for his size. Dri/DAT isn’t as tough as Austin and not nearly as productive.

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            actually he has been as nearly as productive, every year except this past year DAT has had well over 1000 yards between just rec and rushing. not to mention scored more TDs then tavon ever has during his 1st and 2nd years at oregon. and thats playing as a role player and not a starter.

  • Poppi

    Sproles is here for one year to see if he can be the return guy we need, play some slot and spell Shady once in awhile – he will have to compete for playing time especially if we draft a great return guy. No SB this year – we are still getting established for the long run new defensive scheme, young QB. Think build a great defense and special teams for a run over 5-6 years, Lurie and Kelly want to be the next Pats, not the next Giants.

    • anon

      Even pats have to pay players. Just gave Revis $12mm, they have no WRs, Wilfork walked, once Brady’s gone it’s over for them. The profit from being in a sorry division, they aren’t better than the Broncos which is the real issue.

  • DamonL86

    Has Sproles said anything since the trade? I know he wanted to be released i haven’t seen anything from him.

  • Cafone

    I’d like to throw something out there: I see many people commenting with the assumption that the Eagles are still several years away from a Superbowl. I don’t understand this mindset at all.

    The Eagles just made the playoffs with a 1st year head coach with an almost entirely new staff, a complete system change on both sides of the ball, and sophomore QB. We have star players like LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson in the prime of their careers and a host of other weapons at the skill positions. Our offensive line is very solid, probably one of the top five in the league. The Eagles have a great offense, potentially one of the best in the NFL.

    On defense I believe another year in this system is going to make a tremendous difference. They are not a top defense, but they can be decent and decent may be good enough when you have an offense as good as the Eagles’. We are the clear favorite to win our division and once you get to the playoffs anything can happen.

    The Eagles may be building for the future, but the future started last year. Maybe some of you are cautious about getting your hopes up, but this is a team with the potential to be one the best Eagles teams ever.

    • ICDogg

      Not necessarily several years off. Just not likely to get there this year.

      • Cafone

        Nobody is likely to get there. Even the Seahawks are currently at 9-2 odds to win it.

        The Eagles are 25-1. I recommend everyone put a couple grand on that and buy themselves a new car next February.

    • pkeagle

      I have one word for you – injuries
      Last season, the OL (save for a couple of snaps by Barbre in relief of Peters) played every game, the WRs and RBs were remarkably healthy and so was the D for the most part.

      The law of averages would lead me to believe that we won’t get away with it again which is where our lack of depth esp on D will probably catch up and stop us short of a SB run.

      With that being said, I still think we’ll win the division

      • Cafone

        Everyone deals with injuries… I thought the injury to Maclin last year was a crushing blow and the Eagles got through it with a guy in Riley Cooper that was mostly an afterthought in his first three seasons. And safety is universally acknowledged as our weakest position on defense and Wolff missed around 4-5 games last year.

        And maybe the law of averages won’t catch up to us. Maybe there’s something to this sports science stuff and the Eagles will remain comparatively healthy and injury free.

        Yeah if McCoy or Foles goes down we’re probably screwed, but that’s kind of the same for everyone. Not many teams can lose their QB and/or best player and not have it affect them.

    • sprawl

      Really excited to see how FA and the draft ultimately play out this year.

      Have to remember that last year Kelly had to basically evaluate his entire roster as if they were FAs with respect to how they would fit into the changes on offense and defense.

      When they first got to Philly the only thing that the coaching staff knew about ANYONE on the roster was from watching tape… there was probably a lot of leftover info on the guys from Howie and personnel guys but that wasn’t a huge help switching from 4-3 to 3-4 on defense and totally changing the offense.

    • ICDogg

      The changes started just over a year ago. We are into year two of a rebuild. Let’s not get carried away. Sure, we’ll win the division, because the division has 3 average to sub-par teams.

      Anything can happen, sure, but this is a team not yet built to beat the best teams very often. Success in year 1 is very heartening but this is still a building year.

      • Tumtum

        I look at this year as a year to win. If you are going to win the division then do something to win in the playoffs. Maclin and sproles are certainly those types of moves. Once your ticket is punched, you have a real shot. Keep building but win now!

        • ICDogg

          You always want to try to win. But when Chip and Howie and company planned this rebuild, they did not plan to have this team become a top Super Bowl contender in the 2nd year. And they are rolling with the so-far successful plan that has gotten them as far as they have in year 1. They’re not changing their strategy just because they did possibly better than expected in the first year. Nor should they.

          • Cafone

            I don’t think you know that. Maybe part of the reason Roseman was able to lure Kelly to Philadelphia was because he convinced him he had a roster ready to win now.

            You have to admit that trading a 5th round pick for a 31 year old RB/WR with one year left on his deal is not a “build for the future” kind of move. They may not have mortgaged the future, but it doesn’t seem like a win 2 or 3 years down the road move.

          • ICDogg

            Ready to win now? When they were 4-12? When they were changing the entire offense and defensive schemes? I don’t think so.

            Not every move the Eagles are going to make is a “build for the future” move. Sproles is not costing the Eagles a lot either in trade or salary. He can help our kick returns and provide another dangerous weapon to mix into the offense. But bringing him in is not going to do anything to slow the development of the rebuilding team.

          • austinfan

            They had a weak schedule last year, the toughest games were mostly the first four, when they were unprepared but also overmatched, the rest of the season how many good teams did they play?

            So think of last year’s team as an 8-8 team that got an easy schedule, so this year it’s a tougher schedule, they could improve and only go 9-7.

            The key to building a team is not to read your glowing press reports, but focus on the task at hand, building up your talent base for a long run.

          • Cafone

            Well, they did draft Earl Wolff in the 5th round last year. If the Eagles had traded that pick for a one year player one could make the argument that it would have slowed the future rebuilding process.

          • ICDogg

            There’s always a balance. You’re never completely building just for the future, and rarely completely putting together a team for the immediate year without regard to the future.

      • Ben Hert

        I dunno, I think Cafone makes a great point about getting to the playoffs. Anything can happen once you’re there. The Giants past two Superbowl runs, as well as the Ravens two years ago are prime examples. They were NOT the best team in the NFL, yet they still managed to win a Superbowl. It is possible, and I think to blow off this year in order to try and be stronger the next year is a bad idea. You never know what you’re going to have in two years, but you sure as hell know what you have going into this year, so why not try and win a SB? And I think that’s the exact mindset Chip has each and every year.

        • ICDogg

          No one is saying to blow off a year. It’s just a matter of where to set priorities and targets.

  • Maggie

    If the Eagles should draft Brett Smith, from Wyoming, he should be pefrect tp play with Sproles. At least after reading SBN’s analysis of him. And the Eagles QB coach is looking at him.

  • ICDogg

    New guy —> @DarrenSproles: I'm excited about being a part of the @Eagles organization! Thank you New Orleans for 3 great years!— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) March 13, 2014

  • ACViking

    T-Law:

    What kind of blocker is Sproles? Not just on blitz pick-up in the backfield, but also on the edge — where Avant worked this past season?

    • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

      He is a good pass protector. Hes an all around complete RB. He is like a mini brian westbrook.

      • TheRogerPodacter

        sure sure, pile on with the short jokes. : P

        • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

          thats not a joke, im dead serious.

          • TheRogerPodacter

            lol i’m just messing around. Westbrook himself was fairly small and you are calling Sproles a “mini” Westbrook. In my head, that would make Sproles around 3 feet tall. hahaha
            i know thats not what you meant, i was goofin. : P

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            lol.. westbrook was like 5’9 200 pounds, sproles is 5’6 180-90 pounds..

      • Anders

        Brian Westbrook, McNabb and Weaver would all have been deadly with Kelly as coach.

        • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

          Weaver!!! what a great player, so sad his career ended so quick here. I really think if he stayed healthy that whole year we would have been in the super bowl over the packers. smh

  • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

    Oh and guys, sproles has a bad stuttering problem so dont make fun of him.. .. and thats a reason we might not hear too many interviews with him..

  • Scott J

    Once again it’s opposite day at Novacare. First we’re told Chip’s offense needs a mobile QB – so he drafts Matt Barkley and makes Foles his starter who has his 40 timed with a calendar. Then Chip tells us how he likes long players because big guys beat up smaller guys – so he trades for a 5’6″ RB.

    • Patrick

      I think the long/big thing is on defense. Chip preferred a mobile, small OL and likes having some smaller, quick weapons on the skill positions. On offense, Chip Kelly is about speed and athleticism, but unfortunately Jason Peters is pretty unique.

      • D3FB

        Our offensive line isn’t small. They are all athletic but with the exception of Kelce I wouldn’t classify any of them as small.

        • Patrick

          Small/athletic it doesn’t really matter. They could all put on 20 pounds of muscle, I doubt many of the 49ers linemen could do that with their power scheme. They could probably all loose some weight and become more athletic, i doubt that Kelce could do that.

          • D3FB

            1. The difference between our linemen and the linemen of power based schemes may be 20lbs, but it sure as hell isn’t all muscle.

            2. I’m unclear who you are referring to when you talk about losing weight to become more athletic? Our linemen? Mathis, Herremans, and Johnson? If you can show me where you can take weight off their bodies by all means go ahead.

            3. Force = Mass x aceleration. The biggest man doesn’t win, leverage, technique all play much bigger roles.

            4. Look at the averages

            http://espn.go.com/nfl/draft2013/story/_/id/8953829/2013-nfl-draft-five-year-nfl-combine-averages

          • Mitchell

            You think some in can put on a whole 20 pounds of muscle just like that!?! At their size already they would be some of yh strongest men on the planet.

          • Tumtum

            Think? Ney. Demand!

  • Vick or Nick

    Now the question becomes will any team be willing to part with a 4th at best, 5th at worst (heck maybe 6th) for Brandon Graham.

  • Flyineagle45

    MONEY BALL!!!!!

  • Flyineagle45

    in all seriousness why aren’t we talking to cromartie or browner…. i still think we should try to trade for Dion Jordan as well.

    • D3FB

      Both turn 30 before the season. Cromartie is probably looking for a big payday (he’s got ALOT of mouths to feed), and Browner will be suspended for four games, and is largely viewed as a byproduct of the Seattle D and Pete Carrol.
      I think almost everybody would be ecstatic to trade for Dion Jordan but in all likelyhood that probably isn’t going to happen. Fun offseason speculation but I wouldn’t put much weight in it.

      • Tumtum

        I thought Sea def was predicated on press man.?

        • D3FB

          It’s a press man cover 3 hybrid. It’s like trying to copy Bellicheck, theoretically you could do it, but it’s best to not try.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Say that 3Xs quickly, “press man cover 3 hybrid”.

    • Anders

      Neither fits the Eagles mantra of players who will by in and not get in trouble.
      The Eagles have already contracted the Fins and Jordan is not getting traded

    • Dominik

      If Browner signs with the Patriots and plays as well as I think he can, we all will get a look into future (I hope, at least ;)). Belichick and Brady are so strong and have created such a discipline in the locker room, they can sign anyone. Tommy pointed that out last year in a post. And they sure take advantage of that (Talib as the latest example).

      Maybe Kelly and Foles will come to that point in three or four years. It sure is a competitive advantage.

  • Dragon_Eagle

    Not that excited by the Sproles trade. Would not shock me if he doesn’t make the final 53 come late August.

    • korman

      Based off what exactly?

      • Dragon_Eagle

        Declining player. One-year contract. More expensive than other RBs. Might still add another RB in the draft. He may be the odd man out.

        • anon

          I don’t know if he’s declining or if the Saints just did different things in 2013. He still had 1,000 all purpose yds (800 total rec/rush yds) and 4 tds. In 2012 he had 10tds 1200 total yards (same in 2011). Prior to going to Nola he had steady 1,000 yrs as a return man.

          Frankly i expect him to be the no. 3/4 option behind shady/djax/ertz but expect that he’ll return kicks as well. Not bad value for 4.25mm.

          • Cafone

            This.

            New Orleans really spreads the ball around. If you play fantasy you know the only good bets on the Saints are Brees and Graham.

        • korman

          Well, he is declining and has one year left on his deal. You’re right on that. But it would make little sense to trade a draft pick for him if there was a legitimate chance of him not making the roster.

          The FO wouldn’t throw away a pick for a player who doesn’t have a guaranteed shot to make the team. He’ll be there.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          Most likely won’t be listed as a RB on the depth chart & even if he is, he won’t necessarily be a “running” back. Either way, it doesn’t matter. He’s here to be another piece that needs to be accounted for when he steps on the field or the opposing D stands to be caught mismatched. You won’t see him as the banger back off the bench to spell Shady on rush downs. He’ll merely line up all over, including the backfield, but as a pass catcher first and foremost. He’s a piece, not the main feature, so age isn’t as much of a concern considering you gave up a 5th. Not a 1st, 2nd or 3rd…a 5th. If he’s going to supplant anyone from the roster, it’s most likely Damaris Johnson, possibly even Brown with Polk taking over as the backup behind Shady & Sproules listed as the 3rd, where he’d only be used to rush in certain packages, or out of need.

          Won’t be on the 53 man roster?? U kidding me! I’m not normally brash, but get your head out of your keister brother…lol.

    • Poppi

      Agree with Dragon Eagle – he does seem older and redundant, maybe the KO return guy unless we draft a good one. Also could be trade bait for real defensive help or more draft picks – you never know what will happen after the draft and before camp

      • Tumtum

        Redundant in what way?

        • Poppi

          i meant redundant to Shady. I understand he could be supplemental, but I am hoping he can still really motor in the return game – we need it.

      • korman

        Sure, that’s why a team trades for a player. To immediately trade him off because they don’t think he’s useful.

        • Insomniac

          Howie is watching too much NBA..particularly the Sixers.

    • A_T_G

      On the other hand, this helps put the trade in perspective. Using a 5th rounder on a guy who doesn’t make the final roster is a fairly common occurrence. What Sproles gives up in longevity he certainly makes up in the probability of contributing.

  • Cliff

    Deadspin put up a good post about how Sproles impacts the offense. It has a pretty chart too.

    http://regressing.deadspin.com/a-quick-note-on-darren-sproles-to-the-eagles-1542974973

    • shah8

      **snort**

      man, next season will be even worse when it comes to bad analysis.

    • Anders

      I think Sproles replaces Avant in the slot

  • Mitchell

    I could see drafting Dontae Johnson from NC state. Can add depth to both corner and safety. He was also a teammate of Wolfe.

    • Anders

      Jimmie Ward is also a CB/S hybrid who plays safety, Terrance Brooks of FSU can play both slot CB, FS and SS (he might be my 2nd favorite S after Dix now)

      • Mitchell

        Ward is just too small. He’s like 8 inches shorter than Johnson. He’s gonna get hammered out there

        • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

          ??? Ward is 5’10. Joyner is the smaller safety, I think 5’8?
          I’d still take either one over some of the overrated “big” guys (pryor and buchannon)

          • Mitchell

            Yep thinking of Joyner my bad.

      • Mitchell

        Sorry thinking of Joyner.

  • Insomniac

    Who do you guys think will be in the basement this year in the NFC East? My gut tells me the Gnats but the Cowgirls are right there with them.

    • Poppi

      I would have said the NYG, then Skins – is RG3 going to rebound? if not they are DOA. Hoping for 4 division wins

    • korman

      Ugh, team name rival puns

    • Anders

      I think it will be
      Eagles
      Redskins (healthy RG3 and Reed will be very scary)
      Giants
      Cowboys (they have zero defense and only 2 players on offense)

    • A Roy

      could be a three way tie at 6-10.

  • Mitchell

    I’m really concerned about only having 6 picks this draft in particular. The upcoming draft has too much talent to dip only 6 times. If we hit on all 6 picks it’s ok but we probably won’t, so in summation, HOWIE GET US MORE PICKS!!!!!

  • ICDogg

    I have a new favorite Eagle: RT:@BleedingGreen Bryan Braman on Special Teams Mentality: "Kill, Maim, and Destroy." http://t.co/3bzcpJ0bl6— FakeWIPCaller (@FakeWIPCaller) March 14, 2014

    • TheRogerPodacter

      I’m hoping he can live up to the standards i’ve set since seeing Jason Short play STs for us. god i loved watching that guy play.

  • Mitchell

    I think something is brewing. Both Mike Kaye and BLG are saying “stay tuned.” Trade may be going down? I dnt think we would give up a 5th leaving us with only 6 draft picks and leave it at that. The Eagles haven’t had less than 8 in how many years?

    • korman

      Either that or they got a new KICKER$$$$$

    • Anders

      I think the stay tuned was regarding the Sproles deal

      • Mitchell

        It was after we got sproles.

  • Insomniac

    All things considered so far, it seems like we’re poised to draft an OLB in the first two rounds.

  • austinfan

    The Eagles have improved their defense, though mostly by improving depth.

    IF a starting CB gets injured, Carroll, not Carmichael comes in.
    Barman has the skills to actually contribute on the field, unlike Matthews.
    Jenkins can do a lot more than Allen.
    Maragos has a shot at contributing off the bench, watching Colt play was painful.
    Incremental improvements, and more to be done, but they’ve got bodies to fill out packages as well as play STs.

    • ICDogg

      OK, Jenkins is (we certainly hope) better than Chung, and we still have Wolff, but are any of our other safeties better at playing safety than Allen? I’m not so sure.

      So until they do something there I don’t see how we can really say the defense has improved. Though I think the special teams should be better.

      • korman

        I can’t say I think it improved either, but the depth did.

        • Cafone

          I think it’s the exact opposite… see above post. We have much stronger starters, but no depth at all.

          • korman

            Caroll is better than any backup corner the team had last season. Braman is a better backup LB than Casey.

      • Flyin

        I sense the upgrade at safety is not safe to make a conclusion at this point.

      • Cafone

        At this point, with Allen unsigned, I think you have to look at Jenkins as a replacement for Allen, not Chung. And according to his post last week, Tommy thinks Jenkins is much better than Allen.

        So, the defense has improved, but we still have a problem with depth at safety.

        Last year: Allen/Chung w/ Wolff as depth
        This year: Jenkins/Wolff w/ ??? for depth

      • Anders

        I say Jenkins/Wolff is a big upgrade over Allen/Chung.

        • eagleyankfan

          I think Starsky/Hutch(the original men) are an upgrade over Allen/Chung. I don’t get the love for Allen at all. What has he shown? That he can make a play or 2? So can a blind squirrel. Has the Allen lovers noticed no other NFL team is knocking on his door? There’s a reason for that. And – let’s stop putting up stats about how each played last year. Jenkins hasn’t played for the Eagles yes. In 2015 — compare what Jenks does here and what Allen did last year. Then it’s a fair comparison.

          • Anders

            I would bring Allen back. He was a solid safety last year who at a minimum would provide reliable depth.

          • A Roy

            Marginally adequate backup. Can we find that in an UFA come the draft?

          • Anders

            No, Allen was a reliable tackler last year, something majority of safeties aint.

        • A Roy

          Understatement. Bert & Ernie would be a big upgrade. Neither of them would take out teammates trying to tackle..

    • Anders

      I think Carroll beats out Williams during TC, but Williams off the bench is still a huge upgrade over Carmichael

  • Flyin

    Hi Tommy,
    It’s always awesome when you acknowledge when you don’t have the pulse on all the Eagles moves.

    Hope you’re schedule allows you to respond more as the draft approaches.

  • bsuperfi

    The sproles trade actually reminds me a bit of the move for Malcolm Jenkins. With Jenkins in board, we don’t need to reach for a safety in the draft or blow picks to move up for one.

    On offense, I could see chip wanting more horizontal field stretchers and a more juice in the slot. At his best, sproles catches the screens and short stuff and goes. Maclins another candidate to stretch the field horizontally because of his previous success in the screen game. It was fun to see celek running down the sidewalk, but you’d rather its a more dynamic player. Maybe chip thinks a more dynamic player in this capacity is critical.

    This trade means that the team doesn’t need to hamstring itself in the draft if the players they want for this role aren’t available.

  • http://twitter.com/ezgreene ezgreene

    Anyone familiar with Demarcus Lawrence? Long, athletic and potential laden?

    • Anders

      I really like him

  • Insomniac

    Pro day tidbits or quotes to be exact.

    “- Senior WR Kevin Norwood had a productive senior season and kept that momentum going at the NFL Combine, running a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash, and again on Wednesday. He rested on his numbers from last month, but looked excellent in positional drills, plucking the ball away from his frame and looking smooth in his cuts. Norwood caught passes from senior QB A.J. McCarron who threw for scouts and looked “good, but not great” according to one scout – which might sum up how many around the league feel about his prospects at the next level.

    - Junior OLB Adrian Hubbard, who was seen chatting with Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly, also stood on his numbers from the NFL Combine, but he went through positional drills and helped himself. After an average performance at the Senior Bowl and Combine, he needed a strong pro day for his final audition in front of NFL teams.”

    “De’Anthony Thomas put to bed any concerns about his straight-line speed during Oregon’s Pro Day, clocking in at 4.38 and 4.34 according to the hand-held times of one long-time league scout attending Thursday’s workout.”

    Seeing how Chip/Howie/whoever wants size, Hubbard isn’t really a surprise. It seems like they don’t mind projects if the Braman signing is any indication.

    Norwood sounds like he could become a good #3 receiver. A more fluid than fast possession receiver with decent size and polish.

    No surprises from DAT.

    • Anders

      Hubbard is a real possibility for us in the 3rd. He would be a backup to Barwin tho.
      I love Norwood, really underrated WR.
      4.38 sounds more right for how DAT plays that the 4.5 he tested at the combine.

      • eagleyankfan

        How big is Norwood? I don’t follow college much…

        • Anders

          6’2 198

          • eagleyankfan

            Damn. Thanks.

  • eagleyankfan

    Yeah T-Law — you were kind of snide about not getting Sproles. He is, maybe was, an incredible dynamic player on the wrong side of 30 with only 1 year left. Sometimes though, guys with 1 year left on contracts play their hearts out. BUT if we’re still in building mode — this signing doesn’t make sense.

    • Anders

      We wasnt in building mode last year according to Kelly.

      • eagleyankfan

        Offense I agree. Defense, I think he’s lying :).

  • CrackSammich

    I think that if we don’t draft someone in the DAT mold, you’ll see Sproles get a contract extension in camp (assuming he’s still got it). No reason to pay him before he shows that he can still play, and no reason to pay him before you’ve found his replacement.