Free Agency Perspective

Posted: March 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 99 Comments »

A few of you have talked about me comparing the free agent targets to some existing Eagles to provide some perspective on the situation. That’s an excellent idea so let’s do it.

For one of the Saints games I studied to see Malcolm Jenkins I used the wildcard game against the Eagles. That allowed me to see Jenkins and Nate Allen. There is no question that Jenkins is substantially better. And so are TJ Ward and Jairus Byrd, as you would expect. Allen does some things well, but his tackling is mediocre. If he were a top ballhawk, this might be okay. Allen does have good ball skills, but lacks the instincts and athleticism to make many plays in the passing game.

The x-factor with Allen is whether he’ll get better in 2014. Some of you will dismiss this idea in about .1 seconds. I get that mentality, but you have to remember that Allen made big strides from 2012 to 2013. His tackling went from very bad to mediocre. That is a jump. He was benched late in 2012 and I’m sure confidence had to be an issue for him heading into last season.

Allen finished 3rd on the team in tackles in 2013. He had an INT, a sack, a FF, 6 PDs and 2 TFLs. Those aren’t impressive numbers, but they are a step up from 2012, when he barely made any plays.

I think bringing Nate back makes sense and would be a smart move. Sign him for a couple of years and let him fight for a spot. Hopefully he’d be competing with Earl Wolff, a free agent signing and a draft pick. That’s the kind of competition the Eagles need at Safety. We’re not talking about giving Nate much money. If he is better and earns playing time, great. If not, cut him.

I have not watched Wolff since the season ended. He showed enough to make me think he can be a solid starter in the future, but you certainly can’t count on him being a starter right away. He deserves a chance to fight for a spot, but isn’t going to be given a job.

Let me be clear in reference to the other free agents I reviewed. Those guys would all be major upgrades for the Eagles. The Safety position last year was the weakest part of the whole team. The reason I didn’t write “the Eagles must get these guys!!!” is because I don’t know if they will be worth handing huge deals to. The Eagles could go sign both of them and instantly have a terrific pair of Safeties, but they’d also have about $20M invested in that position. Most teams don’t want to spend that kind of money at Safety.

The reason I like Malcolm Jenkins as a target for the Eagles is because of fit and value. Jenkins isn’t the kind of playmaker that Byrd is or the kind of hitter that Ward is. Teams looking for those type of Safeties will focus on Byrd and Ward. The Eagles may want a ballhawk. If so, Byrd will be the top target. Jenkins isn’t the same level of player, but he also won’t cost as much money. His skill set fits what the Eagles want to do on defense. Many free agent busts are due to players not fitting the new scheme.

The goal is for the Eagles to get better at Safety. It would be great to land an impact type of player, but it isn’t as simple as paying Byrd big money and instantly getting great play. Nnamdi Asomugha didn’t solve our CB problems did he? Look at the Panthers and S Mike Mitchell. He was an afterthought last March, but became a terrific player for Carolina. He fit their scheme and played the best football of his life. It also helped quite a bit that he had the right players around him.

These are all talented players who could help the defense. I prefer to focus on value since the top guys aren’t perfect fits, but the Eagles might covet Byrd’s ball skills and feel that he’s the kind of guy you adjust to. I have my doubts on Ward as a target, but I could be dead wrong. Starting next week, we’ll hopefully get some clues as to what the Eagles want at Safety. I won’t be bothered if they go for any of them.

_


  • DF587

    Tommy,
    I am onboard with bringing back Nate and really like the versatility Jenkins brings to the defense. He can play the slot opposite Boykin in 4 WR sets and still gives us 3 safeties on the field. I don’t see Pryor or Ha-Ha making it to 22. Do you see Ward, Buchanon or Dion Bailey making to 54? If so, which do you prefer?

    • Baloophi

      I’m not Tommy, but I’ll throw some spaghetti at the safety wall here. I think it IS possible that both Pryor and Ha-Ha make it to 22. Pryor didn’t blow up the combine (and came in shorter than expected), and it’s one of those positions (like TE) that in the first half of the first round, is very susceptible to OT and QB runs. I would agree that it’s not likely BOTH will be there, but I think it’s certainly possible that one if not both will be.

      At 54, I would think Bailey will be there for sure (think of all those receivers that will start flying off the board at the top of round 2). He might be more of a 3rd or even 4th round target, depending on how the draft moves. I’m not as sure whether Ward and/or Buchanon will be there at 54. Ward might be seen as somewhat of a risk because of his small-schoolness (that’s a word, right?), and Buchanon is hard to get a read on in that he can hit and make plays, but is he rangy enough to effectively cover in the NFL? Does he allow you to interchange safeties? (He’s one to keep an eye on, though, on account of Chip’s Pac-Tenness (that’s another word)). But yes – it does seem possible that they’re both gone before 54.

      Also, let’s not forget Lamarcus Joyner, who I really think could go anywhere from mid first to mid second. He violates the “bigger people” mantra, but is a fantastic playmaker. Do you want two guys under 5′ 10″ in your secondary (Boykin)? Does that really matter if they can both create?

      Lastly – and I pose this to everyone – if we sign a FA safety, does that change the type of safety you target in the draft? In a weird sense, it’s a “BPA vs. Need” question at the same position since theoretically you would rate the players separately, but were we to sign T.J. Ward, does that mean you target a “cover” safety like Clinton-Dix or Jimmie Ward so you have balance? Or do you stick to your evaluation guns? Obviously the temptation to have a Ward / Ward safety duo would be too much for me to resist… but that’s only for nickname purposes… I would even attempt to coax Charlie Ward out of hoops retirement at that point and maybe even Barry Word, just to mix it up.

      NOTE: you can ask the above hypothetical in the converse (is that the right word?) – If we sign a “cover” ballhawk, do you focus on a “physical” safety (Pryor, Buchanon), or simply go with the guy you like best?

      • ICDogg

        If you sign big name guys to big contracts, it impairs your flexibility in the draft. Brent over at Eagles Rewind wrote up a piece about that and I agree with him in this case.

        If you sign mid-level choices that don’t cost as much, you increase your flexibility in the draft. You would like to upgrade if you can, but you don’t absolutely have to.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          I understand the point that signing a big ticket FA, does somewhat impair your flexibility as far as the draft is concerned. But how tough would it be to throw the ball against us if we had say Byrd & Ha-Ha in the secondary? Just a thought. The only reason I used those two is because despite our less than stellar play at safety, we still faired very well against the run, and the safeties had more pass than run responsibility. That’d be a sick tandem. Could you imagine them in a Cover 2, with only having half the field to cover rather than one high, one low? Think CW & Fletch would treat their safeties to perks just like QBs do to their OL.

          • GEAGLE

            It may screw with our cap flex, but increase our draft Flex….sign a sure shot solution at safety and OLB, and you can comfortably just take the best player on the board and know you will have a potent team in 2014

        • Tom W

          I read his article and he doesn’t have any scientific or even empiric evidence supporting his conclusion and I didn’t see him say anything about a big free agent limit anything in the draft. You may want to reread. He said he didn’t wanna a stud free agent bc he didn’t think we were Super Bowl contenders yet and there is more of a risk w failure w free agents bc of cost and salary cap flexibility.

          His article also,say we need talent on defense especially at secondary and fill holes in free agency. We also are red at ss and yellow at other safety if not read.

          Signing Byrd doesn’t limit us at all in draft. It’s exact opposite. One starting spot is no longer a need w safety w Byrd. Therefore you can pick anyone in draft you want. Evans, Pryor Ebron ford Barr etc. same w rds 2-4. Signing Byrd does nothing to our cap flexibility our draft prep other than making a red position go green in one shot. W salary cap increases and natural attrition of players we can sign ward and Jenkins or Byrd and enter drsft able to go bua best upgrade available at each pick.

          • deg0ey

            I think his point was, actually, that you ideally want the best player on the board to coincide with an area that you’re already deficient and that’s more likely when you’ve got deficiencies in multiple areas.

            If, hypothetically, you signed Byrd and Ward to 5 year contracts and then Clinton-Dix was the highest rated guy on your board at 22, you’re going to get sub-optimal value from that pick regardless of what you do with it. You either draft a guy you don’t think is as good, which is not good practice in the draft, or you take Clinton-Dix anyway and end up with a scenario that either your first round pick or high priced free agent is barely seeing the field; and that’s not good either.

            Seems like a pretty solid hypothesis. Use the draft to take the best players which will upgrade positions at random and then when you’ve built a solid foundation of young talent, you use FA to fill in the last couple of spots to get to the championship.

      • DF587

        I think when you look at the history of defenses that Bill Davis has been part of, he seems to have had a “cover” safety and a “box” safety. In Arizona he had combos of Adrian Wilson (box) & Antrel Rolle (cover) or Adrian Wilson & Kerry Rhodes. In Cleveland (though the LBs coach) the team had TJ Ward (box) and Mike Adams (cover? & forgettable). His Defensive schooling is with LeBeau & Capers. LeBeau had Polomalu for his entire time in Pittsburgh whom is a rare talent as both a cover and box safety. I would tend to think his comfort level would be with one of each, but with Chip’s preference on versatility I tend to think they won’t be interested in a “one trick pony”. Though admittedly we won’t know until this offseason as their 1st chance to upgrade the position. However, they did bring in one of each last year Phillips (cover) & Chung (cough—box). I would think they would be interested in the cover type safety with Chip’s affection for turnovers. Regardless of which type of safety they sign in free agency, I believe they will draft talented cover DBs.
        I don’t think they will have interest in Joyner. Chip has stated you can make few exceptions to the “bigger player” rule. Eagles have a short MLB (kendricks) and short nickel back (boykin). Logan is undersized as a NT. I don’t see another “exception” being made on the defensive side of the ball. I love his game and versatility.
        My opinion is Buchanon lacks the coverage ability (not like). Ward may drop due to the small-shoolness. I like Bailey’s potential and athleticism/versatility (he played LB & S)

        • GEAGLE

          If we continue to play bend but don’t break, Ward may actually be a better fit then Byrd. Ward is basically everything Billy hoped Chung would be..good in run support, man to man coverage to backup Boykin in slot….if we continue to keep defenders in front of us, give up underneath routes and try to make the tackle short of the first down, then Ward is probably the perfect fit, even if Byrd is the better playmaker..

          If I had to count on a safety to torpedo a WR short of the first down market on 3rd and 12, I’m taking Ward

      • Jerry Pomroy

        I couldn’t resist coming up with a nickname for a possible safety tandem on Ward and Ward. WWII?? Yes? No? Maybe?

        • A_T_G

          Emergency Ward

          Ward-den

      • GEAGLE

        I actually don’t think we will EVER see a draft where the first CB or Safety don’t come off the board til 22

        • Baloophi

          Did you mean CB AND Safety? I was just talking about Safety… Otherwise I agree – doubt we will ever see a draft where the first CB doesn’t come off the board until 22.

          Per DF587, teams will start reaching for Safety because the position is so important, but I guess it’s a question of when the reaching will begin. Very possible a lot of guys go between 22 and 54.

    • Insomniac

      Pryor could drop out of the first round if he doesn’t improve his numbers at his pro day. Bailey isn’t really worth a 2nd round pick in my opinion. Jimmie Ward however…I wish he’d be there for us at 54.

      • philliesfan136

        Bailey is worth it, at where the Eagles are picking at, in round two. He is big, quick and he tackles very well. He is a very nice prospect. I also Iike Deone Bucannon, buy Bailey may be better. Bailey has better hips and is quicker.

        • Tom W

          Round 4 maybe for bailey. Buchanan in second. Second for bailey would be a giant reach like Jaquan jarret was.

    • D3FB

      I would put the chances of Haha making it to 22 in the single digits, just look at all the teams drafting in the teens that desperately need safety help: Giants, Rams, Bears, Steelers, Cowboys, Jets, Dolphins, and Packers all pick before us.
      Pryor is off my board personally, to me he’s Brandon Merriweather part 2 and magically lost 3 inches of height.
      Joyner doesn’t do it for me, he’s soooo small and didn’t test out of this world.
      That leaves Ward and Buchanon. They are 2nd and 3rd for for me at safety. Ward has decent size and tested well today, as far as his level of competition, just put on the bowl game against that loaded Florida State team and he still shines through, if anything that game sold me on Ward more than anything. Deone has a few of the same issues as Pryor but they are to a lesser extent. He is great from a HWS prospective, and while he may not be a guy you leave in centerfield 40 plays a game, he has plenty of range to play a deep zone in cover 2 or cover 3. Tough part is I’m not sure either will be the BPA at 22 but both will likely go between 30-45. After Haha, Ward, and Buchanon the drop off is pretty substantial.

      • Baloophi

        If we don’t drop down and acquire a pick in that zone, and assuming we don’t pull the trigger on someone at 22, who do you like as later round targets?

        Bailey?
        Loston?
        Boston?

        • Insomniac

          Ed Reynolds.

          • GEAGLE

            Reminds me a lot of Nate this past year! but he was a beast the year before

        • D3FB

          Kenny Ladler, Sean Parker, and Vinnie Sunseri.

          I’m more in the camp of left safety right safety. What I’m looking for is solid tackling (missing a tackle in the backfield or in traffic is different than 15 yards downfield) , willingness to come up and attack, ability to play deep zones (not necessarily single high, but a plus) and just a high football IQ. The three top guys and the three later round guys all check these boxes.

          • Mitchell

            We both like Ladler I believe. Thoughts in dontae Johnson from Nc?

          • D3FB

            I’ve watched a few tapes on him but he’s been playing that off cover 3 corner and I just haven’t really gotten a great feel for him.

          • Mitchell

            Because he is a playmaker and can play multiple positions I think you take a shot on him.

        • A_T_G

          Jokes? Safety is no laughing matter. Safety must be taken seriously. This is the main reason I am Ware-y of Ha-ha. Was receiver is going to be intimidated by a guy named Ha-ha Dix? I think we missed our opportunity with Bicardi Rambo and are going to suffer until someone named Prisonrape Papercut-Salt enters the draft.

          • Baloophi

            Love it… I was trying to alley-oop you with “guys with complimentary skills” to play off the ever-delightful compliment/complement misunderstanding, but basically threw the ball into the stands.

            I was thinking a safety with complementary skills would support the run better and provide a nice blitz option whereas a safety with complimentary skills would say nice things about the receiver’s hair and the ref’s color coordination during breast cancer awareness month.

          • A_T_G

            I read the alley-oop, and it was a good setup, but if I just stuff it through the hoop, well, that is what you expected. Instead I was going for the head fake towards the rim, throw the ball at the opposing Coach’s face, then land with my crotch in the face of the cheerleader on the sideline. You still get credited with an assist in the official stats.

          • Baloophi

            I think we would be a hit on the And Two Mix Tape Tour. We can lower the rims, right?

          • A_T_G

            When I play against my elementary school-age boys with the rim at 8′ I am a monster in the lane.

        • DF587

          If I had choose between commentary pieces or similar, I would prefer two Dawkins’s’s.
          Late round-Dontae Johnson(3rd-versatility not sure he makes to our 3rd), dre boston (3rd), Ed Reynolds(3rd). They all seem like a bit of a reach in the 3rd, but safety is becoming the integral piece because of the lack of quality options already starting in the league. I think teams are going to be reaching. Hopefully one of those guys lasts until the fourth and we get value.

        • Tom W

          Buchanan in rd 2. Physical and athletic freak and chip has played against him. Never asked to cover much but projects athletically as a sick safety. Looked great in drills at combine. Otherwise dontae Johnson in 5th rd or draft McGill and convert him to safety. Weak safety class why it’s important to get one starter in free agency and probably another low cost vet to pair w Wolfe and Keelan

        • Mitchell

          I’m a fan off Boston because he can play both corner and safety, can generate turnovers, has dreads, and brings attitude to our defense.

      • Insomniac

        If I had to compare the names mentioned to last years class of safeties then…

        Buchanon = Bacarri Rambo
        HaHa = Eric Reid
        Pryor = DJ Swearinger
        Ward = Kenny Vaccaro

        • D3FB

          All those are decent comps. I think Deone is a little more like a bigger Matt Elam. A guy who alot of people want to label as a box safety but has more than enough athleticism to hold up on the back end.

          • Insomniac

            I had him originally compared to Elam but I thought Buchanon is a lot stiffer.

        • Tom W

          This safety class is much worse than last yr in draft.

          • Insomniac

            Yea, stating the obvious. These were just comparisons on their style of play.

        • austinfan

          Vacarro > Ward
          Reid = Ha Ha
          Buchanon >> Rambo or McDonald
          Pryor > Swearinger

          • Insomniac

            I was comparing play styles but maybe I should of said they’re poor mans version of said players.

            The Pryor > Swearinger part is something I disagree on. Swearinger was just flat out better in every aspect of the game than Pryor.

  • A_T_G

    If we can sign Ward, draft the other Ward, and draft D’Anthony Thomas, we will have all the signage material we need to beat the Saints next year.

    “DAT who!” signs for when Thomas returns kick offs for touchdowns.

    “You have termites, drugs, and abandoned homes in your 9th Ward, but we have a Wolff running amongst our Wards!” signs for when we are on defense.

    That second one might need a little refinement, but we have time before the playoffs.

    • Insomniac

      Wards the word.

    • Baloophi

      We just need to find an OLB with the last name Beignet or the Fleur-de-Lis symbol and we’ll be in business…

    • Jerry Pomroy

      I think I like “Who DAT?!?”, over “DAT who!”.

  • Mitchell

    Free agency is soooo close. Can’t wait to see what the Eagles are cooking up. So much excitement in having no idea who the Eagles are going after.

    • Baloophi

      I’m happy as long as they lock this guy up… and I mean that literally. Otherwise he’s going to roll all over the place.

      • Mitchell

        If they don’t the Raccoons might snatch him away…….

      • disqus_jB7dl5fzvO

        Lock him up so he doesn’t go to the Cowgirls. They have a lot of trash they need disposed of (every player on their team) but they can’t do it without trash can.

    • philliesfan136

      All the Eagle’s suck up reporters want some more low level ( scratch and dent ) signings, again this year. They have been laying the groundwork for the Eagles to lay low in free agency, and to sign (4 or 5 ) Patrick Chungs …… instead of two ( 2 ) top tier ” big time ” players. So don’t get to excited, only to be let down. Plan for the worst ….. and MAYBE you will get pleasantly surprised.

      • Mitchell

        I have faith in this organization and would rather have mid tier FA and draft talent to have enough money to keep our own players than to overpay for a player that may not be worth all the money other teams will pay.

  • Weapon Y

    I wait and see what happens with the safety market before I make a decision on Nate Allen. He’s pretty low on my list of safety free agents. I only bring him back if I can’t get two guys within my price limit. I wouldn’t make a deal before Tuesday.

    • Joe Minx

      I agree. My feeling is this. Going about FA last year with just finding good, solid guys to plug into the system & get it established without overpaying was exactly the right thing to do. While the team was in rebuild mode nothing else made sense. But the team showed a lot of growth & had a quick ascent, probably more so than anyone could have expected.

      I now consider this team to be back amongst the contenders. And with that comes the incumbent responsibility to get the best players possible for the sole purpose of winning a championship. A lot of these 2nd tier guys are probably not going to be able to do that. It’s time to go for the big boys again. And money should absolutely not be an issue. I’m not saying to go crazy with the cash by any means, but I would place a lot less emphasis on value this year than last.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        To be honest, there is really only one spot that I see that they should be spending top dollar and that’s at safety and only on Byrd. I like Ward, but he’s not the game changer that Byrd can be. Outside of safety, there really isn’t anyone worth spending top dollar on. There aren’t any top notch 3-4 OLBs on the market, the CBs available are good, not great, same for OL & DL.

        So get the FA piece that can give you the most return and then spend wisely elsewhere. Target your OLB in the draft and build your depth at other spots by taking the BPA that makes the most sense for your team.

        • philliesfan136

          I’m with you ……. but, if they just can’t pull off Byrd for some reason …….. Ward would be a nice concellation prize for me.

        • Tom W

          W you Jerry

    • GermanEagle

      Preach it, brother!

  • mksp

    I like Malcom Jenkins, seems like he’d be a good fit, both scheme-wise and in the locker room.

    I also *really* don’t want to draft Calvin Pryor. I just hate the angles he takes. Maybe that can be coached up, I don’t know. Would much rather draft Kyle Fuller or Dennard if we’re going secondary.

  • anon

    Would anyone do a graham for morris Claiborne trade straight up? It’s been reported cowboys want to move him. New scheme cou help him a lot. He’s got measurables. Cowboys need pass rush.

    • Jerry Pomroy

      Uh, YEAH! At only 24yo he’s still got a lot of years ahead of him and he’s a better prospect than Marsh or Roc at this point. Might as well see if we swap “trash” for “trash”, maybe we could turn it into treasure. Don’t think we’ll get much more Graham otherwise. More teams would be more interested in Curry. But if you unload Graham for Claiborne, you can keep Curry on as your nickel rusher & spell Cole.

      • philliesfan136

        Would probably take Curry and Graham …. but, I would do it. They both don’t fit here, and they could use the cap relief. Plus a change of scenery could probably do wonders for all three of them. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. ( sorry, had to )

  • Baloophi

    OFF-TOPIC! BUT… THE TOPIC IS PBR!

    For all of you who have wanted to buy Tommy a PBR over the years, here’s your chance to not only but him one, but all of them. At $1 billion that might take quite a fundraising challenge, but I know we can do it. (apologies if this has been discussed already)

    http://qz.com/184372/how-pabst-blue-ribbon-became-a-billion-dollar-beer/

    • A_T_G

      Favorite quite: “‘Hipsters fetishize the lowbrow culture of the ’70s and ’80s,’ Salon observed in 2008. ‘The hipster’s beer of choice is always going to be a cheap one.’”

    • Maggie

      For your enlightenment:

      Pabst Blue Ribbon is also brewed by Sleeman Breweries of Guelph, Ontario (although credited as ‘Stroh Canada’ on the labeling).
      Hands across the border. Or something. Check out the connection to Coors and Miller, too.

  • dave

    Hypothetical…could you guys see a bubble screen on one side with shady, and Darren Sproles on the other?

    • Amber Jack

      I would be happy with McClluster or DAT. Both would also sol.ve our return issues as well

    • GEAGLE

      Wheel routes to shady and Sproles down each sideline…doubt teams have two LBs who can run with shady and Sproles. I’d think about it if we could get him on a modest two year contract to take a run at the Lombardi while our QB is getting paid in peanuts

    • Jernst

      Sproles is fading fast. He wasn’t nearly the playmaker he’s been in the past this last year.

  • GermanEagle

    I generally have no problem if you rather want to focus on value than overpaying for a free agent, however what I see missing in all this analysis is the fact that the salary cap will be significantly higher in 2015 and especially in 2016, respectively.

    Signing Byrd or Ward to a huge contract now (eg 8 Mio / year) probably will be seen as fair market value if you look back in a couple of years time.

    That being said I will be highly disappointed if the Eagles don’t sign one of the top 3 safeties in this year’s free agency class.

    • philliesfan136

      Possible headlines – ” Byrd lands in Eagles NEST …. ” or ” Eagles fill nest with new BYRD. ” ” BYRD ready to spread his WINGS. “

    • GEAGLE

      Plus it’s not like we blew our wad already, there are currently only 10 teams with more cap space then us..I gotta read how the Bucs can pay for Goldston, Revis,Barron and they might go after Byrd? The browns get to make Joe Hayden the highest paid CB in league history in the near future yet they will still offer a mega deal to one of the safeties…we could cut Chung and only have 500k invested in the entire damn position, yet signing a top safety may not be a good enough idea for us? GTFO here!

      • austinfan

        So, how did the Bucs do last year?

        • GermanEagle

          Why do you bring up the Bucs? Just curious…

        • GEAGLE

          How is that not pointless? Bucs don’t have the other
          Pieces we have…trade our secondary for theirs and I’m Sure we are a contender…a secondary don’t ensure you are a good team. But we already have a good team, so I’m not sure what bullshit pointless point you are trying to make…so tired of these boring scared front office apologist afraid to make a damn move..I’ll root for what I want, and you can go applaud the eagles because they are talking to Mitchell, who is the worst tackling safety in the NFL…but he is cheap, so you will prob be happy

          • austinfan

            Bucs werew 7-9 in 2012, those free agents signings were supposed to put them over the top, trade for Revis, draft Barron, overpay Goldston. Should have been a dream secondary with all that money.

            2012: 65.4% 7.9 YPA 30-18 QBR 93.5
            2013: 64.4% 7.4 YPA 30-21 QBR 88.9

            Well, their pass defense DID improve.

  • Pingback: The Linc – Is Malcolm Jenkins the Eagles’ Best Bet at Safety? | Sports Feedr

  • philliesfan136

    These articles never seem to fail to PI$$ me off !! Tommy Lawlor – quote – ” Nnamdi Aosmugha didn’t fix your cornerback position, did he ? ” First of all, Aosmugha was 30 years old when he was signed. ( not 27 like Byrd or Ward ) He was a one trick pony in Oakland, and only had nine ( 9 ) passes defensed in the prior two ( 2 ) years in Oakland. Aosmugha didn’t fix the cornerback problem because he was over rated, past his prime and had zero coordination and ball skills. He could not jump and defend the pass. He had NO vertical jumping ability and COULD NOT compete for the ball in the air. The Eagles management did NOT do their homework on him, and just basically signed him off his NAME and Reputation alone. I am SO TIRED of people like Tommy Lawlor, Jeff McLane and Paul Domowitch, supporting the Eagles excuses, on why the they shouldn’t spend money on TOP TIER players in free agency …… because of the ” DREAM TEAM ” AKA ( Nnamdi Aosumagha ) signing ! If the player is the right age ( Ward , Byrd ) are 27 yrs. old – If the player is a CERTIFIED difference maker ( Ward and Byrd ) are substantial upgrades. If the team couldn’t pick a starting safety in the draft if they had 25 picks ……….. Note ** The Eagles drafted Brian Dawkins in 1993, that was almost 21 years ago. Since then, they have drafted ( in my memory / opinion ) one ( 1 ) really good, quality safety ( Michael Lewis ) in 2002. That is ONE ( 1 ) quality safety in 19 yrs. since B Dawk was drafted ! All the more reason to spend ( a little extra ) if you have to sure up a position of contention for many, many years. Not to mention ( this is strictly my opinion ) the fact, that I think the fans DESERVE a GREAT safety on the team, after all we have had to watch over the last 5 years since Brian Dawkins WAS LET GO !! Yes they will have to overpay a little …… This owner has committed to the fans that he wants to provide a GOLD STANDARD of a franchise …… O.K. ……. time to ante up, and spend some of that $$ GOLD $$

    • laeagle

      And we’re all pretty tired of nonsense like this. You seem to have missed the point on Tommy’s article about opinions entirely.

    • D3FB

      Oh shit, I totally forgot about that part where anyone forced you to read this site or any of the other ones that don’t use a revisionist history that you prefer.

    • A_T_G

      Well, I am sorry you were so angered by the article, because your formatting and style made me smile.

      – Are all of the players mentioned except Dawkins in parentheses because they are afraid of him, and therefore hiding?

      – The extra spaces everywhere (before punctuation, within parentheticals) reminded me of high school papers that were required to be two (2) full pages and weren’t quite there.

      – The legal style numerals following the textual numbers, even when repeating yourself as the rant began to crescendo (although you did miss a couple).

      – The part where you labeled a statement “strictly your opinion” directly before calling it “the fact.”

      So, thank you for the post. I am left wondering, however, if these articles

      • A_T_G

        (Stupid Discus)

        …if these articles make you so angry, why do you continue to read them, with enough attention to detail to quote the author, and then compose a lengthy comment? You could have gotten just as rage-filled playing Flappy Bird.

        • Maggie

          ROFL.

  • Scott J

    I don’t see how they could bring back Nate Allen. He’s a constant reminder of an Andy Reid regime of failed drafts, and I’m sure Howie Roseman would like to move on. If Nate Allen were a standout special teams player, then it would make sense to bring him back – but he’s not.

  • Corry

    I’ve always had a lot of people disagree with me (and many agree), but if I’m dumping money on the defensive side of the ball, I always want to improve the pass rush first. Landing Byrd or Ward would be great, but give me an OLB first.

    • GEAGLE

      mcmanus reports interest in Micheal Johnson…coming off a down 3sack year but the dude batted down 9 passes and had 61 QB hurries,,he also happens to be the prototype for what Chip looks for at OLB..but he won’t be cheap, and Zimmer and the Vikings could have interest, which would then free up Everson griffin

  • GEAGLE

    Tom: just like we shouldn’t assume that Nate is gone, I’m also not sure why anyone would assume that Nate would even talk to us. We treated the kid like dog crap for his entire career, I wouldn’t be surprised if GB,The Bears,KC,the Rams,Bengals start looking attractive to Nate….I would not be surprised if he can’t wait to get out of Philly..

  • philliesfan136

    Um …… no, paying BIG money doesn’t equal great play. ( see Tommy Lawlor quote above ) ** note ** Michael Bennett – 1 year deal $ 5 million …… Cliff Avril – 2 yrs. $ 13 million ….. Brent Grimes – 1 yr. $ 5.5 million. These contracts, were all, very reasonable free agency contracts, and all these players, played great for their teams. The common denominator in ALL these contracts above are the fact that they were just above what the Eagles wanted to pay …. by approx. 20 % . So they low balled in free agency, and signed Patrick Chung and Bradley Fletcher last year ….. and they got what they paid for ! No spending money doesn’t assure you of success in free agency signings, but having a competent, experienced pro scouting department that can accurately evaluate talent and assign proper ( fair ) value, works wonders in free agency. This is my question for all the Eagles apologists …… did the Eagles overspend in free agency in 2011 …… or did they spend a lot of money on poor quality players ? Seems to me that it is EASY for ” Howie ” Roseman to blame ( free agency and the spending of too much money ) as the PROBLEM …… instead of accepting the blame, and pointing it inward at the front office and their poor decisions in prior free agency signings. The BOTTOM line is this ……. teams ( ARE NOT ) going to get ( TOP TIER ) impact players in free agency for ( REASONABLE ) money …….. PERIOD !! The top, top tier players are ALWAYS going to get too much money. It is the nature of the animal …… One more parting shot before I go. If Jeffery Lurie would have promoted Ryan Grigson, or hired a experienced, qualified GM back in 2010, the drafts wouldn’t have been so absolutely terrible in 2010 and 2011 ….. and the team wouldn’t be so bereft of talent and depth. They wouldn’t have needed to sign so many free agents over the last 3 – 4 years. No, every free agent signed can be a break the bank player, and they all can’t be top tier free agents. That’s not the issue though ….. the issue is not the decision to spend big money on top tier players, the issue is – WHO’S MAKING THE DECISIONS, to spend it where ?

    • Amber Jack

      It’s too bad you weren’t the gm the last 20 years. With your amazing hindsight I’m sure we would have won at least a few super bowls by now. Have you noticed they are doing things differently now. They got a new coach last year and things are looking up. Go cry about the sports journalists and Jeffrey Lurie somewhere else. I and a lot of others on this site have faith in the program that Chip is building here. He inherited a mess last year and made the playoffs and broke all kinds of offensive records in the process. How about we give HIM at least two offseasons before we get irrational. Jesus take a f’in breath.

      • sprawl

        “How about we give HIM at least two offseasons before we get irrational.”

        I think when people look at last year’s offseason signings they forget that our coaching staff was really starting from scratch.

        Chip Kelly had barely watched a snap of NFL football and had no idea what any of the guys already on the team could do.

        On the defensive side you had Billy Davis who probably didn’t have much of an opinion on the Eagles defense as it was but then had the ADDITIONAL task of projecting if these guys would even fit into the 3-4 at all.

        It could’ve turned into a disaster… we could have easily wound up with gaping holes in the DL, then found out that behind them Trent Cole was worthless in 3-4 and Connor Barwin’s production decline his last year in Houston was foreshadowing a lackluster end of his career.

        We got pretty lucky with some of that stuff but a big splash in free agency signing some high-priced DBs last year (whether they were productive or not) would’ve meant we had zero flexibility to address any of the other issues that we were pretty sure would come up.

    • Maggie

      Also too bad you have forgotten that there are a bunch of new people in the FO! Smolenski, Gamble and several NEW SCOUTS. go somewhere else and live in 2011.

  • austinfan

    You should always look for value in FA the same way you do in the draft. The difference is you can target positions in FA.

    If Kam Chancellor was available, I’d pay him the money Byrd is asking without hesitation, because he’s bigger, faster, far more physical, longer and more versatile than Byrd. Byrd is too much like Asante, he free lances to make big plays, and is aided by a great pass rush and two CBs who run 4.4 and were high draft picks. Put him on the Eagles, and I guarantee you’ll be disappointed – go look at 2010-11, when the Bills had a mediocre pass rush, he had 4 sacks in two years – his ability to gamble and make plays depends on the players around him. A player like Chancellor can do everything, cover 3 at FS, on the LOS at SS, matched up in man coverage. He is far superior to Byrd, and the kind of player you pay top dollar to, not someone with inflated statistics.

    Same with Ward, a solid SS, he’s not a game changer, he’s what Wolff or even Keelan Johnson might become in a couple years. At a reasonable price you can plug him in and get a big upgrade over Chung, at a big money deal you’re in for a disappointment as he will only have a small impact relative to his salary.

    It’s not a question of cap room, it’s a matter of philosophy, you can always find an excuse to be undisciplined in free agency, but if you don’t stick to your value judgment and make tough decisions you’ll find yourself with a veteran, overpriced team that under performs and forces you to let young players walk because you lack the cap room to extend them.

    If Howie plays it right, he talks to every safety, he has a cutoff price over which he won’t go for each player, and he signs the two best guys whose value equals their asking price. And the same elsewhere, I’d love LInval Joseph but I’m not paying him like an all pro.

    While this is frustrating for fans who want to win now, you simply don’t know what will happen in terms of injury, young players developing or the draft. So sticking with a value philosophy will improve your team while maintaining maximum flexibility to deal with uncertainty – and in the NFL, uncertainty is inevitable.

    Eagles finished last year as 10-15th in defense despite playing Chung and Allen for a good portion of the season. Upgrading the pass rush and safeties, even with a rookie, Wolff and Jenkins and/or Mitchell would improve them further. Neither Byrd or Ward are good enough to make them a top 5 defense without numerous other upgrades.

    • GermanEagle

      This is way too hypothetical since a guy like Chancellor will most likely never hit free agency, at least not during his prime.

      • austinfan

        No, it’s about value.

        You don’t pay Byrd the highest safety salary because he’s the best safety in FA, you pay him according to his peers, with a modest FA premium. In the same way you pay your own players what they’d garner in FA with a discount for signing them early and giving them security. You don’t overpay in FA, and you don’t low ball your own players.

        So who are Byrd’s peers? Not Thomas or Chancellor, who are clearly superior, nor a younger version of Dawk, Polamalu, or Ed Reed, for the same reason. Goldson got a bad overpay. Would you take Byrd over Berry and Weddle?

        Now comparables are hard, because some salaries are crazy, Reshard Jones averages $7M but only $5M guarnateed, he’ll be cut or renegotiated soon. Michael Griffin also makes $7M, think he’s worth it?

        So Byrd might get $9+M, but that doesn’t mean he’s worth paying $9+M. On the other hand, does anyone doubt whether Jason Peters is worth $10M a year?

        • Tom W

          5 for 43 w 25 guaranteed for Byrd. If he doesn’t take it walk no one is saying pay asshole money for him

    • Tom W

      10-15 news to me. Jenkins and your pupu platter at safety could easily crap out too like Chung and Philips. No thanks. And cam doesn’t play deep middle better than Byrd that’s gotta be a joke. If your scared to spend money on a perfect candidate your coach knows at a major need position when you easily have the money and cap space for next few yrs to resign foles cox Kendricks then we will likely be inadequate at safety for along time bc all the other top safeties are locked up ….

    • Maggie

      Good rational assessment. I like it.

    • RIP illa

      So we’re just gonna leave out our 30th ranked pass D??? Classic!

      • austinfan

        Actually, after the first 4 games, our pass defense was probably 10-15th, about the same as Buffalo.

  • GermanEagle

    Byrd is a top 10 S in the league. Very rarely make it those kind of players to the FA. I will not have a problem to pay him 9m/year, especially since the salary cap keeps increasing…

    • Tom W

      Me either. Top 5 safety actual who creates turnovers and take away deep middle. Walk away if he won’t take average of top 5 contracts and good guaranteed money.

      • Patrick

        I have been a huge fan of Jairus Byrd for a long time and I’m hoping that we sign him, but I think the main thing is not to overpay, which I’m sure Howie won’t do either.

        The thing a lot of people forget is that Byrd already rejected a big contract from the Bills, which pretty much means that he is willing to do it again. Obviously that might also mean that he values something else, which might be good for the Eagles. I think a team like the Colts might grab him. They have TONS of cap room, they already have a box safety in Laron Landry and as long as they have Andrew Luck they will be a contender and therefor an interesting place for players to go.

        I’m crossing my fingers until the end though. S is a impact position and my man crush on Byrd knows no limit, especially with the number of bad safeties in the NFL.

        BTW, according to over the cap, the average PY of safety contracts would mean paying Byrd around 8 mil/year, with around 20 mill in guaranteed money on a 5 year deal according to some quick math.

        http://overthecap.com/top-player-salaries.php?Position=S