Free Agency Philosophy

Posted: March 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 65 Comments »

I’ve talked a lot about player value and not wanting to throw huge money at some players that I don’t think are worth it. I’ve made the point that the Eagles threw big money at Nnamdi Asomugha, but that didn’t solve the CB problem. We all thought it did, but the results were highly disappointing.

Some of you have taken this to mean that I’m against the Eagles spending big money on a player. That is not the case.

I fully acknowledge that you have to overpay for most players in free agency. That’s just how things work. I also understand that top flight players are going to cost a lot of money. The point I’ve tried to make is that you need to spend wisely. If you think a player is a slam dunk fit, go pay huge money for him. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the top free agent at a certain position is definitely worth big money.

I agree with many of you that the Eagles should be a championship contender and that they need to make aggressive moves to help push the team to the next level. That doesn’t mean going after free agents at a position of need no matter what. I happen to believe that the best teams are choosy. They are very specific about which players they want to draft and/or sign.

You must find the right guys, either in terms of scheme or team.

Football is the ultimate team game. You need the pieces to fit together on the field and in the locker room. The 2011 team underachieved because the pieces didn’t fit together well on the field or in the locker room. The 2013 overachieved because the team fit well in both areas. The challenge now is to upgrade the talent, while finding the right kind of guys.

That is especially true with Chip Kelly running the show. He’s not looking for choirboys, but is looking for players that will buy in to his ideas 100 percent. He wants players that will totally commit to his style of football. That isn’t just on the field, but lifestyle, conditioning and weight training. Just because a player is a good S or good OLB, doesn’t mean he will be Kelly’s kind of guy.

The Eagles have detailed reports on free agent prospects, as players and people. They made good choices last year, but that was easier since they went for mid-level players and not high-priced guys. Star players tend to have more of an ego and sense of entitlement, which can make them tricky to deal with. I’m not against the Eagles taking chances on a player in free agency, but I do believe they need to be careful.

The Eagles have a good thing going. The team is on the rise. There is talent on the field, but also a good vibe to the team. It is important for Howie and Chip to make the right moves this offseason to keep the team trending upward and becoming a true Super Bowl contender.

* * * * *

Here is an interesting video with Greg Cosell and the legendary Bo Wulf breaking down the top pass rushers available in free agency.

The frustrating thing about this group of players is that most of them  are either 4-3 DEs or guys that aren’t great pass rushers. Cosell makes the comment that “this guy isn’t a pure pass rusher” or “he’s a solid player” about several of the guys. That’s fine, but it isn’t what the Eagles need. They need a pass rusher with some explosive ability.

* * * * *

Now for some rumors…

Mitchell should be a consideration.

Johnson shouldn’t. He isn’t the pass rusher the Eagles need.


  • Neil

    For the record, I’m fairly certain Baloophi and ATG are one person.

    • TommyLawlor

      Is this a Tyler Durden thing?

      • A_T_G

        And if so, which one am I?

  • Weapon Y

    Can’t help but wonder if the Eagles are trying to make a trade for Dion Jordan happen now that the only other way to get a starting OLB is to draft one.

    • ICDogg

      I don’t think such a trade is available. Just crazy offseason rumors with nothing to them.

      • planetx1971

        Sadly, that appears to definitely be the case now….

  • shah8

    The defense is not playoff worthy through merely incremental improvements.

    Fine with Mitchell. Still think Jenkins is a mistake.

    • kajomo

      This defense was playoff worthy last year since they did indeed make the playoffs. If they make incremental improvements they should be even more playoff worthy.

      Anyone who expects a bunch of new starters on defense is crazy. We will add 1 or 2 new starters and then a bunch of role/developemental players.

    • ICDogg

      It’s got to be incremental though… unless you think the players that are available are major game changers.

      They need to replace the guys that suck the most with guys that suck less, in free agency.

      And they need to draft well with an eye not only on this year but on the next few.

  • HazletonEagle

    Ive commented on the EMB about the report that the eagles are out of the running for Charles Johnson. Im not buying it. They know he is going to be expensive. There is a bidding war. Thats to be expected. Howie is not stupid enough to keep throwing bids out there for other teams to beat. I firmly believe that if they want Johnson they are very much still thinking they will land him. I believe they told his agent, “once you have your final deal in place with whichever team it may be, please just give us a call and give us a shot.” At that point the eagles make the offer that brings Johnson to Philly.
    If I recall correctly, thats how they landed Nnamdi.

    • Insomniac

      You meant Michael Johnson right?

      • HazletonEagle

        lol yes! thanks. I fixed it.

    • Idk, i think a 4-3 will throw more money at him then a 3-4 team.

      • HazletonEagle

        If we think he fits our D, we can want him just as much as anyone.

  • SteveH

    I’m not a huge fan of Mitchell. He had the most missed tackles in the NFL last year, he didn’t post any noteworthy turnover numbers until he had an elite defense around him. Lots of red flags imo.

    • TommyLawlor

      Mitchell had crazy stats.

      4 INTs, 2 FFs, 4 sacks. Those are outstanding numbers.

      • RC5000

        His ints were against Palmer and Cassel (2) and rookie Mike Glennon. Played in a terrific defense in his only year starting full time and he’ll be 27. Those int numbers could be very deceptive since it’s a very small sample size and three of them came against really bad teams and low level QBs.
        Carolina led the NFL in sacks, they probably had opportunities to let safeties loose.
        I wouldn’t say they are “crazy stats” , they could be flukes since we really only have 1 year to go on.

        • TommyLawlor

          4 sacks and 4 INTs in a year is very uncommon. That’s crazy in my book.

          I totally agree that his production had a lot to do with playing on a very good D. Can’t count on that to happen every year.

          • RC5000

            I can agree with that for the most part. You get what I’m saying. I’m not against signing him depending on deal vs what a deal would be for Nate Allen and what else they do to address safety.

          • GEAGLE

            Aren’t you wary of guys who only have one good year and it comes in the contract year? Do you not think Tackling matters if we continue to play bend but don’t break? Have you not seen enough safeties playing 25 yards back on 3rd and 12, give up underneath route only to blow the tackle short of the first down? When will it be enough? After 5 more years of crap?
            Love you Tom, but this Spadaro crap has to stop

          • TommyLawlor

            Spadaro crap?

            If you don’t dig what I write, feel free to go to other sites. I have no agendas and write what I feel/think. I’ve been plenty critical of the Eagles. Some turned out to be right, some turned out to be wrong.

          • philliesfan136

            Tommy boy, ….. relax ….. We like to read your website. That’s how we get the Eagles ( propaganda ), I mean press release’s.

          • philliesfan136

            But, he fits our scheme, ……… I mean ( CAP. )

      • planetx1971

        Those are great stats. He really LED the league in missed tackles?! YIKES if so. I read today multiple times of Philly’s supposed interest in Jenkins. I don’t remember how his stats stack up, but from what I do know of him, that’d be fine with me personally.

      • SteveH

        Yes, but as you noted in a previous post, he had 2 ints and 1 FF the previous 4 years combined. He only started producing when he had an elite defense around him. That combined with the missed tackles makes me leery.

        I guess I’d have to trust that our talent evaluators know what they’re doing if we brought him in, but if we gave him more than a couple mil a year I’d be sour on the signing initially.

      • philliesfan136

        Jairus Byrd
        2013 – ( 11 games played )
        4 INTs , 1 sack , 1 FF
        3 time – All Pro – 3 time Pro bowler
        2 time AFC Interception leader
        2009 – 2013 – 5 years – ( 73 games played )
        22 INTs
        3 sacks
        11 FFs

        This guy would be a terrible ( scheme ) fit with the Eagles …….
        This guy would be a ( $$$$$$$$$$ ) fit with the Eagles …….

        Time is yours …………………

        Forgive me for saying this ….. but, does Spadaro give you the script for ( writing ) your articles ……….?

        • austinfan

          Byrd had a big rookie season, since then, in 4 years, he has exactly ONE interception against a QB in the top half, all his other interceptions have come against the drecks of the NFL at QB. He’s opportunistic, but he depends on bad QBs being flustered by pressure making bad throws.

          He’s good, but he also depends on the talent around him. Byrd cheats to make plays, similar to Asante, and we saw what happened with Asante when his supporting cast declined.

          Byrd’s best fit is where he is right now, with a top flight pass rush and two fast CBs who don’t need deep help.

  • Weapon Y

    I don’t know a lot about Malcolm Jenkins. Would you be interested in doing a detailed post to elaborate why the Eagles might take him over Pro Bowlers Byrd and Ward?

    • BreakinAnklez

      Cost. Not the ballhawk Byrd is but can did drop in nickel a lot to cover slot. Nice backup option for Boykin.

      As far as Ward, I think he’s better in coverage. You can get a good idea of Tommy’s thoughts and differences between the three by reading his past couple posts

      • philliesfan136

        Come on Anklezzzz, Ward and Byrd, don’t fit our scheme …………. they cost to much, to fit it.

        • BreakinAnklez

          Go see Comment above. Stats don’t tell the whole picture. I’d take Byrd, but not at $10M+ a year…

  • bubqr

    ” agree with many of you that the Eagles should be a championship contender and that they need to make aggressive moves to help push the team to the next level.”

    Biggest mistake we could make IMO – Your best chance to get a SB is not to load up on one season and try to win it – You need to be competitive for several years, and hope that one year the breaks/bounces will go your way (QB has a nice season, few key injuries, 1/2 unexpected breakout seasons, etc.). There is way too much luck involved in every NFL season to be trying to be “aggressive”. Be smart, be competitive year after year, and one day you’ll get there. In order to be competitive, you have to take care of your cap and you can’t overspend too much in FA.

    • ICDogg

      While you’re probably right, that does sound kind of, er, Banneresque.

      • austinfan

        Howie is a kinder, gentler Joe.

    • philliesfan136

      It is not a hard thing to figure out a great ( formula ) for the team to be in the running for years to come to compete for multiple championships. The formula is, to continue to, draft well, and add to the growing ( very good ) young nucleus. The other ( highly debated ) part of the formula ( in my opinion ) is to ADD, at least one ( 1 ) BIG TIME – YOUNG ( 25 – 28 yrs. old ) player, each year in free agency, to greatly improve your roster. The other ( obvious ) part, is to use free agency to continue to fill roster voids, with mid level players, adding to your rosters depth.

  • ICDogg

    Remember the year the Eagles signed all the good free agents? They should do that again. Only do it right this time. #nomorennamdis— FakeWIPCaller (@FakeWIPCaller) March 9, 2014

    • philliesfan136

      ICDogg, don’t be a hater ……. it’s not Howies fault that his front office decided to sign ( $hit ) players, for ( caviar ) money, and then, those free agents played like $HIT !!

  • Insomniac

    Sam Shields got 4 yrs, 39mil, 12mil guaranteed. Well it looks like Verner is out of our price range now unless we offer him more guaranteed money.

    • BreakinAnklez

      I personally don’t think Verner was ever an option. I would have loved to nab Shields though. I think he def could have beaten out either Williams or Fletcher.

  • austinfan

    Byrd in the hand syndrome. People look at free agents and assume they’ll do as well here as they did on their old teams.

    Byrd struggled in 2010-11 when he had older CBs and no pass rush, 4 ints in 2 years, Byrd looked great in 2012-13 when he had a much better pass rush and two fast CBs that didn’t need deep help. So which Byrd do you think you’d see in Philly?

    Ward is fine as an in the box safety, but what happens if he has to be an interchangeable safety? Can Wolff play FS?

    Mitchell was certainly helped moving to the Carolina defense and a great pass rush.

    Look what happened to Goldson, 14 int in 4 years in SF, 1 int in TB. Maybe the talent around him in SF allowed him to gamble?

    It’s not just the money you spend, it’s the fit you have to measure.

    Eagles have two CBs who run 4.55 to 4.60, do you want a FS who runs 4.6+ and has to cheat to make plays protecting them? Put Byrd on a team like Cleveland with a shutdown CB like Haden and he can cheat to one side of the field. Same player, but some situations will work better for him.

    • Insomniac

      This is so true. Safety is the last line of defense and if either of our CBs get burned then Byrd is going to get burned too. Not to mention that he might not even make the tackle too. It’s not the end of the world if we don’t sign him.

      In before the circle jerk for Byrd start raving and ranting about how we need him.

    • BreakinAnklez

      Very good points…

    • GEAGLE

      Seriously.lim tired of this simple minded crap. Watch some film or stop spreading these bullshit opinionsl TJ Ward hits hard, so that must mean he can’t cover. GTFO here, and stop talking about a top safety as if he is Bernard Pollard, Ward would be the best man to man cover safety we had in over 5 friggin years and I have to keep reading this bullshit as if he can’t cover just because he happens to tackle his ass off? Ward is quality man to man cover guy, he just isn’t the centerfielder that Byrd is….last I checked, we didn’t need center fielders on our defense, we play bend but don’t break, keep everyone in front of you, then make the tackle short of the first down….THATS TJ WARD!!!!!

    • philliesfan136

      During 2010 and 2011 – Jairus Byrd had :

      187 – tackles
      4 – interceptions
      6 – forced fumbles
      2 – sacks

      1st 5 yrs. in NFL
      2009 – 11 passes defensed ( 9 ) interceptions
      2010 – 2 passes defensed ( 1 ) interception
      2011 – 8 passes defensed ( 3 ) interceptions
      2012 – 6 passes defensed ( 5 ) interceptions
      2013 – 6 passes defensed ( 4 ) interceptions
      Total passes def. – 32 ( 22 ) interceptions

  • Engwrite

    I am tired of people using the signing of Nnamdi Asomugha as an excuse. For one thing, it created a problem since they already had two bona fide starters in Samuel and DRC. Having two all star corners is a great situation but adding a third one created a big problem, particularly when your DC is your former OL coach who thought they could use these well established players in new roles (Woodson-lite, slot).

    Today the Eagles do not have a quality starting safety so that the delta between a pro caliber safety and what they have is enormous and would impact the whole of the Defense.

    Of course, even obtaining two good (not great), safeties would help a lot.


    Mitchell is the worst tackling safety in the NFL and Charlotte observer is talking about Eagles and Skins showing the most interest and that mItchell should have no problem getting a Multi year deal at 4-5mil? What a nightmare!!!!!


    Free agent philosophy: IMPROVE YOUR DAMN TEAM!!
    ..We have one stinking starting spot to Fill, SAFETY, put this damn problem to bed and fill it with an upgrade we can count on….the rest of the signings can be all cheap batting average depth guys for all I care.

    Qaulity Safety and Donnie Jones…get it done, no more EXCUSE and the god damn Namdi excuse is as old and as played out as us throwing snowballs at flash, NNamdi ain’t the only FA we ever signed!!

  • nicolajNN

    Also, NFL agents have another name this time of year, esp. when there are reports of interest in their client: "League source."— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) March 9, 2014

    • GEAGLE

      Yup..just like Anthony Spencer pretending 7 teams have interest in his client lol..good luck with the prove it deal you eventually sign!

  • Bob Brewer

    It doesn’t seem like the pass rusher is coming.

    • GEAGLE

      Which means zimmer lost Micheal Johnson to Lovie and the Bucs,,..better call up Miami and ask about Dion again, because the pass rush market has evaporated

  • Weapon Y

    The only safeties who know how to tackle are Byrd and Ward. Everyone else is as bad as Chung or worse. I’ll be mad as hell if the front office is cheap again.

    • Patrick

      I love Jairus Byrd but tackling is not his strong suit my friend. He is not as bad as Chung or Mike Mitchell, but he is no where near the tackler that Ward or Malcolm Jenkins is.


        What are you talking about?? Just coz everyone knows Byrd is a ball hawk that doesnt mean hes not a good tackler.. Check is rating n stats when it comes to tackling.. He pretty solid.. Byrd may not be a hitter like Mitchell, Chung or Ward but hes an efficient tackler

  • mksp

    Christ, this board turns into TATE during FA, doesn’t it?

    Can’t wait until the Eagles win a Super Bowl in 2016 (or maaaaybe 2015) without signing either TJ Ward or Byrd or INSERT BIG NAME PLAYER HERE LETS GET HIM DAWKINS FOR LIFE.

    I’m going to go ahead and trust that Chip and Howie get the job done here doing things the right way. I’m down with their process. Let the simple minded fans gnash their teeth about not getting TJ Ward all they want.

    • anon

      Sure everyone wins a superbowl without superstars.

  • GermanEagle

    The question that Howie R. will have to ask himself: would I rather pay Byrd or Ward up to 9-7.5 Mio / year or a ‘second tier’ free agent like Jenkins or Mitchell up to 7-5 Mio / year…

    • Anders

      I doubt Jenkins or Mitchell get that kind of money, but if then, it is Byrd all the way

      • GermanEagle

        Look what Griffen just got from the Vikings. This guy has played only 60% of the defensive snaps and still got PAID.

        Though I understand there’s a difference in value between DE and S, I will not be surprised if a team gives Jenkins or Mitchell a contract with an average of around 6 Mio/year. I just don’t hope it will be the Eagles…

        • Anders

          A starting DE in a 4-3 plays around 60-80%, so that is not out of line (the elite DEs might play a little more).

          Also the tag for a DE is 13 million where it is 8.4 for a safety (new safety deals have really jumped this). A similar deal for a safety relative to the tag would be around 5.4 million.

          The question is then, is Griffin the DE version of a Jenkins or better/worse?

    • austinfan

      Also depends on the guaranteed money and how it’s structured.
      If Byrd wants a big bonus (i.e. lot’s of dead money) he may not be cutable for 3-4 years even if he flops, while someone with what looks like a big 5 year deal has no dead money and can be dumped after a couple seasons at little cost.

  • GermanEagle

    Vikings re-signed DE Everson Griffin, as @RapSheet reported. Told it’s a 5-year, $42.5 million deal that includes $20 mil gtd, per source.

    Wow, if a guy like Griffin gets THAT kind of contract then I do wonder if the Eagles sign any free agent at all… 😉 *jk

    • GEAGLE

      If that kid plays on a good defense he will be worth every penny…def one of the guys who’s best ball is still ahead of him. Talented player

    • SteveH

      I gotta agree, that’s an incredible contract for a guy who has yet to prove himself as a top shelf pass rusher. Vikings must be really confident his best years are ahead of him.

  • philliesfan136

    It’s IRONIC how all the players in free agency this year, Who are being touted as ” GOOD FITS ” , and ” FIT THEIR SYSTEM ” by the Eagles lap dog cronies, are players, ( who just so happen to be ) ” mid tier / value ” players. Funny how that happens, huh ? Funny, how those ( HIGH PRICED – IN THEIR PRIME – PRO BOWL ) type players, just ( can’t / won’t ) fit the Eagles ” SYSTEM ” on defense. That is, just so convenient, for a team that doesn’t want to ( OVER PAY ) in free agency …… isn’t it ? Yes, Tommy, I love those players that are ( low level ) free agents, who are EASY going, and DON’T have a large ego. A LARGE ego, in itself, does not define, whether or not a player, can fit into a cohesive team unit, or be a divisive force, within the team. A persons ” EGO “, can be described as defining his ( self confidence ) or, it can be defined as his image of his ( self importance .) It is ( my opinion ) that the NFL, Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, is full of busts, of players, who had large ego’s. I also believe that the 2011 and 2012 teams were undermined and set up to fail, more so by the coaching staff ( i.e. – wide nine coach – Jim Washburn, offensive line coach / defensive coordinator – Juan Castillio ( a unmitigated joke ) and Bobby ” trash can ” April. ) This was in addition to the head coach himself, who abandoned everything that he had done in the previous years, which had provided, scheme and staff stability. Finally, I believe that the players signed in free agency in 2010, and especially 2011, didn’t play well because they were terrible players ……. NOT BECAUSE, I do not believe that they ( became ) terrible players ( BECAUSE ) they didn’t ( FIT ) together.