Free Agency Strategy

Posted: March 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 156 Comments »

Free agency starts next week. The Eagles have the money to be big players. They clearly have holes on the roster so logic would tell you they could go spend some money on big free agents to shore up the roster.

But is that the smart thing to do?

The Eagles signed several big name free agents in 2011 and got very mixed results. Last year the team went a different route and focused on mid-level guys. The results were much better. One of the big differences in the groups was character. The Eagles got team guys last March. Connor Barwin, team leader. Cary Williams, team leader. Bradley Fletcher, good locker room guy. Even a player like Isaac Sopoaga who flopped was a good locker room presence.

I’m real curious to see how Howie Roseman handles free agency this time around. Last year the Eagles were making a big transition on defense and they needed volume. They were smart to go after several mid-level guys rather than a couple of stars. The circumstances are different this year. The needs are more specific. Targeting high dollar players makes more sense.

But you do have the Chip Kelly factor. He wants the right kind of players. Kelly needs guys that will buy in to his program. Not all free agents are open-minded. Many come with a major sense of entitlement, which is greatly helped by the huge contract the team just handed them. The scouting department will put together detailed reports on the free agents, but just as important as their play on the field will be what kind of guys they are.

I have no idea if Jairus Byrd is a good guy or flaming jerk. Kelly was the offensive coordinator at Oregon during Byrd’s final 2 seasons there. They won’t be close, but Kelly will have some idea what kind of guy Byrd is. That will affect the Eagles interest. Safeties like Mike Mitchell, Chris Clemons, Malcolm Jenkins and Thomas DeCoud could be total mysteries to Kelly. The Eagles will have some info on them, but there will be some guessing involved.

OLBs like Brian Orakpo and Jason Worilds will probably be mysteries as well. You can bet the Eagles will do lots of research on them.

Howie Roseman is aggressive. That’s just the kind of person he is. But he’s not reckless. He’s shown that he can sit back and be conservative in the draft and free agency. He prefers making big moves, but you can’t force them. And after the success of the last 2 drafts and last year’s free agency, I’m sure Roseman is trying to learn from what he did right in those cases.

The Eagles have signed some elite free agents over the years and gotten great results. The Andy Reid era wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without Jon Runyan at RT. The Eagles made him the highest paid OL in league history back in 2000. That was money well spent. The Eagles don’t go to the Super Bowl without Jevon Kearse. The Eagles got good production from Asante Samuel. You can hit home runs in free agency. You just have to understand that the misses can be very painful. Stacy Andrews is not a beloved name in Eagles history.

My guess is that the Eagles will be aggressive, in a controlled fashion. They will target a couple of high dollar players and will go after them. The Eagles won’t be afraid to walk away, though. I don’t think there is anyone on the market that you just hand a blank check to. I can’t stress enough that I think Kelly wanting the right kind of guys will impact the moves. The players brought in last year were all grinders and they fit the culture. The Eagles were a real “team” and that felt like a tangible part of their success.

I can’t wait to see how Roseman and Kelly handle free agency this year. With every move they make, we learn a little bit more about the new way of doing business. Next week should be pretty interesting.

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156 Comments on “Free Agency Strategy”

  1. 1 Alex Karklins said at 8:44 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I think that Safety is the new premium position in the NFL, based upon simple supply/demand principles. The number of excellent safeties mirrors the number of true franchise QBs, in my opinion. Players like Byrd and Ward will command top dollar, and teams shouldn’t hesitate to pay them if they truly want to improve their secondaries. Byrd has proven that he can play, and the Eagles can afford him, especially without a franchise QB salary weighing them down. It just makes sense to me to go get him, then focus on pass rushers in the draft.

  2. 2 Tom W said at 11:12 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I agree completely especially since we have nothing invested in safety money wise —- literally nothing and have a boatload invested in olb atleast for another yr

  3. 3 Scott J said at 8:47 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Byrd is different from the free agents of 2011. They were old, Byrd is young with a lot in the tank. They just need to do a thorough character check on this guy and make sure he’s not going to coast once he gets his big payday.

  4. 4 Tom W said at 11:14 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Good point. he is only 27. has the size weight and speed measurables chip wants. just cant pay him FU money. if he wants FU money then he can go play for the raiders or deadskins or jags. If he wants market money, and to play for his ole ball coach, and play for a contender….then he should sign here. If he wants big money for big money sake … then we can walk away and look at Ward or a mid tier safety like clemons or jenkins or stevie brown.

  5. 5 barneygoogle said at 2:01 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Watch out. Byrd has the lis franc sprain (?) injury in his recent past, I think, to both feet. That can wreck a career. Commit 30 mill to him and maybe kill your future. Do we know his medical prognosis?

  6. 6 Tom W said at 2:03 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    not lisfranc. it was reported as plantar fascillitis … and he miraculously got all better in week 6 when he wouldve risked losing his entire years salary. his feet are fine. it was a minor injury at best

  7. 7 barneygoogle said at 4:44 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I hope you’re right, but I’m leary of paying this guy big bucks when he got well– just as a contract issue kicked in. I prefer the Conner Barwin types who work hard, play for the team, and come at mid level salary. Give me the mid-cost over-achievers.

  8. 8 Sb2bowl said at 4:47 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Absolutely– “give me the mid-cost over-achievers”……

    Guys that still have something to work for and prove, even though they’ve been in the league for a few years. Those guys, they work, they listen, you can coach them……. and they don’t expect $10 million a year.

    I loved our strategy last year for FA, and I’m hoping for a similar crop of FA’s this year.

  9. 9 Tom W said at 4:49 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Why? Bills tryied to screw the kid by franchising him to a one year deal … if he tears his knee he is screwed. He played it smart. doesnt mean he is a bad guy.
    furthermore, barwin’s deal is alot of money. eagles protected themselves but we still spend alot to get barwin. wasnt a midlevel deal.
    finally, how did that midlevel overachiever work out for chung and philips? We have the money. why wouldn’t we spend it. we can still carry over ten mil and sign foles and the kids in 1-3 yrs w the cap increase and natural attrition of older players like celek herramins williams and ryans by the time all the kids need new contracts. cap isn’t the issue. the issue is overpaying which i am not condoning just proper value for a top 3 safety.
    CHip knows the kid. if we sign him, means chip is confident he is a player and has good character. if we dont, then chip thought otherwise. Otherwise, im deferring to chip. he knows the kid better than all of us.

  10. 10 Maggie said at 7:54 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Except or seeing him sitting on the ground at the Pro Bowl, in obvious pain.

  11. 11 Maggie said at 11:06 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    In 2011 Nnamdi was 28 and DRC was 24 or 25. Byrd is 27.

  12. 12 Scott J said at 1:14 PM on March 4th, 2014:

    Asomugha turned 30 the first season he played for us. DRC wasn’t a FA, we traded for him.

  13. 13 Tumtum said at 8:52 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I would probably be gun shy from high priced FA. Then again if I were GM we would have Brian Urlacher Chad Johnson and somehow Larry Fitzgerald.

  14. 14 BreakinAnklez said at 1:09 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Urlacherzzzzz!!!!!

  15. 15 mheil said at 9:07 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    orapko and byrd are good players who would improve the Eagle defense, but it would be a mistake to pay them like great players. it could cause resentment in the locker room and create salary cap issues the next couple of yrs when the 2012 and 2013 rookie contracts will expire; if Foles comes close to last yrs play, he will demand a hugh contract, and there is also Cox, Kendricks, Boykin and others.

  16. 16 Media Mike said at 9:33 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I don’t think a big deal for Byrd would do so because we don’t have a comparable guy in our D-back group worth that money. I totally see your point on Orakpo however.

  17. 17 Tom W said at 10:53 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    cap wont be an issue we can sign a big deal for byrd or ward, front load and with the natural attrition of aging players off the rosters in two yrs like celek herramins ryans and williams and the expected uber growth of the cap to 150 mil in 2 yrs along w the eagles still being able to carry over ten million this w a byrd signing the money for foles and whomever will be there. btw cox and kendricks have a long ways to go before we sign them to long term deals. Cap is not an issue … howie has that under control w ease.

    seeing as we have sucked horribly for safety for 5 yrs I dont see how anyone will resent a strong signing like byrd for market rate. Barwin got a big deal last year … I don’t see how byrd is any different except his guaranteed money will be more. Beyond that, Chip knows him and ward … should know if they will mesh or not.

    its not often an elite player at a position of need becomes available via free agency let alone just an elite player. Byrd is that guy. Ward isnt far behind. Verner is an elite corner and young. Jimmy Graham fits to but a much greater cost. this free agent market is really shaping up to be something special.

  18. 18 barneygoogle said at 9:44 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Nice column, but I think the fact that Roseman paid so much to lock up his own players tells me the Birds preferred spending money there. I think he will bring in a couple of mid-level safeties with upside. Maybe OLB Worilds if the price is right. It would be interesting if he went after a placekicker. And try and steal Dion Jordan for B Graham and a pick.
    But we gotta get some safety help. I’d draft Calvin Pryor–but he may not be there at 22. Hell, I’d take Richard Pryor! Thank God master “capologist” Joe Banner is no longer making these decisions…

  19. 19 Tom W said at 11:03 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    we still have 22 million under the cap … and another 6 mil coming when we cut avant and chung … let alone redo djax and lower his number.

    Next yr we have thornton and foles a yr early (if we want a discount).

    following yr we have boykin and kendricks maybe if they keep up their play.

    following yr is cox bc first rounders have a longer deal if he steps up his play and earns a new deal.

    Thats almost 30 million. 4 mil for rookies and carry over max of ten million. thats 16 million we just aren’t going to spend so lurie can keep it? Why wouldn’t we target atleast one elite free agent like byrd, ward, verner, shit even jimmy graham … all are young and entering their prime. we have next to nothing invested in the safety position even adding byrd and starting wolfe and drafting buchanon in the second and keelan as your 4th safety and we still spending less than 10 mil on 4 safeties. Howie has said if we can get the player for proper market value (and not overpay) he has no problem signing an elite player.

    What he doesn’t want to do is pay a good player great money (like decker or rjf or krueger or gholdson last year) or a great player obscene money (like revis got). If byrd (or verner or ward to a lesser extent) would accept market rate for a top 3 safety on a contender (5 for 43 for 22-28 mil guaranteed) we could easily fit that in and turn a horrible position to an elite position. There is no other position where we could improve our team more. our corners are still capable and signing byrd makes them even better bc they can actually press.

  20. 20 barneygoogle said at 1:41 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Byrd has had foot problems–I’d be wary of him unless the contract has very little guaranteed money. I’m real happy with Connor Barwin and Bradley Fletcher, and we got them without massive spending— BUT, somebody really a good fit could be cut at the last minute–so I’m always open to spend big for the right guy. I just don’t see anybody worth big bucks right now. No more Nnamdis’. God, was he a disaster at corner.

  21. 21 Maggie said at 7:59 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Do NOT pay a 27-year-old with bad feet for 5 years! Two years at the most. With safety becoming more glamorous and better paid, more young guys will want to play the position and in 2 years there will be a whole crop of younger, faster and cheaper safeties coming from college.

  22. 22 DanJ3645 said at 11:49 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I could see the internal signings as prep for a major FA signing.
    The FO has shown they’ll pay home grown players. So players looking for a contract next year wont/might not feel aggrieved with a major signing next week.

  23. 23 Tom W said at 1:06 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Very very good point. we made good and kept our word and re-upped an over 30 stud in peters, and two late round draft picks in cooper and kelce, and reupped a high pick coming off a major acl injury. Howie kept his word to all of them.. I dont think our Front office could bend over backwards anymore for the existing team except filling the black hole that is our safety spot w a stud and help the corners and pass rushers out at the same time.

  24. 24 Sb2bowl said at 5:07 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    We don’t just need a “stud” safety though…. we need multiple players for both positions. As Howie stated about the WR situations– “you have to be careful with the amount of resources you designate for 1 position”….

    I think it applies here as well; if we sign a “stud” for $8 million a year (could be more)…. then we have 3 safeties on our roster (Wolff, Chung). Do we try to draft 2? What happens if someone gets hurt?

    2 mid-level FA’s (or 3?) would be a (less splashy) safer way to fill a need; this way if we have a safety as BPA, we can draft him at a spot where we get value for the pick, rather than over drafting him (see Jarrett, 2011) and losing value.

    A “stud” safety would be nice, but isn’t necessary at this point of building our team.

  25. 25 Tom W said at 5:55 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    We have little to no resources in safety 500k to wolfe nothing to chung if we cut him and 500k in keelan. average nfl team spends 9 million a year on 4 safeties w 12 teams spending from 10 mil to 14 million.

    if we give byrd 8.5 wolfe keelan draft buchanon in the second that is still only ten million. if you want a 5th safety on the 53 (doubtful) for st resign coleman for the minimum of 750k. or sign a ufa.
    You could worry about injuries at every position. you would think our second rounder safety damn sure better be ready to spot start bc of injury.
    look at our safeties last year we went with .. chung allen wolfe coleman anderson … two average vets a rookie and two guys who cant play safety in the nfl for more than a few plays.

    Signing a jenkins and say clemons is going to cost you atleast 5 mil each if not 5.5 that’s 11 million for two average guys. personally i’d rather roll w byrd and wolfe and a second rounder and chung or keelan as the 4th safety … jenkins could be as bad as chung and clemons could just be another nate allen.
    Didn’t say the stud is necessary I just dont see any other better or more effective way we are going to spend the extra money we have … we re-upped everyone .. can still carry over money … we have a gaping hole at safety and can sign a all pro. there isnt any all pro olbs. we aren’t signing a stud dl when we have all the kids. our offense is set. and I personally think the team likes our corners for atleast another year —- especially if you get a good safety to sit behind them so they can press. I dont understand what we are scared off. Chip knows the kid better than anyone else in the league … if he says he is a good character then why wouldn’t we make a good push at him? if he doesn’t like him, them okay I am w Chip. but the pupu platter of free agents isnt really helping our team this year bc we dont have 6 holes on defense at starting spots like we did last year. we have one

  26. 26 Maggie said at 8:00 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    With such intense competition, Byrd will not sign for $8.5.

  27. 27 Tom W said at 8:33 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Intense competition from who. Winless teams w a lot of money. He already passed on buffalo why would he settle for the raiders or jags. I don’t see any contender except maybe colts outbidding us. It’s about guaranteed money not yearly salary

  28. 28 Maggie said at 11:10 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Check out who is desperate for a safety. Most coveted position in the league right now.

  29. 29 Mike Roman said at 9:53 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    If we’re not going to make a strong play for Byrd I don’t know why we aren’t trying to re-sign Nate Allen. He was serviceable, if nothing else. Actually, him and Wolff looked like they were starting to get something going there for a few weeks. I would imagine that playing side by side with Chung didn’t make his job easy either. I mean, right now we have Wolff and Chung under contract. I can’t imagine Chung coming back so that leaves us with one safety. Allen would be worth bringing back to compete with Wolff opposite of whomever we bring in in FA or the Draft. Damn I want Calvin Pryor though.

  30. 30 TheRogerPodacter said at 10:01 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    i’m also surprised by this. it would seem to fit the trend of the last few years – sign a mid-tier FA to a reasonable contract JUST IN CASE you don’t get the guy you want in the draft OR if the guy you get in the draft doesn’t pan out.
    i think it is very similar to Sopoaga. We brought in a guy that could hold the position down in a very unspectacular way. we HOPE we get another young guy in the draft and we HOPE that he can take his place mid season or sooner.

    but maybe there are a lot of FA safety’s out there this year and the FO feels they can both upgrade the position AND bring in a new guy if he is BPA, i dunno. maybe we tried to bring him back and Nate or his agent wanted to test the FA waters first?

    I think it would be foolish to not bring in *someone* in FA to fill the hole in the roster. having a body to fill the position that is better than Chung gives us room to take BPA in the draft.

  31. 31 theycallmerob said at 10:01 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    with you until the last sentence (well, at least not in the 1st rd).
    I’d take Allen over mitchell, clemons, jenkins and the lot

  32. 32 A Roy said at 11:07 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Perhaps Allen thinks he has more value than the Eagles think he does…

  33. 33 Tom W said at 11:08 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    perhaps the eagles know he is an average talent and want no buisness resigning him based on the fact they resigned everyone else and their mother and not a peep about nate.

  34. 34 Sb2bowl said at 5:10 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I’d like to see them sign Nate, and Jenkins. Have Wolff (and yes, Chung) on the roster, add a draft pick…… see what shakes out after rosters are cut down during training camp.

    I think Chung could be an asset as our 3rd or 4th safety and ST player….. but with regular playing time, he gets exposed.

  35. 35 Tom W said at 11:07 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    wasnt impressed at all w the 3 games i watched of pryor last year. i saw a fast safety always looking to come downhill and make a big sometimes illegal hit but poor tackling and never cover in man against a te or slot wr.

    his measurables really scare me when I heard he dropped from 6 2 to 5 11. now he isnt a physical freak anymore.

    and then he went out and had an average combine and didn’t meet any of the historical numbers for an elite safety prospect.

    I think both him and haha are overrated and going to get overdrafted. pryor is your box safety in a league that doesnt really need box safeties anymore.

  36. 36 Anthony Hart said at 11:23 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    How do you know that they haven’t tried to re-sign him? Maybe they’re waiting for free agency to start so they can gauge what kind of money will be needed to sign him. Maybe Nate wants to wait for free agency to see if he can get more from another team.

  37. 37 Mike Roman said at 12:26 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I’m basing that off of having heard nothing regarding the situation. I could totally be wrong, that’s for sure. But there were whispers of all of the other negotiations before they happened.

  38. 38 BreakinAnklez said at 1:13 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    We also didn’t hear a peep about Peters, Ced or Kelce. Coop wasn’t the priority, Maclin was. Just bc we havnt heard anything doesn’t mean talks aren’t happening.

  39. 39 Mike Roman said at 1:43 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I don’t know. I heard about Kelce negotiations. You’re right on Peters. We heard about Maclin and Coop. We didn’t hear about Ced but I think everyone knew we’d tender him a contract.

    Anyway, I don’t know for sure that we haven’t had talks with Allen. There just seems to be this feel that we’re looking to move on. Trust me, I hope that isn’t the case. My entire point is that I think it would be good to have him back.

  40. 40 BreakinAnklez said at 3:14 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Ah. I didn’t hear about anyone outside Coop and Mac. I agree we need to resign Allen, not remotely comfortable going into the season with Chung and Wolff…also don’t want to force a draft pick. Nate knows the system, and despite what everyone wants to believe, was serviceable. I still want to upgrade, but wouldn’t mind keeping him around either.

  41. 41 Sb2bowl said at 5:08 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I think they will let Nate test the waters– but hopefully we bring him back. I liked the kid, and he started to show some confidence after the train wreck which was also known as NFL seasons 2011 and 2012

  42. 42 Flyineagle45 said at 10:01 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I think we should get new jerseys in free agency! 🙁 why does everyone else get to change them except us. I think we should focus on our front make sure the pass rush is there. Don’t need top flight safeties and corners if the QB is running for his life often.

  43. 43 Tom W said at 1:07 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    supposedly chip is trying but it takes two years or something like that.

  44. 44 mksp said at 1:41 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Did you read this somewhere? Haven’t heard anything about it, but curious. Would love new uniforms.

  45. 45 HazletonEagle said at 10:11 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    As long as we sign a kicker Im happy in free agency.

  46. 46 TheRogerPodacter said at 10:14 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    we need a punter too! bring back Donnie Football! : P

  47. 47 HazletonEagle said at 10:17 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Youd think that shouldnt have to be said. I wonder what has prevented them from doing a deal with him already. I agree. Bring him back.

  48. 48 TheRogerPodacter said at 10:18 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    i think he was brought here on a 1 year deal and the new CBA prohibits teams from re-signing those players until FA starts.

  49. 49 HazletonEagle said at 10:27 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    ah. makes sense. hopefully he signs at 12:01 then.

  50. 50 iceberg584 said at 10:19 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    “The Eagles don’t go to the Super Bowl without Jevon Kearse.” Is this a commonly-held belief? I know he was a big part of the scheme against Vick in the NFCCG, but I think that 2004 team still wins the NFC without Kearse.

  51. 51 Mike Roman said at 10:41 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Also, I think a guy named Terrell Owens had a big part in that too.

  52. 52 A Roy said at 11:04 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    As did 5, but it IS a team game. Kearse played a roll. So did my avatar.

  53. 53 Tom W said at 11:27 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    did your avatar play in the superbowl … remember him being very quite that game while deion branch ate us alive under neath for 12 catches

  54. 54 A Roy said at 11:30 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    And just who got us there?
    I don’t remember the specific schemes from a decade ago, but in a 1-deep, it’s incumbent on the SS and LBs to cover the short stuff.

  55. 55 Tom W said at 11:36 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    not debating that whatsoever … him and TO and 5 and the oline got us there.
    just watched that superbowl too many times and never see him show up on tape. Honestly I think its pretty obvious the pats knew our blitzes in the second half and as a result called 12 routes to branch at the hot wr. that is no coincidence. was just hoping for one big play from dawk to counter what rodney harrison did.

  56. 56 Anders said at 11:48 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    For me sadly, the two most disappointing games of Dawkins career for me was the SB and the NFCCG against the Cardinals

  57. 57 Tom W said at 12:30 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    astute observation.

  58. 58 BobSmith77 said at 12:41 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Reality is that Dawkins was pretty much a no-show and not much of a factor in a lot of the high-profile Eagles’ playoff losses over the course of his career.

    He didn’t do much in the SB vs Pats and got abused on a couple of plays badly in the NFC Championship game vs Cards.

  59. 59 Jernst said at 1:24 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    He also was damn good in some others. He really set the tone in the Atlanta game with that hit on Crumpler. Years earlier he knocked Vick out with broken ribs after that long scramble. He picked off Favre twice in Divisional games, sealed the 4-26 game with an INT. He played really well in the Divisional win at Chicago that one year. And, the NFCCG losses against Carolina (the D gave up like 10 points, can’t really blame Dawk on that one, and the Bucs game was lost by slow footed MLBs and Safeties not named Brian Dawkins who couldn’t keep up with Joe Jurevicious.

  60. 60 ACViking said at 1:07 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    A –

    Hope you see this.

    Disappointing in what way? Sub-Dawk performance? Or that the Eagles lost?

  61. 61 Tom W said at 1:08 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    think he is saying sub-dawk performance based on my comment he responded too. makes sense.

  62. 62 Anders said at 2:41 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    The Eagles was often only going as far as Dawkins and McNabb could carry them. Sadly Dawkins underperformed in two the biggest games.

  63. 63 RobNE said at 12:33 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    maybe if we knew their plays too it would have been more fair.

  64. 64 Tom W said at 12:36 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    or maybe if they just played it straight instead of videotaping jim johnson calling in our defensive schemes and blitzes in the first half and then calling a middle screen dump to branch 12 times in the second half every time we blitzed.

  65. 65 Anders said at 11:28 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Kearse gave us a huge boost in the pass rush.

  66. 66 iceberg584 said at 1:03 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Of course, but Derrick Burgess had a stronger postseason than Kearse.

  67. 67 ryan pertl said at 11:01 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Why do people love to deal in absolutes? The ‘Dream Team’ failed and we happened to have a good year after signing mid-level players, therefore we should never sign big name players again. Seriously? The notion that either extreme should be taken up as an absolute strategy is silly. It’s too fluid of a situation to pigeonhole yourself like that. Let’s also not kid ourselves into believing that those FA signings are the reason we achieved what we did. Most of our FA contributors were on the defensive side of the ball. Offense carried this team. You can’t take the team’s overall success and attach it to our FA strategy last season without context.

    I also take issue with the fact that you said Byrd isn’t great. He is arguably the best S in the league. I remember reading an article shortly after the season that talked about the effect Byrd has on that defense. In games he didn’t play their pass defense was bottom ten in the league and when he played it was top ten (something along those lines).

    Having said all of this… I don’t know if we go after the top guys (Byrd and Ward) because I could see both of them demanding insane contracts. However, I think that if we are outbid on those S’s then we need to address the position very early on draft down. It is the only glaring weakness on this roster.

  68. 68 Tom W said at 11:11 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    well said

  69. 69 Ashley Fox said at 11:07 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Eagles intent on trading DeSean Jackson
    by Ashley Fox, ESPN

    In a story posted earlier this week, Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com speculated that the Philadelpha Eagles may be interested in trading wide receiver DeSean Jackson. ESPN was able to confirm that story today via a team source. The source reported that the Eagles think it will be an advantage to go into the year with only a potential one-year-wonder in Riley Cooper and an untested torn ACL in Jeremy Maclin as the team’s starting wide receivers.

    In addition, the gaping hole left at the 3rd WR position won’t be an issue. Being forced to reach for a WR in the draft’s early rounds will fit in nicely with the team’s BNF(Biggest Need First) draft strategy that served them so well in 2011. And with Riley Cooper being the only WR left under contract for 2015, the Eagles will have maximum cap flexibility in trying to rebuild their WR corps.

    It’s clear that Jackson’s on and off field antics have worn thin with the team. Frequently, Jackson draws two defenders to his side of the field, leaving only one defender to account for Cooper or Maclin. Did Jackson never learn to share? And by preventing teams from stacking the box, he selfishly prevents LeSean McCoy from racking up more broken tackle stats.

    The report by Kempski garned some quick reaction from other media personalities around the league:

    Jason la Canfora: “It’s clear that the Eagles would have traded DeSean Jackson already, but no one in the league wants to deal with Howie Roseman.”

    Warren Sapp: “This article demonstrates the same level of journalistic intelligence and integrity that I bring every day to the NFL network.”

    Heath Evans: “Philadelphia Eagles’ signing of DeSean Jackson could be NFL’s worst ever.”

    Dan Graziano: “I promise Eagles fans this: Someday, you will have a WR who makes you say, “I can’t believe we tried to talk ourselves into DeSean Jackson!””

    Donovan McNabb: “Should the Eagles trade DeSean Jackson? Your Thoughts?”

    NY Times: “DeSean Jackson is the worst thing to happen in Philadelphia since they booed Santa”

    Mike Florio: “What kind of hack wrote this sensationalistic crap? He
    would be a great fit with the rest of the Profootball Talk staff.”

    Tommy “Pudding and Funyuns” Lawlor: “I kind of like Jimmy, so I didn’t want to write anything bad about him in my article.”

  70. 70 Tom W said at 11:10 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    very nice. doesnt make sense to me either. looks like it is creating a hole for no reason. I guess I would take a top 10 pick though for him.

  71. 71 Jernst said at 12:08 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    That was hilarious

  72. 72 disqus_jB7dl5fzvO said at 12:45 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I don’t think Warren Sapp even know what he said in his review. “Journalistic intelligence and integrity” is not in his vocabulary.

  73. 73 Mac said at 4:17 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    It’s essentially the same as McNabb’s. The difference is that Sapp pays his writer with $$$ and McNabb pays his writer with chunky soup.

  74. 74 Maggie said at 11:17 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    No wonder Sapp declared bankruptcy.

  75. 75 Tumtum said at 12:54 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    You know it is crazy that Jimmy’s sort of off-season, fun speculative piece did get run on Rotoworld too.

  76. 76 Maggie said at 11:15 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Rob? Richard?

  77. 77 Tom W said at 11:24 AM on March 3rd, 2014:

    1) Redo djax and get his cap number down to 8 mil (or if raiders want to give us a top 5 pick okay)

    2) sign donnie jones

    3) sign byrd (or to a lesser extent tj ward or verner or vontae davis). 5 yrs 43 mil 24 mil guaranteed.

    4) cut avant and chung and think hard about casey.

    5) tender thornton

    6) sign corey graham or ej biggers as a 4th corner or hybrid safety/corner.

    7) sign alex carrington or ropa pititiou as versatile dl who are young wont break bank great against run and can fit nicely in the dl rotation at 5tech.

    8) think about jon asomuah if we can steal him … very good young guard unexplicably benched by andy (after he reportedly wouldnt’t resign on the cheap). unlikely but can play center and guard, replace julian and push todd.

  78. 78 Jernst said at 12:10 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I actually really like your offseason plane. Kudos!

  79. 79 Tumtum said at 12:46 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Agree with all but 6, 9 and maybe 7. I only disagree with 6 because Graham will be getting much more than #4 corner and is really probably better than Bradley or William, if not undersized.

    Rob Jackson is a very nice pass rushing OLB. I would not mind picking him up at all. As foolish as the Redskins would be to let Orakpo go they would be just as foolish to let Jackson leave. I HAVE to believe if one leaves the other stays. If they let them both walk I will spin on my head. It is the Redskins though…

    I wouldn’t be surprised if someone didn’t give Jackson the opportunity to start though. I think I would still prefer Trent to him. His run stopping is really suspect, and I think it is pretty darn important for this defense to stop the clock eating offense.

  80. 80 Maggie said at 11:19 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Orakpo is not going anywhere.

  81. 81 Maggie said at 11:19 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Not bad compared to some wild scenarios I’ve read!

  82. 82 EaglesHero87 said at 12:12 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Re: “The Right Guy”

    We all know Chip Kelly prefers high-character guys, and it also helps that the player’s production shows on the field. Now, let’s say one of the “big-name” free agents like Jarius Byrd, for example, doesn’t quite meet Kelly’s level of standard in terms of character. And if the Eagles sign him, can we hope that the Chip Kelly Factor and the coaching staff turn that around?

    Whether Kelly knows Byrd during his final two seasons at Oregon is probably irrelevant at this point; what matters is how Kelly can change this guy into a playmaker and be a team player who enjoys playing for the Eagles hopefully for the next 4-5 years or so. Remember during Training Camp or Preseason last year (can’t remember which) when DeSean had trouble adjusting to Chip Kelly’s way, and when DeSean bought into his system, he had a career year. The same could theoretically be said for Byrd, or no?

  83. 83 Tumtum said at 12:40 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    You don’t give a guy a huge FA contract unless he is a perfect fit IMO. Its not worth another Nnamdi situation. That being said I have not heard anything negative about Byrd as a far as a locker room or off the field presence.

  84. 84 Jernst said at 12:25 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Eagles just resigned Thornton for 1 yr assumingly around the minimum. I’m a little shocked he didn’t get a longer deal. Perhaps it’s just a situation of him having no leverage and us wanting to have him as cheap as possible next year and we’ll eventually lock him up long term. But, with so much cap space, if he’s really in the long term plans, why not lock him now? Does anyone else see this as a potential to save some cap space for this years big FA signing or am I looking too deep into it?

  85. 85 Tumtum said at 12:35 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I would be shocked if they hadn’t tendered him an offer. Good to see that they got it done though. Not very common a restricted FA gets a great deal since it is so cost effective to pay them what you have to.

  86. 86 ICDogg said at 12:43 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Using the ERFA tag all the Eagles had to do was offer him a minimum qualifying offer (which I think is 110% of his 2013 compensation). This is a low cap number already.

  87. 87 Jernst said at 1:02 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Yea I get all that. I’m just looking at it by who had an incentive to do the deal this way and what those incentives were. If we believe Chip when he says Thornton was playing the best defensive ball on the team, we would assume, ultimately, that they would want to lock him up long term. With thornton being an UNdrafted FA who has played for minimum contracts his entire career I would assume he’d have incentive to sign a long term deal w some guaranteed money to set himself up w financial stability. So if both sides want a long term deal and the player would probably take a long term deal that was below market value since he has no financial security and no bargaining power being an exclusive rights FA, why do a 1 yr prove it deal? Why give Thornton another yr to increase his value and put off the long term extension till next yr when he’ll have infinitely more bargaining power as an unrestricted FA? My only thoughts are either he’s not in the long term plans or the eagles are happy to pay more next yr in order to save space this year for a potential splash in FAs. Or maybe I just over thought this…

  88. 88 Tumtum said at 1:12 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Well firstly he is still completely under team control even next off-season. They do not have to sign him to a long term deal. Secondly, it appears that the way they are taking advantage of current cap space is by front loading contracts. This will keep the cap space larger later. They have just signed 4 guys to deals this year. Next they want to allocate resources for FA.

    I don’t agree he has any more leverage as a restricted FA. They offer him a deal that has a draft compensation associated with it. He has to accept. Another team can sign him away, but that has happened like once in the last 10 years? (didn’t we try to sign a LBer..) The Eagles would be allowed to match any qualifying offer made by another team as well.

  89. 89 Jernst said at 1:20 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Yea…just realized he’ll be a RFA next year, I thought he would be unrestricted next year. So disregard everything I said above. Howie just channeled his inner Banner and low balled the ish out of Thornton.

  90. 90 Tom W said at 1:48 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I thought that too .. resign him now while he hasn’t really exploded. problem with that is two fold. 1) what if he tears his knee, etc … and you resigned him a yr too soon gambling on upside 2) banner did the early signing thing a couple of times w guys — actually hurt us two ways — the guys that blew up and played well (sheldon, welbourn?) felt like banner tricked them and that they outplayed their contract and were grossly underpaid for 3-4 years; 2) a couple of guys never got any better and we wasted a chance to get a better player w that money and instead just signed a replaceable talent cheap (abiramiri, pinkston, fraley). believe it did work w cole though

  91. 91 D3FB said at 1:55 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I mean tagging players is still really cheap. The 2013 numbers were: ” a first-round tender would cost a team $2.88 million, a second-round
    tender would cost $2.02 million and an original-round tender would cost a
    team $1.33 million.”

  92. 92 Tumtum said at 4:12 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Oh yeah its not bad at all. Especially for the production you would expect to get from a player tendered even at the highest level. Its amazing to me top line RFA guys don’t have feeding frenzies for them.

  93. 93 Tom W said at 1:15 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    he will be a resricted free agent next year … still little to no bargaining power. could very easily do your cheap longterm deal next if he is in the cards. won’t be hard to sign a runstuffing 5 tech w little pass rush ability. those guys are pretty common place after the rookie deal expires.

  94. 94 Jernst said at 1:19 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    ah ha! That’s the missing piece of info I didn’t have. If he’s a RFA next year it makes some sense to do it this way for the Eagles. I thought he was an unrestricted FA next yr.

  95. 95 ACViking said at 1:05 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Seems like Roseman totally low-balled CT — which I note in the next full comment.

    Way to build up loyalty. (Sarcastic, obviously.)

  96. 96 Tom W said at 1:13 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I thought that too but I think its common place to take the erfa tender and use it unless the player is an uber stud and you worry about pissing him off. think about it this way — first round picks are locked up for 5 yrs. rds 2-7 4 yrs. thornton beat the odds but has only accrued two yrs so the eagles dont really look like bad guys. its just the way its done.

  97. 97 Jernst said at 1:17 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    True, just not sure how it benefits the Eagles to wait to negotiate his long term deal when he’ll have more leverage.

  98. 98 ACViking said at 1:01 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Re: Ced Thornton’s Future

    At the end of this season, Thornton became an “exclusive rights” free agent. His choices were to accept whatever the Eagles offered or retire. (Woo-hoo!)

    So Roseman offered Thornton the NFL minimum for 3rd-year players.

    Where’s all the love for home-grown players Roseman’s been talking about?

    Thornton’s done nothing but get better every season, be the best run defender on the team (which he’ll be next year), and play the role of 34 2-gap DE really well.

    So why did Roseman give Thornton a minimum contract? Not 10 cents more than a 2nd-string safety would have gotten.

    Is CT not in the Eagles’ long-term plans?

    Are the Eagles just desperate to save $100,000 on the cap?

    Or is Roseman really not all that much different from Banner?

    WHERE’S THE LOVE?!
    _____________

    EDIT: I meant to add . . . “unless the offer to CT was the only amount that could be tendered.”

  99. 99 Tumtum said at 1:06 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I think this is pretty much standard operating procedure, is it not? It should be more than he would of gotten had he gotten a 4 year deal as a UDFA as well, right? Is there precedent out there that a exclusive rights FA has ever cashed in during that year? This is essentially a team option to extend his rookie deal.

    I would think at most he could get a nice contract next off-season, but I would say it is hardly a given. This is the business of football. I don’t find fault with it. Am I off base?

  100. 100 Jernst said at 1:31 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Howies job is to maximize the value for the Eagles not to be Ced Thornton’s best friend. So no I have no problem with it. My only question is that, given that Ced’s most likely chomping at the bit for financial security you could potentially get an ascending player for pennies on the dollar if you offer him a 7 year deal with some guaranteed money. Not sure if he’ll have all that much more bargaining power next year, but we have the space to penny pinch him for years to come if we did the deal this year. So unless you’re really worried about saving cap dollars this year we might have given up some long term bargaining power to save minimal money this year. Seems weird. What if Thornton develops some pass rush moves and gets 4-6 sacks this year. That contract next year will be a lot heftier than it is now.

  101. 101 Tumtum said at 3:53 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I hear ya. I’m not even sure they can offer him an extension this year. Not sure exactly how it works…they may not be able to. If they did I certainly wouldn’t be upset. Though it seems they set their in-house money goals and accomplished em for this season. Front loading him next year or the following will keep the trend going and hopefully keep us in good cap shape for the future.

  102. 102 Rage114 said at 1:07 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I agree BUT the Eagles do also have a tendency to extend these young players that are still under their control after the season begins….Novemberish I think.

  103. 103 Jernst said at 1:27 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I just read somewhere that there has not been a single mid season extension since Roseman took over. That was a Banner thing not a Howie thing.

  104. 104 Media Mike said at 1:30 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    It isn’t necessary anymore due to the cap rollover provisions. The Eagles used to do that often in order to clear out bonus money from future cap numbers to save space.

  105. 105 Jernst said at 1:33 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Yea Banner was a real pioneer with the likely to be earned incentive trick used to roll money forward.

  106. 106 Tom W said at 1:17 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    he only accrued two years. most rookies are locked up 4 yrs and first rounders 5 years. he will be restricted free agent next year. can easily lock him up next year. standard operating procedure. howie would have been foolish to do it before next year — hell it may even create a problem where other guys on their rookie deals (like say boykin) ask for more money after two years.

  107. 107 Jernst said at 1:31 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Good point about precedent

  108. 108 D3FB said at 1:46 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    New CBA doesn’t allow for contract renegotiation until after the third season.

  109. 109 Tom W said at 1:55 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    even for undrafted players? i know that is the deal w foles and the kids. would let howie off the hook if you are right about non-drafted guys too.

  110. 110 D3FB said at 2:24 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Even with the UDFA’s who are on short contracts if its a two or three year deal, they will just be ERFA or RFA’s at the end of the contract.

  111. 111 Tom W said at 1:19 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Really comparing Howie to Banner … wow i hope that is sarcasm. CT is in longterm plans just no reason to resign him after two years accrued when you control him for two more years. maybe next year but he is still restricted. think its a nonissue. and we arent desperate to save …. roseman would have been foolish not to take advantage of the erfa w him locked up next yr as well

  112. 112 Mac said at 1:07 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Delusional… maybe (probably) but my main FA target is still Orakpo.

    A couple weeks ago this idea seemed crazier than it does today.

  113. 113 Tumtum said at 1:13 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    PFT just posted what they have been saying in DC for weeks. If a deal can’t be reached Orakpo will be franchised.

  114. 114 Mac said at 1:43 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    …aaand there goes the franchise tag. Dream over. Lol

  115. 115 ICDogg said at 1:55 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    so much for that idea…

  116. 116 Tumtum said at 3:54 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Always next year.

  117. 117 barneygoogle said at 1:58 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Anybody think it wise to instead go after Dion Jordan in a trade? He’s no 4-3 defensive end; he’s in the wrong system in Miami. Maybe we could find a way to eat up some of the Miami salary obligation in exchange for a lesser trade offer . Maybe B. Graham and a 3rd in 2015? Ray Didinger thinks Jordan is overrated, but I’ve read the Eagles front office loves him.

  118. 118 Tom W said at 2:04 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I think Didinger is overated. still better than most but his word isnt gospel. he wanted the eagles to draft felix jones and brandon pettigrew for god sake and liked watkins.

  119. 119 Mac said at 4:13 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    +1 for turn around on diddy.

  120. 120 Insomniac said at 3:49 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I’d do that deal in a heartbeat.

  121. 121 Insomniac said at 3:40 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I’d like to see if we have any interest in Alterraun Verner. Howie has been sneaky with CB signings so I’m not ruling out the possibility of getting Verner.

  122. 122 ICDogg said at 4:54 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    That would be an exciting move.

  123. 123 Tom W said at 5:16 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I like him but he will cost upwards of 11-13 million. he also doesnt fit our measurables. You would also have to sit fletch or cut him. not as great an upgrade over our replacement player(fletcher in this case) as byrd would be over other replacement player (chung still under contract.) Wonder why you would be for verner and so against byrd. the significance of corners is lessening year by year while the impact of safeties in the nfl is growing w the introduction of the spread te and specialization of the slot wr.
    I actually thought vontae davis would be more suitable but I was suprised to learn he was 5 11.
    I wouldn’t be upset if we got either but only after making a serious run at byrd.

  124. 124 eagleyankfan said at 3:54 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    yes — you need grinders but grinders alone do not = SB win. You need some elite(or close to elite) on D to win.

  125. 125 Bob Brewer said at 4:12 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    The Steelers just used the transition tag on Worilds, so he’s a RFA.

  126. 126 austinfan said at 4:29 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I don’t see Howie going after any big money signings, seriously, do you see a game changing FA out there that fits the Eagles schemes?

    Byrd – play maker with speed issues
    Ward – solid SS but no Chancellor

    If they’re looking for an $8+M a year deal, I can’t see it.

    And so on. There are plenty of solid players out there, that can add depth, and I think that’s how Howie’s gonna play it, Asomah for example could push Herremans at RG, good fit for a zone blocking scheme. Joseph, Jones, Houston, depending on their cost. Plenty of second tier safeties. And so on.

  127. 127 Sb2bowl said at 4:44 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I don’t see us signing another FA vet lineman, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see a 4-5th round pick in camp with us this year as insurance going forward.

    Can Tobin play guard? Is Kelly’s back healed up? How does Bamiro look this year? Lots of question marks on our younger guys, hopefully they continue to grow and show improvement this year as we get ready for the season.

  128. 128 Patrick said at 4:52 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I think you’re massively underrating TJ Ward, who in my opinion is one of the greater SS in the league. He is a tackling machine, good in coverage(very good this year) and a decent playmaker and I think he was a huge part and leader of a good Browns defense this year, which earned him some All-Pro talk. He does have a little injury issue, bit played 32 games the last 2 years and he is still 27, which means he will probably be good for another 5 years. I wouldn’t break the bank for Ward, but i would definitely sign him to a big contract(5 years around 35-45 mill, depending on how the guaranteed money is worked out).

  129. 129 Tom W said at 5:10 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Speed issues w Byrd? First I have ever heard that. he is arguably top 3 safety.
    Ward? sorry he isnt chancellor but seriously he is top 8 safety. its a valueless argument. I guess we shouldn’t sign foles bc he isnt aaron rodgers?
    Who are these safeties out there other than byrd and ward that are solid?? hitner is too old and will get atleast 7 mil a year … bethea is too old … clemons jenkins steve brown mccoud delmas are average non-difference makers and all run a risk like chung last yr before the season started. and they are all gonna cost atleast 5 mil a year most likely. why not spend the extra three million to get a young all pro at 27. this isn’t the dreamteam its not aging 30 yearolds.
    we dont even have that many holes at starting spots? one safety spot backup guard/center 4th corner backup olb where are we going to spend all this money??? why not put it on byrd? rather than a backup guard, average safety and 4th corner?? byrd’s impact is immense … you go from a position of weakness to very good in one signing.

  130. 130 GermanEagle said at 5:20 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Byrd is in fact a difference maker, and at the age of 27 he’s still got 4-5 elite years in his tank.

    Let me ask you this: how many playmakers like Byrd’s caliber will ever become UFA, let alone at a position of HUGE need for the Eagles?!

    If you don’t go after one of Byrd or Ward this year, then I don’t know when…

  131. 131 Arby1 said at 5:48 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I agree. Given all our travails trying to fill this position in recent years and given that there are only 2 top safeties in this year’s draft – both of whom have a good chance of being gone by the time we pick at 22, I think this is a good place to spend your money.

  132. 132 GermanEagle said at 6:39 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Exactly. I also cannot see the ‘don’t overpay’ argument any more. We should all be aware that we’re living in a time of increasing prices and salaries, with a constantly increasing salary cap as well. While you shouldn’t go out and hand blank checks to players randomly, you need to pick and focus on ‘special’ players, who are worth spending ‘more Money’ out of your pocket sometimes. And Byrd definitely fits that bill.

  133. 133 austinfan said at 10:47 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    You don’t draft for need and you don’t overpay in free agency for need – because once you start, you can always talk your way into becoming the next Redskins or Cowboys, “gee, one more guy will put us over the top.”

    It’s not just the cap hit, it’s also the clubhouse. One thing to make Peters a high paid LT, everyone on the Eagles knows he’s a special player with HOF type talent.

    Great safeties are impact players, but someone like Byrd couldn’t make a big impact until he got a lot of talent around him, Polamalu made the other safety on and the cornerbacks on Pittsburgh look better, the Indy defense was totally different when Bob Sanders was healthy. We saw the difference Dawk made in his prime. So to expect Byrd to come in and make a big difference is wishful thinking.

  134. 134 Arby1 said at 11:12 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I never said Byrd or Ward would put us over the top. I just think that given the dearth of good safeties out there, either in free agency or the draft, it’s a logical place to make an investment. I’m also not saying just write a blank check; they should make a good offer but with what Roseman calls his “walk away number”. Kelly should know both these guys, if they’re team guys – make a good offer. I don’t think teammates resent a player who’s all-pro and also a team guy and possible leader getting paid. (Of course, I don’t know if Byrd or Ward have their lunches in their cars…)

  135. 135 Phils Goodman said at 6:25 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    do you see a game changing FA out there that fits the Eagles schemes?

    Uh, yeah. Bryd. And Ward to a lesser extent. Are you really telling me that Davis’ scheme can’t accommodate safeties of their talent? Could you elaborate on that? I just find that notion highly dubious. What about the Eagles scheme makes those players sub-optimal fits?

    “Byrd has speed issues” — look beyond his 40 time. Incredible instincts have made Bryd one of the rangiest, best-closing safeties in the league for several years running.

    “Ward isn’t Cam Chancellor” — that strikes me as overly black-and-white thinking, making perfect the enemy of good, etc. I know Ward certainly isn’t Patrick Chung, Sean Jones, Nate Allen or Jarrod Page either.

  136. 136 austinfan said at 10:43 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Go look at Buffalo’s pass defense from 2010-2013, Byrd was the FS all four years, they improved because they added Mario, Dareus, Hughes to the pass rush and Gilmore, McKelvin and Aaron Williams to the CB core. In other words, without top talent around him, Byrd didn’t have a big impact.

    He’s a solid player, but far from a game changer.
    But he wants to be paid like an elite safety.
    Sorry, elite safety to me means Dawk, Ed Reed, Chancellor or Thomas. Not Byrd or Ward.

    Byrd turns 28 in October, I figure he’s good for 3 more seasons at a high level at best, by 31 he should lose a step he can’t afford to lose.

  137. 137 Phils Goodman said at 2:30 AM on March 4th, 2014:

    I think that shows that strong defenses require many good players. It is utterly unconvincing in regards to Byrd not being an “impact” player.

    I don’t see the point in comparing Byrd to retired players. Those aren’t his peers anymore. He’s a top 3-5 safety in the league. The semantics regarding arbitrary thresholds are meaningless. He’s an exceptional talent at his position regardless.

    I won’t complain if we “only” get three years of exceptional play from Byrd (although decline does not have to be a ball-or-nothing proposition). NFL contracts are easy to escape. See long term cap ramifications of Nnamdi contract disaster — there are none.

  138. 138 shah8 said at 4:38 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    What wrecked 2011 is:

    1) Hiring new coaches and changing the offense and defense to suit them, Mudd, that Juanita guy, and Juan becoming DC. That’s what hurt more than anything.

    2) Bad draft of fireman, when we probably should have gotten a free agent vet for ROG.

    3) Refusal to negotiate new contract for DJax, which resulted in “business decisions”.

    Without these issues, a lot of the free agent pickups would have been more productive, particularly DRC, VY, maybe Ronnie Brown. The issue with Nnamdi could have been covered up with “respect” and scheme for a lot longer.

    Flip side is that the 2012 unmasking of insufficient pass rush probably would have happened a bit in 2011, but I think we would have outscored that problem.

    That’s the context needed to know how to use free agency today. And right now, the really big problem is that we don’t have enough difference makers on defense. Given our draft position, that means paying real money for someone good. It’s up to Roseman and his team to scout well, not be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

  139. 139 Sb2bowl said at 4:42 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I would say the implementation of the Wide 9 was more devastating than the hiring of Juan to be our DC– Juan was near the middle of the road in most categories, even though the Wide 9 put tremendous and undue pressure on the secondary.

    Take the Wide 9 away, and I think history is a bit more kind to Juan and also to the end of the Reid era.

    What a ride, and what a crash………..

  140. 140 shah8 said at 4:47 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Juan didn’t actually know enough about what he was doing in order to fix anything when they were going wrong. NFL coaching is just not for novices. Bill Davis is not really a good DC, but when things are going right, he can get some results–because he’s a pro at his job!

  141. 141 TheRogerPodacter said at 5:05 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    i will agree with you on that point about Juan – come game time, when the other team changed things up a bit, the defense seemed VERY slow to react, if it did at all. and that falls squarely on the DC.
    i’m with Sb2bowl too in that the Wide 9 was just the beginning of the end for the D.

  142. 142 Maggie said at 11:32 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    A big chunk of blame falls squarely on the line coach who ignored everybody else on defense, including the DC.

  143. 143 Sb2bowl said at 10:18 AM on March 4th, 2014:

    I don’t agree with your statement “Juan didn’t know enough about what he was doing in order to fix anything…..”

    The whole situation was screwed up; when you have a positions coach doing his own thing, and players that play for themselves without a team mentality, its hard to make minor corrections…. nobody is buying into the system.

    I really don’t think the 1 1/2 years Juan was the DC in Philly gave an accurate view and picture of him as a coach and of his football IQ; Reid set him up to fail, and when we blew yet another 4th quarter lead, he was led out to pasture and collected a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens.

    We can agree to disagree, but Juan doesn’t stick in the NFL for 20 years as an OL coach without knowing how to problem solve

  144. 144 Maggie said at 11:31 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    The wide 9 and Washburn publicly deriding Juan.

  145. 145 ICDogg said at 5:00 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    So who do you like, S8? What difference maker on defense might we sign?

  146. 146 shah8 said at 5:59 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    There isn’t really one that I’d like to sign. I.e., there isn’t an obvious candidate. Remember, the defense last year had contributions from everyone. That means there is a high floor for everyone other than FS. Good free safeties, and safety play in general, however is dependent on good line play, and both premium safeties had pretty decent play in front of them. I’m not sure it’s worth it to sign Byrd or Ward without dealing with pass rusher as well. At the same time, the DL and LBs did do their jobs, just nobody but Cox is a real threat. Be bad if we sign someone to be better than Thornton or Trent Cole, and that turns out not to happen.

    Thus it’s really a complex desire in that I want Howie to both *scout* for good players, and *pay* them what they’re worth, specifically in the scheme Davis is comfortable with. If that means Avril, whoohoo! Whatever.

  147. 147 Aran said at 5:22 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    What do you think of Beathea?

  148. 148 GermanEagle said at 6:29 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Meh.

  149. 149 Phils Goodman said at 5:47 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    I think the “success” of the 2013 class has to be qualified a bit more. Barwin and Fletcher did a pretty nice job. Williams was up-and-down but overall mediocre at best. Casey, Chung and Sopoaga were total busts. Only took a flier on Phillips but he could not make the team. The overall “bang for the buck” on that package is pretty underwhelming. I’ll take the plunge on a premier player at a position of need like Byrd over that any day. And when you add it all up, I would not be surprised if the real total financial commitment is all that different.

  150. 150 Kd711 said at 5:51 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Phillips wasn’t cut. He tore an ACL and was put on IR.

  151. 151 Phils Goodman said at 6:06 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Think you’re confusing him with Benn. Phillips was simply unable to make a full enough recovery from his previous Giants injuries to make the team.

  152. 152 GENETiC-FREAK said at 6:09 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Jason Phillips the LB did his ACL n was put on IR.
    Kenny Phillips the S is the one who got cut if i remember right

  153. 153 Kd711 said at 6:13 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Oh Kenny Phillips. I thought you were talking about Jason Phillips.

  154. 154 Scott J said at 6:28 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Well, well, well…looks like Byrd and Ward will be hitting the FA market.

  155. 155 philliesfan136 said at 11:25 PM on March 3rd, 2014:

    Tommy Lawlor, I’m very sure that you are much more connected to people associated with the NFL, than any of us readers, but I think the answer of whether Jarius Byrd is a good fit for the Eagles ( per Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman ) has already been answered. Adam Caplan announced several weeks ago that the Eagles tried to trade for Byrd last year, after the Bills could not extend him and subsequently had to franchise him. I don’t know if they will spend the money that it will take, but the issue of the Eagles interest, is a NON issue. At this point …… it’s all about the benjamins’.

  156. 156 Dominik said at 10:30 AM on March 4th, 2014:

    “The Andy Reid era wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without Jon Runyan at RT. The Eagles made him the highest paid OL in league history back in 2000.”

    In 14 years, Tommy will write an article (the first one after he finally married Megan Fox) which quotes:

    “The Chip Kelly era wouldn’t have been nearly as successfull without Jairus Byrd at Safety. The Eagles made him the highest paid Safety in league history back in 2014.”

    Or am I a daydreamer? 😉