More Free Agency Talk

Posted: March 9th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 83 Comments »

Let’s review some happenings.

You’ve gotta love FakeWIPCaller.

Honestly, none of these reports should affect the Eagles in a major way. I’ve already written that Michael Johnson didn’t make sense as a target. He’s more of a 4-3 guy than a 3-4 guy and is better vs the run than as a pass rusher. Handing him big money would be awkward.

Griffen had too many unknowns for the Eagles to pay him big money. The Vikings know him and he’s a proven 4-3 commodity. Smart move to keep him.

I’m sure the Eagles have feelers out with Byrd, but aren’t interested in being part of bidding war.

The reports continue that the Eagles are heavily interested in Mike Mitchell, the Safety from the Carolina Panthers. This infuriates some of you because someone (probably PFF) has him missing the most tackles of anyone in the NFL. There is also the question of whether Mitchell is a one-year wonder that would be free agency fool’s gold.

Mitchell spent 4 years in Oakland and didn’t do anything. Well, he wasn’t a starter. Mitchell only started 9 games in that period, and never more than 4 in one season. That was a dysfunctional defense. Mitchell then signed with the Panthers, got on the field (14 starts) and posted some really impressive numbers. He is a one-year wonder. The question is why he didn’t play in Oakland. If the Eagles are showing heavy interest, they must feel comfortable that sitting in Oakland was a weird situation and not as much a reflection of Mitchell, his talent and his work ethic.

Before anyone goes too nuts…understand that the only news we have right now are leaked reports from agents. The Eagles have talked to his agent, but that doesn’t mean it is a complete lock that they will go after Mitchell on Tuesday. The Eagles could be focused on someone else and that interest is simply remaining silent. We have to wait and see.

I need to watch a couple of games tonight and do more detailed research on Mitchell. I didn’t see missed tackles as a major issue when I studied him the other day, but that’s definitely something to focus on tonight. That said…leading the league in missed tackles is an awkward stat. If you’re truly a bad player, you get benched after too many missed tackles. Or you could be like Jairus Byrd and be a very efficient tackler, but just limit how many times you actually attempt to make tackles.

Mitchell showed playmaking ability in 2013. Safeties rarely have 4 INTs and 4 sacks in a season. Dawk never did. That really is an impressive combo. Now understand those stats in context. Mitchell played on a very good defense. Not only was there talent around him, but he was given the chance to make plays. Sean McDermott learned how to creatively use a S from his time with Jim Johnson. You can’t count on Mitchell to post those numbers on any team or in any scheme. But Mitchell did have to make those plays. How many times over the years have we seen a player drop an INT or whiff on a sack attempt? Too much. Mitchell was put in position to make plays and he did. He is a physically gifted player with solid size (6-0, 210) and athletic ability.

Mitchell would be an upgrade for the Eagles. That’s enough for me to have interest in him.

One other thing has to be understood. The Eagles would not go sign him and then say…that’s it. Safety is solved for the next 5 years. They could still bring back Nate Allen. They could add another free agent. They could still spend a high pick on a Safety in the draft. And Earl Wolff would still be in the mix. Mitchell would be the first move in trying to rebuild a position from the ground up.

Let’s be patient and see how things play out. There is no player the Eagles absolutely must go get in this free agent class. There is no player that I’m desperate for the team to avoid.

This should be one interesting week.

_


  • mksp

    If signing Mike Mitchell “infuriates” some people, I’d kindly and sarcastically suggest those people get a life.

    It sounds like Mike Mitchell or Malcolm Jenkins is where we end up at safety. Which is fine. No matter how you look at it, both those guys are upgrades over Chung and Nate Allen.

    We go into camp with Wolff/Draft Pick/Mitchell or Jenkins competing for two spots. Sounds good to me.

    Plus we maintain our cap flexibility, which is way more important that some like to admit.

    Anyway, sign me up.

    • Phils Goodman

      Cap flexibility is what allows you to go after all-pro or pro bowl caliber players at market rates without sacrificing the future. That’s why the Eagles could land Vincent, Fryar, Runyan, Kearse, Owens, Samuel, Peters, Babin and (ahem) Nnamdi to lucrative contracts without ever facing a major cap squeeze or being unable to afford a player they wanted to retain. Paying a fair rate for Byrd would fall in line with what I’ve come to expect since the Banner/Lurie era. The Eagles are not in a position (like say Seattle) where they need to worry about hoarding cap space.

      • deg0ey

        I’m not so sure they’ve got as much space as everyone thinks. Sounds like they’ve got about $25m right now. If Foles puts up another good season, he’ll be getting at least 15m/year and then you’ve got $10m left to extend Cox, Boykin, Kendricks and re-sign/replace Maclin.

        Spending big now means you might have to let some of those guys walk later and I’m not at all convinced that Byrd is worth it.

        • anon

          I don’t understand giving Cox a big $$ contract, honestly i let him test unless he wants a team friendly dead. He’s too good of a 4-3 lineman to be stuck too gapping. It’s a shame really.

          For me, Kendricks needs to play himself into a contract this year — if not there’s tons of ILBs out there.

    • Eagles4Life

      New Orleans and Carolina were both more disruptive with their front 7s than we were. If you think those guys are going to come in and be more than slight upgrades over what we already had on the roster, you are mistaken.

  • planetx1971

    I won’t be bummed about Mitchell if that’s how it shakes out, certainly. The missed tackles report does frighten me to be sure, but he’d be an upgrade no doubt. With this safety crew, (sadly) that wouldn’t take much to be sure :/ With Byrd & Ward both seeming very unlikely to me, Personally, I WANT MALCOLM JENKINS!! And a draft pick(s). PLEASE?? Am I alone on this one?

    • nopain23

      I think Byrd and ward would cost way too much and cap flexibility is a great asset.look at the cowgirls.so much cash locked up with Ware and not much else.their defense is in shambles.ill take Jenkins too at a modest price plus Pryor or ha ha in the first or ward or bucannon in the second.hell I’d take bailey in the 3rd if he’s there.also hoping we can get a pick for graham.

      • planetx1971

        Wee in TOTAL agreement. I felt Byrd tied up to much cash & Ward isn’t a great fit. The more I’ve read on Buchanon, the more I love him. His tackle totals are INSANE & his other stats aren’t shabby either. He played 1 more year than Pryor & Dix but had 15 picks to their 7 each. Alas had 384 tackles! More than anyone of the top 25 prospects by ALOT in most cases. Even if you subtract a year to compare with the juniors he wins out. And one description I read said he’s “a CRUSHING hitter & excellent wrap up tackler”, “Smart, versatile, tough & motivated with great feet” the ONLY con they came up with was, “could work a little on man to man coverage but can run easily with TE’s & RB’s” sounds GREAT to me!

        • A_T_G

          “Wee in total agreement,” paints a disturbing picture.

          • ICDogg

            Urine to something there.

          • planetx1971

            I guess that means we’re GOLDEN doesn’t it?

          • planetx1971

            Downright deflating when the only takeaway from my comment is a grammar snafu. Laughs In a crushed tone… :)

          • Sb2bowl

            Don’t be too hard on your self; life is full of ups and downs so sometimes you have to keep trying.

  • SleepingDuck

    Has anything about O’brien Schofield been leaked yet?

    • Baloophi

      Different O’Brien?

      • Ben Hert

        What…is that?

      • BobSmith77

        19th century Vaudeville drag shows confuse me.

  • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

    cant bring nate back… just cant.

    • TommyLawlor

      To compete for a starting role or the #3 spot? Sure you can.

      • Sb2bowl

        I would love if people could get over this “Nate stereotype”….. After a rough beginning to his career, he showed grit and promise last year. I’m kind of bummed we didn’t lock him up before these astronomical prices for defensive players started coming out……

      • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

        No. Im just so tired of talking about Nate Allen playing S… for the eagles. Same thing with Kurt Coleman. need new blood. In year 5 the light wont go on for nate… hes a good kid but its nate allen. lets do better. Why? Because we can.

  • Weapon Y

    I’m just worried cheaper guys like Mitchell or Jenkins are Patrick Chung 2.0 and that the Eagles didn’t learn their lesson last year. Pay up a little more for some certainty if you aren’t confident in these “value” guys. I think they talked themselves into Chung and now they hopefully regret it.

    • ICDogg

      It’s not a little more, it’s a lot more… and it’s only the fans who are in love with some of these guys, probably not the scouts, GM, and coaches, who understand that fit is as important as raw talent.

      • Weapon Y

        I’d rather have a very good safety who isn’t a perfect fit (Byrd) than an awful player who is a perfect scheme fit (Chung, and I fear Mitchell or Jenkins potentially would be this kind of player).

        • ICDogg

          Sure, but if you’re blowing a huge percentage of your available resources on a guy who is not a good fit, then you’re not using those resources somewhere else.

  • Insomniac

    Everson Griffen, Example #36247 of overpaying in FA.

  • Joseph Dubyk

    Wow if the Eagles don’t sign Byrd or Ward 80% to 90% of the fan base is going to throw a conniption…And they call Roseman retarded after they praised him heavily for 2013

  • Joseph Dubyk

    Our pass rushing situation is dire.. We really need to pull off something big to land a 3-4 edge rusher either int he draft or via trade now. This is a much more important situation than most realize.

  • ICDogg

    IF you really think Byrd is the difference that makes you a top 3 contender, then you consider bidding for him. Otherwise, unless his price is a lot lower than I expect it to be, you don’t. I don’t think Byrd is that much of a difference maker.

    • Jernst

      Agreed

    • Weapon Y

      The alternative to not getting Byrd or Ward is likely to have two mediocre, at-best, and likely terrible safeties for another year. I can’t accept that alternative.

      • ICDogg

        What do you mean by that, you can’t accept it? What are you going to do, hold your breath until you turn blue? Throw a tantrum?

        The Eagles are not going to throw huge money at a guy just because he’s the best one available. He has to be a game changer in their minds or it’s just not worth doing.

  • barneygoogle

    If people honestly evaluate this free agent bunch— it is mostly slim pickin’s. The decent guys will be way overpaid. Better to lay back, let things settle, then go after a few second tier guys. Last year they said Bradley Fletcher was injury prone and had lost his starting job–but he turned out pretty good.

    • Sb2bowl

      Agreed– wouldn’t mind extending him this year if he continues to stay on the “upswing”

  • GENETiC-FREAK

    Fans been wanting a top S for how long now.. When someone finally hits the FA n the opportunity is there to sign him wouldnt you do it? But then you have people saying hes gonna cost too much.. If Byrd or Ward were Eagle players already would you want to resign them or let them hit FA? Byrd turning down a big contract by the Bills might not be him wanting more maybe he wants to play in the team that is winning n is heading in the right direction to win it all.. Gonz did the same thing when he went to the Falcons he wanted to win n he was the best TE in the game at the time.. I think you try to get Byrd if its out of your price range then ah well you tried.. But for people to say he is not worth it or wont make a difference then remember those thoughts when we sign someone cheap n get cheap results

    • ICDogg

      It’s not just getting “a top safety”. He may be a top safety for the team he’s on, but will he be a top safety for us? That depends on how well he fits, his skill set, his mindset. You can’t just take a list of “top safeties” and just keep going down the list. It doesn’t work that way, and if you make a mistake not getting the right guy, you’re pretty well screwed.

      • GENETiC-FREAK

        He is the best if not one of the best Safeties in the game.. Bills have played from 4-3 to 3-4 to show he his scheme versatile.. Hes been there when there front was average n underperforming so people can throw that argument that he needs a good front to be at his level.. He can make QBs hold that ball a fraction longer which is beneficial to the rush.. So are you saying Eagles should play it safe n sign someone cheap which might not hurt us as much if they dont work out?? Cant play it safe sometimes you have to play to win.. Byrd will make this D better.. The other Safeties look like they will just be an upgrade over what was there

        • ICDogg

          If the Eagles believe in him as much as you do, they should sign him. If not, they shouldn’t.

          • GENETiC-FREAK

            I can agree with that lol

        • Jernst

          Byrd will get you about 4 INTs a year, no sacks and about 2 FF per year. Those numbers are really good. However, would that be enough game changing skill to make him the highest paid player on the team? It’s a reasonable question. If he signs a deal for $9 mil per year he’s instantly in the top 2-3 salaries on the team throughout the duration of his deal. That’s a lot of scratch that I think would be better allocated to pass rush and LBs as far as defense is concerned.

          • anon

            It’s about more than just the stat sheet.

          • Phils Goodman

            A safety can effect hundreds of plays a year, not just the ones where he gets something juicy in the box score.

    • anon

      Well said.

  • ICDogg

    You just know the Eagles are going to announce their first big free agency signing as we wait breathlessly, and it will turn out to be Guy Whimper.

    • Corry

      That would unbelievably disappointing.

    • A_T_G

      “The Eagles strike in Free Agency, not with a bang, but a Whimper.”

      • P_P_K

        This time you’ve gone too far!

    • Sb2bowl

      The should announce it in “hushed” voices….. Hehe

    • A_T_G

      He is – by definition – JAG.

  • Mac

    Nearly everyone agrees that there isn’t much in the way of game changing free agent talent this year. This draft class has possibly the lagest number of underclassmen in history and is supposedly very deep at a variety of positions.

    The solution seems too obvious.

    • anon

      In FA you have equal opportunity to get guys, in the draft you never know who will be around when you’re picking.

      • Mac

        And that’s a big part of what I’m talking about. Brent over at Eagles rewind has a great article about upgrading a football team. We need to use FA to patch up areas of the team that are in horrible condition. We don’t necessarily need to go from horrible to elite, just to serviceable is a substantial improvement. There may actually be 0 “elite” level players in this year’s FA pool, so why pay someone elite money who isn’t elite, but just seems elite compared with the mediocrity available.

  • Cliff

    Mitchell seems like a Cary Williams / Connor Barwin type of signing. Not a “franchise” player, but will solidify the position for a couple seasons while young players develop.

    • RC5000

      Williams and Barwin were more experienced than Mitchell. He is an inexperienced player himself, he’s only basically started for a year. The Redskins often overpay FAs like Mitchell so I would drive their price up if he’s too much money if they are really in the mix as rumored.

  • SteveH

    Safety and pass rusher are important and we’re all monitoring these things closely, but I won’t be satisfied until Donnie Jones has been signed to the richest punter contract in history.

  • ACKID38

    i would love to see mitchell/jenkins as our safeties in “14” . Draft a guy to mold and for depth. will be a hell of an upgrade. i had a guy tell me that the eagles front office “owes us fans” byrd, for all our suffering since Dawkins.

  • nicolajNN

    What is the word on Mitchell out of Carolina? Are they trying to keep him or just letting him walk? He performed well and that defence seems to have brought out the best in him, it would seem to me there should be some desire from both sides to have him stay with the Panthers.

    • D3FB

      Carolina is pretty hamstrung by the cap. People weren’t sure they were even going to be able to tag Hardy.

      • Sb2bowl

        They are in rough shape–3 out of their 4 secondary players are FA’s this year…… We are trying to replace safeties, but we have the $$ to spend a bit; I bet their GM and front office people are “enjoying” sleepless nights lately

  • ACViking

    Re: Mike Mitchell

    I understand that the Oakland Raiders, through the end of the Al Davis years, were an organization in disarray. From Davis through the coaching staff.

    That said, I don’t quite understand how Mitchell performed so underwhelmingly for four seasons on the (wrong side of the) bay.

    Four seasons is four seasons.

    He was a free agent last season, but as far as reports go, the Eagles had no interest in him. (T-Law — correction requested if inaccurate.)

    Now, Mitchell’s a man in demand.

    Not that I’m against the Eagles signing him.

    I’m just in favor of understanding exactly what the Eagles are getting (which will require more than a PFF review) — and, with the front 7 the Birds have, whether Mitchell’s headed for a reversion.
    _____________

    By the way, I always liked that Al Davis selected him in Rd 2 and not a soul, except his mother and college teammates, knew who he is.

    So Davis-esque. And so sad that for the better part of the last 20 years of his life, Davis had lost what had been a true Midas touch among the competition.

    • Joe Minx

      I laugh when people try to talk him by saying he was a 2nd round pick. Everything is relative when you’re talking about the Raiders post-2002.

      Good rule of thumb: when Mike Mayock doesn’t even know who somebody is, that should tell you something.

      • GENETiC-FREAK

        haha man i remember that draft.. Who?? lol

    • Sb2bowl

      AC–that would explain the signing of Sea-Bass in round number 1 (Sebastian Janikowski 17th pick of the 2000 season). Hadn’t Davis done this previously with wonderful results? It seems as though “Just Win” had stuck with what got him too the top, but he failed to evolve with the NFL as times changed…… Hence the reason Al is viewed as a crazy old man, when in actuality, he was just following the same path which had propelled him to the top decades ago.

    • Anders

      The reason they might like him now is same reason nate Allen will play football in 15, he improved a lot. The question is how much is he worth and what can we expect from him? I think a season love last year is out of the question, but a good solid season with some turnovers would be an upgrade (he should get his hands on some balls we was tied 2nd in forced turnovers last year)

  • Insomniac

    A fresher idea would be signing a guy like Major Wright to a 2 year deal. He was climbing up the safety ladder before last year. Now I don’t watch any Bears games but after googling it seemed like the Bears entire defense stunk. One thing for sure was that Wright got exposed in coverage and it inflated his tackling stats. After that being said, Wright isn’t going to cost a lot of money and will have some interest. It could be a depth move that can turn out a solid starter if he bounces back from last year.

  • ICDogg

    I just want to revisit a question left over from last summer: why did the Eagles have Vinny Curry play DE instead of OLB?

    • Anders

      He was up to around 280 by otas and I guess they saw him more as a hands on the dirt player

      • A_T_G

        Yeah, but he had been losing weight to play OLB first. Then, without even trying him, to my knowledge, they asked him to start bulking up.

        I had the same wondering as ICDogg. It seemed like one of those things where the truth would come out slowly, but I don’t think it has yet.

        • Anders

          No, Curry posted a picture on twitter around Febuary where he said he had bulked up to the 275 range.

      • ICDogg

        I always kind of assumed that the Eagles felt they already had Cole and Graham converting and didn’t want to throw another 4-3 end into the mix there.

    • anon

      Can’t drop/play in space or stop the run.

      • ICDogg

        Not sure if they ever tried, but when there are so few good pass rushers available that they are looking at 4-3 ends as possibilities, I was wondering why we didn’t look in-house at one of our own.

        • anon

          If he can’t 2 gap properly (i mean play within the scheme) what makes you think he can play in space? He’s got a great first step, i think he’d be a great 4-3 end.

          The probably also thought graham would be a better fit (maybe a concession that they think Curry is a better lineman than Graham)

          • Anders

            How has 2 gapping and playing in space anything to do with each other? Thornton is perfect at 2 gapping, but I wouldnt want him in space

  • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

    You know, if we had just had FakeWIPCaller as our GM all these years, I would have run out of fingers to put my replica SB rings on long ago.

    • 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

  • Phils Goodman

    I think there has been an over-correction in the mindset of so many fans (post Dream Team) that we’ve gotten to the point where the perception of value trumps actual value.

    The 2013 free agent class was not good value and I hope the Eagles do not adhere to that template by default because of “good vibes” coming off a 10-6 season.

    Doing a bit of guessing/interpretation/oversimplifying here, how the “real” values of the contracts work out:

    Cary Williams — 2 years/$11M
    Connor Barwin — 3 years/$12M
    Bradley Fletcher — 2 years/$5.25M
    James Casey — 1 year/$5M (are they cutting him?) or 2 years/$8M (ugh)
    Patrick Chung — 1 year/$4M
    Sopoaga — 1 year/~minimum? (kinda looks like this deal was all funny money)
    Kenny Phillips — cut
    Jason Phillips — IR

    So it’s basically $33M~$36M over 2 years (with some extra team options) for two solid players, one guy who is erratic but mediocre, and a bunch of roster filler.

    The troika of Williams/Casey/Chung will never get panned as widely as a high-profile flop like Nnamdi, but on a per year basis the value is pretty similar so far.

    Mid-tier FAs are often seen as “safe” and “smart” by default, but I think a lot of confirmatory biases play into that (the hits — even small ones –make you look like a genius in many eyes, while the misses don’t get far-reaching negative publicity). If you’re not hitting on a good percentage of these mid-tier players, the value is just as weak as a big-money bust. It’s funny how you can lose sight of value by fetishizing it. The most important thing is to secure the services of good players in the first place. Value isn’t important if it doesn’t contribute to building a good or great unit.

    • Anders

      I agree, it is also like people are totally forgetting mid tier busts like Stacy Andrews or Jared page or high tier success stories like Samuel or Runyan

      • Phils Goodman

        Or how about trading a 1st round pick for a disgruntled Jason Peters and then forking over $60M even though he was still under contract?

        I think calling Jarrad Page “mid tier” is a bit generous, though. He only started because of neglect/mismanagement of the safety position in the wake of Nate Allen’s knee injury.

      • ICDogg

        The odds don’t get that much better whether you play a quarter slot 4 times or if you play a dollar slot once. They’re still crappy odds. So it is with finding UFAs.

        • Anders

          Doesnt the dollar slot have higher potential pay out?

    • ICDogg

      The best values come from the draft and from re-upping your own when you know they are already a good fit. Last year was an aberration, not a model for this year, because of new coach and scheme changes. A bunch of guys had to be brought in. A nose tackle was a huge need; the Eagles did not know they were to draft one who was, from the start better, from the free agent they signed. Safeties and corners had to be brought in because they had to get rid of some attitude guys on the squad. A tight end was desired because we were no longer going to use a fullback. We did not know at the time that we were going to draft Ertz. All of the moves made logical sense at the time. The “value” in them is that the Eagles had to have some stopgaps around for rebuilding since they knew that they would not be able to fill all their needs in the draft.

      Let’s look at the big money free agents last year. Mike Wallace, 30M guaranteed. Dashan Goldson, 22M guaranteed. Paul Kruger, 20M guaranteed. Jared Cook, 19M guaranteed. Greg Jennings, 17,8M guaranteed. Jermon Bushrod, 17.7M guaranteed. Dannell Ellerbe, 17M guaranteed. Gosder Cherilus, 16.5M guaranteed. Jake Long, 16M guaranteed. Andy Levitre, 16M guaranteed.

      The teams that signed these guys, and most of the fans off those teams, all thought they were getting solid quality starters at positions of need. Some of them made out fine, I guess.

      The next level contained guys like Desmond Bryant, Cliff Avril, LaRon Landry, Wes Welker, Barwin, Louis Vasquez, and Danny Amendola. You probably got more value there.

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