Let’s review some happenings.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) March 9, 2014
Good morning. I checked in on Eagles' interest in Jairus Byrd. I'm told they haven't shown much "yet." Better than none? Still early.
— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherCSN) March 9, 2014
Michael Johnson to Philly isn't happening. A few teams in the mix as negotiations get heavy, Eagles not amongst them.
— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) March 8, 2014
Still no Eagles free agent signings. Disgraceful.
— FakeWIPCaller (@FakeWIPCaller) March 9, 2014
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.