Tag Updates

Posted: March 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 54 Comments »

Monday was the deadline for NFL teams to use the franchise and transition tags. So let’s talk about the moves and non-moves that could affect the Eagles.

Safety T.J Ward – no tag

Safety Jairus Byrd – no tag

OLB Jason Worilds – transition tag

OLB Brian Orakpo – franchise tag

The Eagles did not use either of their tags. There are no more free agents that the Eagles feel deserve it. The team will re-sign P Donnie Jones soon enough. The Eagles did get DE Cedric Thornton to sign his 1-year deal. Thornton was an exclusive rights free agent. That meant he couldn’t sign with anyone else so the deal was a mere formality.

I’m sure the Eagles would like to lock him up to a long term deal. Part of the issue with Ced is that he was so ineffective as a pass rusher in 2013. He’d like to improve there to raise his value. The Eagles love him, but the lack of pass rush skills does affect his value.

As to outside players, the news about the OLBs isn’t ideal. I was surprised the Skins hesitated in putting the tag on Orakpo. He’s the kind of player you want to draft, develop and then keep. Worilds is an ascending player that the Eagles are likely to have some interest in. The transition tag allows the Steelers to match any offer that Worilds gets. Pittsburgh has some cap issues so a creative offer could be tough for them to match.

Some people think that the Steelers will have to cut OLB LaMarr Woodley in order to keep Worilds. Before you get excited about Woodley, he is going to turn 30 in November and he is coming off consecutive years with declining production (4 sacks in 2012, 5 sacks in 2013). That’s pretty much the opposite of an Eagles target.

There could be a healthy market for Worilds. While I think the Eagles will have some interest, he’s not a player you go all-in on. Worilds best years are ahead of him. The question is how good those years will be. Is Worilds going to become a top flight pass rusher or is he going to level out as a solid pass rusher? Think of the difference in James Harrison vs Clark Haggans (both Steelers LBs that developed over time).

The news on the DBs is interesting. We heard Byrd would be hitting the market. I wasn’t so sure about Ward. We haven’t heard anything about a bad relationship between him and the Browns. They have the cap room and the franchise tag price for Safeties isn’t that high compared to other positions. The Browns weren’t able to get a deal done with C Alex Mack so they decided to use the transition tag on him. They’re going to keep talking to Ward, but there won’t be any tag for him.

The Eagles will have interest in both guys. I’m just not sure how aggressively they’ll go after the players. Ward is the better hitter/tackler, while Byrd is more of the ballhawk. One x-factor in all of this is that we don’t know what Bill Davis would ideally want in a Safety. Does he want physicality or ball skills? The moves the Eagles make this offseason (free agency and the draft) will give us a hint about what Davis and Kelly are looking for.

* * * * *

Someone brought up Nate Allen’s situation in the previous comments section. I still think the Eagles have interest in bringing him back, but obviously only at the right price. Allen might want to test the market himself. He knows he won’t get big bucks, but it only takes one team to give you a better deal than you were originally expecting.

* * * * *

This situation remains highly confusing. I’m expecting the Sixers to start inquiring about him soon. He is 6-6, after all.

_


  • Cliff

    The 76ers do have a ton of 2nd round picks they could offer.

    • ACViking

      Cliff . . . that is among the 5 best comments I’ve read here.

      (Baloophi’s at the top.)

    • Jamie Parker

      That was the first thing that came to mind when I read that line with the Sixers. lol

  • laeagle

    1. My cat has better sources than Anthony Gargano. Why Gargano even has a career is staggering to me (and to my cat).

    2. With Thornton, is it actually a lack of pass rush skills or pass rush opportunities? There’s a big difference between saying a guy can’t pass rush and saying he wasn’t asked to pass rush. It would be interesting to look at what his role was in the defense and how much of the lack of pass rush was based upon what he was asked to do.

    • TommyLawlor

      Ced wasn’t on the field in lots of 3rd/long situations, but he did get plenty of chances to rush the passer.

    • Baloophi

      Despite your cat’s sources, I bet you have to provide the inside scoop.

      Any chance your feline can feed us intel during the draft this year?

      • Media Mike

        Drafting a lot of LSU Tigers, PSU Nittany Lions, and/or Arizona Wildcats.

        • Baloophi

          laeagle’s cat will only scout areas that have a lot of sunshine or at least a good view of the backyard.

      • laeagle

        She’s playing with a plastic bag right now. I’ll tempt her with string later to see if I can get a breakdown of some of this year’s underclassmen.

        • ICDogg

          The problem with getting information from cats is that they are avid about clumping everything together.

      • Rambler

        That has catastrophe written all over it.

    • philliesfan136

      laeagle, I used to be a casual fan of Gargano …. he’s a Philly guy, a Pisan, you know, a guys guy, but over the last several years he has gotten away from his ( tell it like it is ) roots, and become more of a company man. His attachment to ” Howie ” Roseman, quite frankly, sickens me. He actually went ( on the Eagles dime ) on a scouting trip with ” Howie ” earlier in the year, and traveled and stayed in a hotel with the Eagles scouting staff. His closeness has removed his ability to be critical, and you now actually hear him dropping ” hints ” that he ( knows about ) what Eagles management is ( thinking ) of doing, or are ( going to do.) I often wonder if the occasional ( little ) crumbs, that drop off the table of power, are worth the loss of self respect, for the sycophants, who gravel for them on the floor of cronyism and desire for acceptance?

      • greenblood0118

        So, I take it you don’t like Howie since you put his name in quotes?
        I gotta say, I was not a fan of his when he came up in the organization…I thought he was riding his career and ethnicity up the ladder like a lot of people seem to be doing in the sports world these days…but then, thankfully, Joey Nickels, Big Red, and that idiot Marty got the boot, and we had the 2012 and 2013 off seasons.
        So far I like what Howie is doing. I like how he’s drafting, how he’s focused on growing and keeping homegrown talent. He’s helping to change the perception around the league about how Philly treats veterans…good stuff.

  • Media Mike

    Let the insanity begin. I’m dying to see what contracts these guys get at safety.

  • Weapon Y

    Safety is the only position the Eagles absolutely must get a new starter (or two) at this year. While not every guy in the lineup is elite, the rest are all functional. I enjoy having flexibility in the draft to just get the best guy instead of scrambling at the last minute to get a starter.

  • Vick or Nick

    In all honesty, I don’t think the Eagles should or will spend big garunteed money on any of these guys.

    I do see them signing a mid level safety and OLB/DL, corner depth if available, OL depth if available. Pretty much a repeat of last year. No headliners persay but many singles.

    Eagles will definitely sign at least mid level guys to make sure that when Draft roles around that there are no glaring holes on the depth chart.

    X-factor could be Chip Kelly. If he really likes Ward or Byrd there is a chance Eagles could be players. Same with Dion Jordon if he is available, which it seems like he is not according to WIP.

    • philliesfan136

      According to : WIP = ( Anthony Gargano ) = Howie Roseman = obviously a conflict of interest here. Anthony Gargano is supposed to ( report ) the sports news, not ( disseminate it ) for the Eagles management. Sorry to belabor the issue, but it’s sad to see what has happened to all media reporting in general. Another fine sports reporter / radio host, has sold his soul for a few morsels off of the kings table. First it as Tom Heckert, now it’s Howie Rosemen. The question is ….. what is more important to you as a ( so called ) journalist , a buddy, buddy relationship with the Eagles GM, or a friendly professional relationship, which allows you to keep your critical eye open and your journalistic integrity ?

  • Telmert

    I wonder if signing Maclin and Cooper then the two OLBs coming off the board affects the way the Eagles look at the Ward and Byrd. They really don’t have any other obvious places to spend. Certainly no other starters – the places they might look have nothing there. Unless they decide to re-think CB.

    I think they’ll want to go into the draft with a “full” roster – so they really can go best player available. So maybe a DE for Geathers and a NT for Square. A backup OLB or two, depending on the plans for Graham.

    • Media Mike

      They might not spend at all. They could have the bulk of that cash earmarked for 2015 contracts.

  • ACViking

    Re: Worlids’ Future vs. Steelers’ Past

    T-Law . . .

    In breaking down Worlids, you wrote:

    “Think of the difference in James Harrison vs Clark Haggans (both Steelers LBs that developed over time).”

    Clearly, their production was different. But there may be an explanation.

    Haggans played the Jack ‘backer — or LOLB — for Pittsburgh.

    Harrison played the ROLB — or rush ‘backer — position.

    Since 1995, the Steelers’ ROLB has generated many, many sacks (except the 2 seasons when Carlos Emmons played there). Conversely, the Steelers LOLB has not been an historically productive spot.
    _______________

    By the way, I admire your work very much.

    • ICDogg

      So if you compare him to an ROLB you would be Worilds apart.

      • ACViking

        indeed!!!

      • Mitchell

        HEY! You stole one of Baloophi’s lines!

        • ICDogg

          I didn’t realize that, if I did

          • Baloophi

            Not to my knowledge! That looks like an ICDogg special… I’m quite envious…

          • Mitchell

            I kid, I kid.

    • Anders

      A few years ago, Harrison dropped the same amount of Woodley, but he was just the better all around player. In the perfect Steeler’s type defense, both OLB’s can do it all.
      Why I think the Eagles might like a more well rounded player at OLB (Attaochu) in the draft than a pure pass rusher (Dee Ford)

  • A_T_G

    So, if Ward is the hitter and Byrd is the ballhawk, I think we should just sign them both. That way Howie can sleep soundly at night without worrying that he signed the wrong guy.

    For cap purposes, the one with more ProBowl votes gets 15 million, the other guy gets league minimum and a sizable Super Bowl victory bonus.

    • Baloophi

      I support the notion of competition determining compensation.

      PLUS, then we can nickname the Byrd/Ward tandem the “Thunderdome.”

      Two men enter, one man leaves… with a max contract.

      • A_T_G

        There is a Reid/Banner Master Blaster joke in there somewhere, but it feels like too much work with both of them gone.

        • Baloophi

          Perhaps a good Photoshop project for someone…

  • philliesfan136

    Tommy Lawlor, the Eagles reportedly tried to trade for Jairus Byrd last year after the Bills failed to extend him. ( per Adam Caplan several weeks ago ) This leads me to believe, that there definitely, is interest in signing him, from the Eagles. I believe that Byrd is very high on their radar. I think, that it’s going to come down to …. is Byrd ONLY looking for a payday ….. or is he looking to get paid ( and ) he wants to play for a team that is building something special? As a life long Eagles fan, I’m hoping upon hope, that the Eagles soon have a brand new ( B Y R D ) in the nest, very soon!

    • Anders

      I didnt see that report

      • philliesfan136

        Was reported by Adam Caplan on NFL insiders show , on ESPN.

    • phillychuck

      Byrd hardly played or played at half speed most of last year due to injuries. ‘d want to be 100% sure he’s healthy before giving him a lot of guaranteed money.

      • philliesfan136

        This is exactly why the trade never happened. The Eagles were reportedly concerned about his plantar fascitis condition with his feet, and wanted to be sure he was totally healthy. Although he did miss 4 games at the start of the season, he still played very well once he returned.

  • philliesfan136

    Change the above quote to : ” WIP’s and Howie Rosemans ” Anthony Gargano said that the Eagles ( actually Howie Roseman told him ) said ………..
    Apparently the Eagles now have two publicists. I wonder if Dave Spudaro has become jealous over sharing Howie’s lap with Anthony G. ?

  • philliesfan136

    Tommy Lawlor, I have read many of your recent articles and one recurring theme is that you seem to agree with the Eagles NEW free agency philosophy. I find it very convenient for the Eagles management ( Howie Roseman ) to now say that the problem that they had in free agency in 2010 and primarily 2011, was spending TOO much money on so called BIG ticket free agents. My problem with this theory is that ( too much money ) is only relative to return on investment. If the Eagles would have spent $ 48.75 million over 5 years on Johnathan Joseph, would that have been overspending on him? Surely you would agree that he was a big ticket free agent. How about if they signed Eric Weddle to a 5 year $ 40 million dollar deal ? Big time free agent, big time pay. The issue here is pro scouting the RIGHT big time free agents, not the fact that these type of signings should be taboo, as the Eagles are now reporting every chance they get. They have tried to condition us that the so called ” DREAM TEAM ” fiasco, should forever curtail spending on top tier free agents, and that we as fans should support this convenient and ridiculous decision. Yes l agree that this type of spending should be done selectively and only on impact players that are in their prime. I also believe that because of ( the teams ) prior poor free agency decisions, that we fans should not be robbed of the yearly free agency dreams about getting that one big time free agent that will help put our beloved team over top on it’s quest to winning a championship. I have a distain for this, ” let’s get a bunch of mediocre, low to mid range players and hope the ( percentages ) pan out. ” This type of philosophy is one of lamenting on past failures instead of focusing on future rewards. We as fans should not accept the teams current strategy of ” lets not sign any big time free agents because we don’t know if our staff is good enough to pick the RIGHT players to sign ….. so let’s sign low money, low tier players, so if we make a mistake, it’s not to big a mistake. ” How absurd is this for a billion dollar corporation to think this way. I have a novel idea ….. hire people who know what they are doing and who won’t recommend for you to sign Nnamdi Asomugha type players and deals. There were plenty of Quality players who signed relatively cap friendly contracts last year in free agency, including : CB – Brent Grimes , DE – Michael Bennett , S – Chris Clemons , DE – Cliff Avril , S – LaRon Landry. Brent Grimes ( 1 yr. $ 5.5 mil. ) and Chris Clemons ( 1 yr. $ 2.75 mil. ) both players signed relatively cheap, 1 year ( prove it ) contracts, that would have been much, much better signings than : Patrick Chung and Bradley Fletcher who will have cost the Eagles approx. $ 6.25 million for one year, after Chung is cut and his contract accelerates $ 1 mil. in dead salary cap money.

    • Tumtum

      So in other words you agree with Tom? Except that if you ran the Eagle they would have used hindsight in every FA period and made the perfect signings. I for one don’t know wtf is taking so long to make you GM. Lets start a coupe. Bloodless or otherwise.

      • philliesfan136

        No, l don’t agree with Tom, because he obviously agrees with the Eagles current philosophy on free agency. How was this not abundantly clear ? I don’t need to be made GM, nor do l need hindsight to see that low level signings, result in low level results. If you would rather the Eagles sign either Mike Mitchell or Louis Delmas, over Jarius Byrd or T J Ward, then i’m happy for you. Do we need ” Hindsight ” to see how that will turn out …… or do we need some very EDUCATED ” foresight ” genius ?

    • holeplug

      might wanna use paragraphs next time

      • Neil

        tl; dr

      • philliesfan136

        I’m sorry, plug, but did the context of my comments so distract you, that it was necessary to be critical ? I’ll try to brush up on my 4 rules of paragraph writing next time. Forgive me if my comments were ” wandering ” a bit, and not perfectly ordered, but, l did feel that it was coherent and complete.

    • Ben Hert

      “I have a distain for this, ” let’s get a bunch of mediocre, low to mid range players and hope the ( percentages ) pan out. ” This type of philosophy is one of lamenting on past failures instead of focusing on future rewards”

      You’re misinterpreting the strategy. Its not about being scared of signing free agents. I don’t someone like Howie, who has demonstrated the ability to be aggressive, got to where he is by being scared to take risks, even if they haven’t worked in the past. Our strategy is more about playing to our strengths. I don’t think anyone can deny that we’ve had good drafts, finding good impact players at key positions, the past two years. If we’ve got a proven track record of building correctly through the draft, while filling the gaps in our roster with mid-level free agents, who wouldn’t you go ahead that way? Especially when the top teams in the league have done it the exact same way. I don’t think HR is afraid of FA at all. But I do think that he has a strategy which seems to be working, and its one that promotes a long-term stability that building with big name FA does not.

      Another interesting aside, I think you can see a trend with college football coaches who come into the NFL (Harbaugh, Carroll for example) being much more inclined to build through the draft, than bringing in a bunch of FA. Perhaps this has more to do with their familiarity with college players, or maybe they just feel more comfortable developing players from scratch since the draft resembles college recruiting more than FA. Regardless, seems to be working for them thus far.

      • philliesfan136

        Look, i’m not going to pussy foot around here …… their 2010 and 2011 drafts were monumental atrocious failures. This in turn created a need to sign many players through free agency, to compensate for the lack of adequate starters and depth. The free agency signings that followed in 2011 and 2012 were equally pathetic, and subsequently the team took a nosedive, hard. So, yes they have drafted a few ” nice ” players since then, and signed a few ” adequate ” free agents since then, but when some of these players start making ( all pro ), or even ( pro bowl ) status, then we can start to get overly exited about the current upward trend that they are on. P.S. – Are you somehow affiliated with the Eagles management …… you seemed to used the words ( our and we’ve ) in your comments ?

    • D3FB

      One thing I think your drastically overestimate is that the team supposedly OWES something to the fans. They don’t. They are a privately owned business. They make decisions to maximize profits and put the best possible product on the field. You then as a consumer are left with two choices, consume the product, or don’t.

      • philliesfan136

        Um, last time l checked, this comments section, is for the Eagles ” FANS. ” I’m not writing a article for Businessweek or Fourtune magazine. If you enjoy watching Patrick Chung type players, and do not think that you ” deserve ” to see better players out there, then kudos to you.

        • D3FB

          I’m a diehard eagles fan but at the same time understand that the organization is operating in a way that it thinks will maximize the product on the field. They aren’t intentionally trying to lose. Patrick Chung was an ok safety who struggled with injuries and was put in some unfavorable situations this past year. Nobody in the organization is saying well lets penny pinch and fuck the product on the field. You shit on the pro personnel department as if it’s a science. Even the best front offices miss frequently.

        • D3FB

          Also if you think just because your in the comment section of an eagles blogs somehow negates the fact that its true, thats like saying the laws of gravity don’t apply because your drunk, or squirrels kill people because you got bit by one. The only reason I even brought it up is because your whole post was just the typical “wah wah wah the team should’ve done this (with hindsight) and I knew they shouldve done it and so they should do what I think now” that you get on WIP all day.

  • Anders

    Tommy, do you think the Eagles might be interested in a Davis or Verner at CB? I know they are “happy” with Williams and Fletcher, but Williams in my opinion could be upgraded.

  • eagleyankfan

    Eagles were probably just doing their due diligence on Jordan. That was just a stupid rumor anyway. NO WAY they were going to give up on him. Wasted ink.
    They LOVE Thorton but he has a lack of pass rushing skills. What? They love him but only as a friend? Doesn’t sound like love to me. If they did think highly of him, he would have signed longer. This is a “you have one year to prove it” contract.

    • austinfan

      He’s a year away from being eligible for an extension, becomes a RFA next year. Eagles are in no rush, see if he can develop some pass rush skills before you give him a long-term deal.

  • Jamie Parker

    So you’re saying we could sign both?