Some fans have the mentality that the Eagles going after a mid-level player like Mike Mitchell instead of Jairus Byrd or TJ Ward makes them “cheap”.
I can’t stand this argument or this mentality.
Ask Jason Peters, Jason Kelce or Riley Cooper if the Eagle are cheap. The answer is going to be an unequivocal…”NO”. The Eagles spend money carefully. I’d love to say “wisely”, but some of their signings haven’t been so wise.
The point is that the Eagles do spend money. They prefer to not pay big money to a player unless it is someone they feel is special. If you pay for steak, get steak. The Eagles at one point made Jon Runyan, Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins, Jevon Kearse and Asante Samuel the highest paid players at their position. Some of those were signings, some extensions. The Eagles thought those were special players and they paid them accordingly.
Fans see a good player on another team and want him. They have seen the stats. The highlights. Maybe they have even watched the guy play quite a bit. They know he’s good. The question that so many miss is how will that player perform on a new team with a huge paycheck in the bank. NFL players aren’t interchangeable. A shortstop for the Royals can step on the Phillies instantly and fit. That’s not the case in football. Scheme fit is critical. And you have to factor in whether the new deal will change the player at all. History is filled with guys who relaxed once they got their mega-deal. Others didn’t relax, but were overwhelmed by the expectations that come with big money. Getting a big deal can change a player.
You don’t give out big contracts lightly. You need confidence that the signing is going to work, or that the reward is worth the risk.
Are Byrd and Ward worth $9 to $10M per year? We’ll see.
The other consideration that Howie Roseman is making is that he wants to have cap room for re-signing his own players in the future. The Eagles have a good young core in Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Brandon Boykin and Mychal Kendricks. Those guys won’t stay for free. And Howie has to be ready to hand Nick Foles a mega-deal in the near future. If Nick has another great year, you’ve got to lock him up.
Would you rather have Mike Mitchell at $5M per year and be able to keep your own guys in the future or would you rather sign Byrd/Ward and have to let Cedric Thornton go? Or some other player. You can’t keep everyone. There is a salary cap. There is a budget.
* * * * *
Someone asked about why Vinny Curry was moved to DE last year instead of having him play OLB. The simple answer is that the coaches felt he was better suited to playing DE. Jerry Azzinaro coached him at Marshall and must have felt that Curry lacked the agility to play in space. OLBs must have good feet. They line up a bit wider and start off in a 2-point stance. That comes naturally to some players, others struggle with it. Coach Azz must have felt that Curry would be best suited at DE, even in the 2-gap system. Curry does have a powerful upper body and he does use his hands well. He could eventually develop the ability to be an effective 2-gap player. He’s made for attacking in a 1-gap system, but he showed serious progress last year at holding his ground and shedding blocks. I don’t know that he’ll ever be good enough to start in the 3-4. He could still be a highly valuable role player with his inside rush skills.
I thought the Eagles should have played Curry at OLB, but they obviously felt differently.
* * * * *
When will Patrick Chung be cut? More than a few people have asked this. Might not happen til after the draft. Keeping him on the roster doesn’t mean anything. Clearly they want to upgrade the position. Cutting him now vs May or June doesn’t make a difference.