The first couple of weeks of March are a crazy roller coaster ride. The team signs players. There are rumors about potential deals. Lots of activity, some of which totally catches you by surprise. You live and die with the moves and rumors. The first couple of weeks are just the beginning of a long offseason, though. We’re not even a month into things. There is a lot of activity left.
The second wave of free agency is officially underway. This is when teams go bargain hunting. You aren’t looking for starters so much as good depth and role players. There are a few exceptions. Michael Vick is still on the market. So is Jared Allen. And so on. These are veterans looking for the right situation. Most of the guys left are fringe starters. They aren’t worried about money and fit. They want a job.
Chip Kelly and the coaching staff are doing a lot of travelling. They’re attending Pro Days and checking out draft prospects. Soon enough, kids will start visiting Philly for some pre-draft meetings.
Kelly has been very active with going to Pro Days. Some dismiss this as him just liking to do that. To a certain extent, yes. Kelly doesn’t have a wife and kids so for him to go to all the local Pro Days makes sense. If he’s got the time and he enjoys that, go do it. That said, when he hops on a plane and goes to the Florida State or Louisville Pro Day, that is more than just a fun trip. He’s genuinely checking out those players.
Don’t get caught on just the big names. Kelly went to the LSU and Alabama Pro Days last year. The Eagles drafted Bennie Logan, but also signed UDFAs Brad Wing, Russell Shepard and Damion Square from those teams. Kelly is gathering as much info on as many players as possible. Since he’s just a year removed from the college game, Kelly might be able to pick the brains of the college staff more effectively than most NFL coaches.
The Eagles will use free agency and the draft to add talent to the team in the next 8 weeks. There is another possibility as well…trades.
The NFL owners meetings are coming up next week. There is plenty of talk between teams about potential deals. You can bet more than a team or two will inquire about the status of DeSean Jackson. We’ll have to wait and see how that plays out. The Eagles could go and inquire about some possible trade targets. I mentioned OLB Shea McClellin as one possibility. That’s a complete guess on my part. The Eagles keep lists of players they liked from previous drafts and will check on the status of those players. You never know when someone could be available at the right price.
Howie Roseman has proven to be creative when it comes to finding players. He’s not bashful and will work the phones to see who is available. I’m sure Roseman has an idea or two already in place. That doesn’t mean anything will happen. The NFL isn’t much of a trading league. Trades have become more common in recent years, but it still lags far behind the other 3 major sports in that area.
Aside from the draft, the Eagles have made their big moves for the year. They will continue to add pieces to the puzzle. While these names might not be impressive to the casual fan, you never know when you’re going to find a key role player or spot starter. Donnie Jones signed last year on March 25. I’d say that was a pretty good move.
While the main part of free agency is over, the offseason is just starting.
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There was a report that Kelly did speak to DeSean yesterday, but Les Bowen got to the bottom of the situation and found out that didn’t happen. Les did have a great line at the end of the piece.
One thing we do know: Eagles officials, including Kelly, are obligated to speak to reporters next week at the NFL Meetings in Orlando. As someone once said, get yo popcorn ready.