Eagles QB's/Free Agency and More...
Who will be the starting quarterback come September? At this point, an "open competition" is slated with Vick as the clear front runner (based on salary/skill set available). So what was the reasoning behind it? I believe the Eagles looked at the possible FA's at the quarterback position, and know only Alex Smith could be a viable option as a starting QB. But the amount of money he would want (plus guarantee to be the "starter") would place the Eagles behind the 8 ball. While he would be o.k. from a game managing perspective, Smith doesn't fit the up tempo/athletic QB Kelly wants and would ultimately place the Eagles at a disadvantage in the long term. In short, the Eagles were wise in re-negotiating Vick's contract with absolutely no risk whatsoever.
This years draft class presents a very weak quarterback class. Geno Smith and Matt Barkley aren't beacons of hope for future years and both are a work in progress. Neither of them scream no brainer like last years Luck or RGIII. Neither Smith or Barkley present the Eagles with anything that will improve the team in 2013 (or beyond for that matter). Both don't fit the Kelly mold for QB so why force the issue? While some fans aren't excited to see Vick competing for a job and question Foles "fit" in Kelly's high tempo offensive scheme, this is completely understandable. But, as "stop gap" replacements in both Vick and Foles, each have the skill set to win in the NFL. And that's the point right? Winning. This also buys Kelly time to hand pick his franchise QB without any pressure (like the 49ers did when selecting QB Colin Kaepernick while Alex Smith was still the starting QB). Most don't see Vick or Foles as the ultimate Franchise/Future QB for Kelly's scheme, so why try to force the issue where there are more pressing needs as a TEAM?
The Eagles had more than their share of problems on BOTH sides of the ball last year. There are needs at almost every position on the team (outside of RB) and the money they are saving by NOT signing a FA like QB Alex Smith/resigning Vick to a low risk/high reward contract/cheap rookie contract in Foles, immediately puts the Eagles at an advantage for the here/now/long haul. Currently the Eagles are $20 million under the cap (even before addressing the Nnamdi contract issue) so they are pretty much free to do anything they want in FA this year. Here is a short list of possible players who could be available (assuming they don't get the franchise tag):
OLB Paul Kruger would instantly improve our LB's and make it an easier transition to a 3-4 Base Defense. He was the best pass rusher for the Ravens and is only improving as a player. Given our personnel, I think the Eagles run a 4-3 "Under" defense in Kellys 1st season (which looks like a 3-4 to the naked eye) due to the talent currently on the team. But if the Eagles think OLB Jarvis Jones is the best player available in this years draft (minus the injury concerns). The Eagles would have a formidable pass rushing duo right out of the gate. But what about a true NT? There is good depth in this years draft at that position, and the Eagles could find a serviceable NT in the 2nd or 3rd round.
S Dashon Goldson/William Moore/Jarius Byrd/Louis Delmas. Pick one. Any one. Our safeties have been pedestrian at best and a definite need would be met by any of these players.
DT/DE Richard Seymour. Yes, he is old (33). But he is still productive and could come on the "cheap" and provide leadership with a transitioning defense.
DE Michael Johnson. What!? Yes, there is a reason the Eagles selected Billy Davis as their defensive coordinator. He is scheme diverse in both the 4-3 and 3-4. Johnson fits the Kelly profile in being tall/long armed (a natural flyswatter at 6 foot 7 inches tall). The Eagles will put the best athletes on the field so don't get the 3-4 defense stuck in your head just yet. Given his frame/ability to rush the passer/stop the run, he could be a FA nobody sees us signing. Kelly will keep his options open and will put the best "team" ahead of any perceived "scheme".
LT Ryan Clady/Jake Long/Brandon Albert. I doubt Clady will be available but you never know (since he turned down the Broncos first offer earlier last season). Jake Long more than likely won't be back with the Dolphins and Brandon Albert is diverse enough to play LT/RT/G giving insurance to Peters and also the ability to move Herremans back to LG.
WR Mike Wallace and Percy Harvin could be targets due to Kelly loving speed on offense. The biggest problem is they will both want big $ and also the idea of being THE MAN. Harvin is the best slot WR in the NFL/versatile run option/dynamic special teams player who would best fit our offense. Wallace and Desean would make it an absolute nightmare for opposing safeties which would further help our running game due to the safeties having to play in the opposite end zone on most plays (kidding...kinda haha). I'm not sure that Wallace/Harvin's attitude would help team chemistry, but from a talent assessment only, they would put the Eagles over the top offensively. WR Greg Jennings? Doubtful. But he's a true #1 WR that could help any offense. Expendable in Green Bay, but dependable anywhere else.
TE Dustin Keller/Jared Cook/Martellus Bennet are all athletic pass catching TE's which would work perfectly with the "Pistol" offense. All 3 are willing blockers and would make a good 1-2 combo with Celek.
There are a TON of possibilities/combinations/directions the Eagles can take from now until September. We have only scratched the surface as the plan slowly unfolds before our eyes. Free Agency will provide a better understanding of what the Eagles plan to do. So until then, hold on to those Vick/Foles jerseys and hope for the best. As I still think, the best has yet to come. Stay tuned!
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