Secret (Free) Agent Man
So what do the Eagles do with free agency this year? I, like many of you think that our top need is safety. While the draft is deep at this position, it's important that the Eagles try and shore up the position with a proven player. There are two players who should be at the top of the list:
1A. 49ers S Dashon Goldston
1B. Texans S Glover Quinn
Either player would provide the safety play the Eagles have been accustom to over the years. And either of them would shore up 1 out of the 4 areas of need in regards to the secondary (assuming Nnamdi doesn't restructure his contract and released).
While these two players are at the top of the list, there are other safeties who could provide great value if they can remain healthy (Luis Delmas/LaRon Landry/Kenny Philips). Ed Reed could be a fantastic addition in terms of leadership and can still be a play maker. While a player like Patriots S Patrick Chung could come on the cheap (and still be an upgrade over Kurt Coleman).
With the loss of DRC and possibly Nnamdi, Cornerback is also a fairly glaring need. Top of the list is Dolphins CB Sean Smith. While not the most athletic of the bunch, Smith does provide tremendous size (over 6'3) and the physical play which would slow down bigger WR's. Falcons CB Brent Grimes (Achilles injury) is not as big physically, but is feisty and a definite upgrade (assuming he is healthy). Aquib Talib comes with off the field issues, but could also be a good addition at CB. All three of these players are unique in terms of skill set, but the Eagles won't overpay for any of these players (but might consider it if they consider a Revis trade). This is also depending on the scheme the Eagles want to run etc. so it will be interesting how the Eagles will approach the cornerback position.
Offensive line is another area the Eagles could use improvement. But with a top pick in the draft, it makes me wonder what priority the OL has in reference to the DL/CB need. How they approach the offensive in in FA will almost determine the direction they will move in the draft. There are a few options that would provide an immediate upgrade (OT Sebastian Vollmer of the Patriots/G Andy Levitre of the Bills/OT Jake Long of the Dolphins). Both Vollmer and Long would be outstanding as starting RT's, but how much are the Eagles willing to pay (or over pay for that matter). G Andy Levitre is a solid pick as a guard but doesn't have the WOW factor. Either way, any of these players are an upgrade.
Pass Rusher: Ravens OLB Paul Kruegar and DE (possible OLB) Cliff Avrl top the list. But I don't think the Eagles feel they are a MUST given they still have talent at the position (Graham, Cole, Curry etc). There are other teams with more pressing needs in regards to a pass rusher. So my thoughts? The Eagles will pass.
Playmaker: Chip Kelly wants to score (and score a LOT). While the Eagles seem to be set at running back, a name like RB Reggie Bush could be a fantastic role player who can play RB and play the slot WR. If the Eagles are looking for the fastest group of WR's on the planet, they go for WR Mike Wallace. Trouble is, the Eagles could use more versatility when it comes to playmaker. Wes Welker? Danny Amendola? Interesting picks and could provide a spark on the offense but might be too small/similar physically to what the Eagles already have. My first thought is the Eagles will target a pass catching tight end. Top of the list is Titans TE Jared Cook (followed by Jets TE Dustin Keller). If Kelly decides to mold his NFL offense in more of a Patriots style, either one of these two tight ends would be a fantastic addition. Again, the draft is very deep with this "type" of tight end, so this is also an interesting area of team importance.
It will be interesting to see what happens, and there are many different directions the Eagles can go in. With so many needs on offense/defense it's hard to predict what they will do. While it might not be the spending frenzy of 2011, I still think the Eagles will be aggressive with 2-3 players who will start immediately, then bargain bin shop until the draft. Stay tuned!
Update: The Eagles just cut Nnamdi. So this free's up another 11 million dollars in cap space. The Eagles are now 40 million dollars under the cap, so get ready to sign a big name or two!
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