When the 2011 NFL season kicked off the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line was expected to be one of the more dominating groups in NFL under the tutelege of esteemed line coach Howard Mudd. While there were some road bumps that needed to be worked out, the Eagles offensive line wrapped up the season proving to be among the best throughout the league. Just hours before the official start of free agency Philadelphia is taking the right approach to keeping this line in tact.
According to Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro of the Official Team site, the Eagles and offensive tackle Todd Herremans have agreed to a three-year contract extension reportedly worth $21 million and $11 million guaranteed.
Herremans is a seven-year veteran in the NFL, all with the Eagles, and has proved countless times to be a staple in the Eagles offensive line. He played tackle collegiality but was moved to the interior line when selected by Philadelphia in 2005. However injuries forced the Eagles to move him back to the tackle position where he successfully played on a full-time basis during the 2011 season.
In other free agency news, the Eagles held a workout with former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ben Leber.
Leber (33) is a 2002 third-round draft choice of the San Diego Chargers where he immediately became an impact player on the Chargers defense starting in all 16 games during his rookie season. In his second year in the league Leber was moved to outside as the Chargers starting strong side linebacker. Leber excelled at both positions but was injured during training camp of the 2005 season, which ultimately paved the way for future Pro Bowl linebacker Shawn Merriman.
Leber then spent the 2006-10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings appearing in every game but one as their starting linebacker and the 2011 season with the St. Louis Rams where he appeared in seven games, and just three starts. For his career Leber has recorded 496 tackles, 24 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, 5 interceptions, and 28 defended passes.
Leber has some impressive numbers and the Eagles have a definitive need for a veteran at the linebacker position. Yet i’m still not thrilled with the workout mainly due to Leber’s age so we’ll see what happens here. If the Eagles can get him on a one-year deal which would be likely than it might be solid move.
There have also been whispers that the Philadelphia Eagles are interested in acquiring Carolina Panthers linebacker Dan Connor once free agency opens in less then three hours. The lack of a veteran presence at the position had a detrimental impact on the Eagles overall success in 2011 and it appears as though the front office is looking to fill that void. The question is whether or not they are doing everything possible to acquire the appropriate talent to win it all in what many believe is a do-or-die 2012 season.
The Eagles have a lot their share of needs to get the roster where it needs to be to make the big push. They also have their share of options to acquire said talent(s) in free agency. They currently have a total of 10 draft picks in the upcoming draft as well as expendable players such as veteran cornerback Asante Samuel. If the Eagles can unload Samuel it opens up a significant amount of cap space. However some of that would be neutralized by any potentially player that could come in.
Let’s not also forget that the Eagles still have to think long-term for their own players who have contracts set to expire in the near future such as Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy and receiver Jeremy Maclin. Philadelphia would also be doing themselves a favor if they can find a way to get starting guard Evan Mathis a new contract as well.
Tick tock, tick tock…we’re getting close folks!
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