Eagles Should Tap Free Agency Market to Fill Holes.
It’s hard to believe that NFL free agency is just days away. It seems like just yesterday that the Philadelphia Eagles began what would soon become the most memorable offseason in recent Eagles history, if not ever. After signing Defensive Linemen Jason Babin, and Cullen Jenkins the Eagles snatched up the most coveted free agent of them all in Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Not to mention bringing in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the Kevin Kolb trade.
With the hiring of Defensive Line coach Jim Washburn, and the implementation of the wide 9 defensive scheme it seemed as though the Eagles were well on their way to winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history. After the production the offense showed the season before, a few tweaks to a somewhat suspect defense was all we needed to get over the hump. Sure the promotion of former Offensive Line Coach Juan Castillo to Defensive Coordinator was going to be a bit of a rough transition, the talent on that side of the ball would certainly help to hide any growing pains, right?
Well, this is the NFL. Teams will find a way to exploit your weaknesses. The Eagles learned the hard way that you can have all the talent in the world at certain positions, without proper schemes or the players to execute them, teams will find a way to beat you. For the Eagles, that happened 8 times last season, leaving them on the outside of the playoff race looking in.
While the Eagles defensive unit isn’t entirely to blame for the lackluster season we just suffered through, they are the unit where the most help is needed. With DeSean Jackson likely returning with a smile and a bag full of money, Jeremy Maclin getting a full training camp, and Michael Vick possibly working towards another payday, the offense should be clicking just fine. The defense however is lacking a real identity. Soft Safety play, and the Linebacker Corp’s inability to stop the run led to big plays and long drives against a defense that was just getting to know each other.
You have to figure that the drafting of Safeties Jaquawn Jarrett last year, and Nate Allen the year before would be enough to keep the Eagles from pursuing a big free agent at that position. I believe that these two will soon be a force over the top for the Birds, and that the front office feels the same way. Look for the Eagles to add a veteran like Sean Jones here as a stop gap, and mentor.
As far as the Linebacker position goes, this has to be at the top of the list for the Eagles front office. 2004 was the last time I felt comfortable with the linebacker play. The one player that comes to mind when I think back is good ole Jeremiah Trotter. A monster in the middle, Trotters intensity often willed his fellow linebackers to success. While players like Trot don’t come around often, there are certainly players available that would make an immediate impact at the position.
The cream of the crop this season includes names like Curtis Lofton, and Stephen Tulloch. Lofton finished last season fifth in the league in tackles (147), and would likely command more money than the Eagles would be willing to pay for a position that they don’t typically value too much. Tulloch likely won’t sign until Lofton sets the market. While he shouldn’t get the money Lofton gets, it should be comparable likely pricing the Eagles out of the market. There’s also this guy named Mario Williams who split time between DE and LB, maybe you heard of him. He’s likely to break the bank somewhere, and chances are it isn’t here in Philly (last year says anything can happen though). In my mind the most likely fit would be former Nittany Lion LB Dan Connor. He’s not the glamorous signing we all want, but at 26 he has a huge upside. In the right scheme, his stats could go through the roof.
While the only people who know for sure what the Eagles front office is thinking happen to be the tightest lipped bunch I’ve ever encountered, common sense says that they have to know where their weak, and plans to address that are well underway. The fun begins in 4 short days. So strap yourself in, and enjoy the ride. Here we go again…Similar Posts: