Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Bold Predictions for the Offseason
As the Eagles season winds up in 2011, it is time to look forward to 2012. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some predictions for the offseason. The predictions will range from the fate of Asante Samuel and Desean Jackson to what the Eagles do in the free agent market and who will be new to the team in 2012. Here are five things that I think are definite possibilities for the Eagles in the offseason.
5. Donovan McNabb Returns to Philadelphia as Michael Vick's Backup QB
I realize that McNabb might retire and decide never to play football again. There is a very good chance that he is done and will take a job broadcasting. I also think he will be an excellent analyst. However, since this article is entitled BOLD predictions, I thought I would start it out with a bang and a bold prediction.
McNabb could agree to sign with Philadelphia as a backup in 2012. Why? Well, if he decides he wants to play, after failed stints in Washington and Minnesota, no one is going to sign him as a starter. I think he knows that at this point. So he would be looking for a backup job. What place would make more sense than Philadelphia? He knows Andy Reid's offense, has a great relationship with Reid and Michael Vick, and will likely get a chance to play in a couple games as Vick seems to never complete a season.
It would be a great move for the Eagles too. In McNabb you get a veteran that many players have played with, who is well liked in Philadelphia, and who you will not have to teach your offense to. If Vick goes down, the team would have faith McNabb could fill in for a game or two and do an adequate job. If they offer him two to three million like they did Vince Young, this move could definitely happen. Young is likely departing and McNabb would make more holding a clipboard than he would in the broadcast booth.
It really comes down to what Donovan wants to do. If he wants to stay in the league, I definitely think Philadelphia would be near the top of his list.
4. Desean Jackson Gets the Franchise Tag
I have no idea if Jackson will be back in Philadelphia in 2012. He wants a long term big money deal and I am not sure the Eagles are going to do that.
What I do know is that the Eagles are a smart organization and they realize what they have in Jackson, which means they won't let him walk away and get nothing in return. So that means they will tag him. The Eagles will tag him so that if someone wants him, they will get compensation in return.
Most likely, no one will bite the bullet here so the Eagles will either get Jackson to re-sign or if they get value, they could trade his rights to someone else for draft picks or players.
Also the new formula for calculating franchise tags will lead to the tag costing less, so instead of it being over 11 million, it would be about 9.4 million to tag Jackson. Now Jackson could call the Eagles bluff and sign the tag, which would put the Eagles in some serious cap trouble, but odds are he won't sign the tag. Unlike last season though, Jackson could sit out training camp and the season because he is not under contract (and thus can not be fined or disciplined by the team).
My guess is the franchise tag will be used and it will not make Desean Jackson happy. The only real way a resolution is reached is if they pay him or trade him. One of those will happen. If I had to guess, at the end of the day, Jackson is an Eagle in 2012, but gets a little less money than he wanted.
3. Jaiquawn Jarrett Starts at Safety in 2012 and Becomes a Quality Player
The Eagles took Jarrett in the second round in 2011 and touted him as a Brian Dawkins type of player. He has not seen the field much due to the lack of an offseason, which did not give him adequate time to learn the defense.
The Eagles still believe in Jarrett and so do I.
Jarrett has the size, speed and skills to be a top notch safety in this league. He just needs the experience. My guess is with a full offseason and a year under his belt, Jarrett will make giant strides in 2012 and become a valuable member of the secondary.
He may not make the Pro Bowl in 2012, but I could see it someday for this young safety. Jarrett will be starting Week 1, barring injury, in 2012. You can bank on that.
2. Eagles Will Not Draft a LB in the First Round, Instead They Will Go OL or DL
Most people think it is assumed the Eagles will address linebacker in the draft and I do agree they will take one or two LBs in the 2012 draft. I disagree with the assumption that it will be in the first round.
The linebacker play has gotten a little better as the season has moved along and the Eagles have had good luck picking LBs in later rounds (Brian Rolle, Jamar Chaney were both late-round picks). Going back further, the Eagles have not drafted a linebacker in the first round under Andy Reid. Actually, the last time they took a linebacker in the first round under anyone was 1979 and they have only done it three times in team history.
So I would be shocked if they go LB in Round 1. They might go there with one of their two second-round picks (they have an extra one due to the Kevin Kolb trade). They might even go there with both of their second-round picks, but what they won't do is take a LB in Round 1. How do I know? Because Reid's track record and the Eagles organization's track record tells me they will not.
Under Andy Reid's 13 seasons, seven of the team's 11 first-round picks have been used on the offensive or defensive line. The other two years the team traded out of the first round (2007 and 2008). For those wondering, the Eagles have not done all that well with those seven picks either, as Corey Simon was probably the best of the bunch. Of the seven picks they used in the first round, only three are still with the team, Brandon Graham (2010), Danny Watkins (2011) and Mike Patterson (2005). The other four, Brodrick Bunkley, Jerome McDougle, Corey Simon and Shawn Andrews either retired or are playing someplace else.
Asante Samuel Stays an Eagle in 2012?
It is widely assumed Samuel will be traded in the offseason, and I would say that in all likelihood, that will happen. However, this article is about bold predictions, so let's take a look at the Eagles track record and scenarios.
One thing that we know for sure is the Eagles will not trade Samuel simply to trade him. They will have an asking price and if a team wants him, they will have to meet that price. The asking price will be high too, just like it was for Kevin Kolb last year or Michael Vick two years ago.
The Eagles will hold out and make a team meet their price. If no team wants to meet their price, then the Eagles will look at other options. They will threaten to hold onto Samuel, and try to call a team's bluff. They will wait till the last possible moment and explore other options.
The reality is Samuel's money jumps up to over eight million next season and the Eagles do not have the cap space to pay him that much, so they have to trade him or restructure his deal (which he might not agree to do).
Do they have any other options? Well, quite frankly, yes they do. If they choose not to re-sign Desean Jackson, then they might be able to absorb his eight million if they wanted too. They could also dangle Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in a trade. Rodgers-Cromartie is younger and might be more appealing to teams, plus he will make less money. If they get a premium price for DRC, then they could tell Samuel that they moved him to clarify their commitment to him and try to get him to agree to a restructured deal.
In all likelihood, Samuel will be traded, but I know one thing for sure: The Eagles will get a good return for him. They will hold out and make sure some team gives them what they think is fair compensation. If that doesn't happen, they will do everything they can to hang onto Samuel in 2012.