2012 NFL Free Agents: 5 Players the Philadelphia Eagles Should Target
Last season, no team made a bigger splash in free agency than the Philadelphia Eagles, who signed defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, traded for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and were immediately anointed as geniuses and proclaimed Super Bowl favorites.
We all know how that turned out, as Jenkins was solid but the corners failed to live up to expectations while the Eagles missed the playoffs altogether.
This year the Eagles may not King Kong their way through free agency with the abandon that they displayed last season, but with some room to wiggle Philadelphia can still sign some players to improve their squad in the hopes of making a run at an NFC East title in 2012.
This group of free agents should top their wish list.
Stephen Tulloch: MLB, Detroit Lions
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There is quite possibly no more glaring need on the Eagles roster than at middle linebacker, where the team used a menagerie of rookies, journeymen and bums in 2011 while getting gashed up the gut all season.
Detroit Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch had over 110 tackles last season, has experience in the "Wide 9" defensive front that the Philadelphia Eagles employ, is in the prime of his career at 27 and could likely be had for a fairly reasonable price tag in exchange for a long-term deal.
Stephen Tulloch should be the first player the Eagles call when free agency opens as well as the target they simply can't miss out on, as he just makes too much sense as a fit for the team to let him slip from their fingers.
Brandon Lloyd: WR, St. Louis Rams
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Working under the assumption that DeSean Jackson departs Philadelphia in free agency, the Eagles will need to acquire a wideout to complement Jeremy Maclin, either in the draft, free agency, or both.
Should they go the latter route, the Eagles could attempt to make a run at one of the big gun free agents like Marques Colston of the Saints or Vincent Jackson of the Chargers, but those big names also carry with them fat price tags.
For much less cheddar the Eagles could acquire a player like Brandon Lloyd of the Rams, who has over 2,400 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns the past two years and at 30 years old still has at least of couple of solid seasons left in the tank.
Adding Lloyd and an early-round rookie would likely cost the Eagles less than one of the "big guns" financially and set the franchise up better on the playing field to boot.
Jacob Tamme: TE, Indianapolis Colts
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Tight end Jacob Tamme of the Indianapolis Colts hasn't posted a sterling statistical resume playing behind Dallas Clark the past four seasons, but over the past two years Tamme has made 13 starts in place of an injured Clark, tallying 86 catches for 808 yards and five touchdowns in those games.
Adding Tamme wouldn't be a big-splash signing, but it also probably wouldn't put a big dent in the Eagles checkbook and would provide some much-needed depth at tight end behind Brent Celek.
Richard Marshall: CB, Arizona Cardinals
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On paper, the cornerback trio of Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie looks fantastic.
In reality, though, there's one big problem that became evident last year. None are really suited to play the slot, due in large part to the fact all three of them tackle like 10-year-old schoolgirls.
Should Samuel be out in Philly as has been speculated then Richard Marshall of the Arizona Cardinals would be an ideal add, as the 27-year-old is best suited to the slot (averaging over 80 tackles a season over his six year career) and would allow "Alphabet" and "DRC" to kick back outside where they belong.
Jordan Babineaux: SS, Tennessee Titans
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This is another name that isn't leaping off the page at anyone but could be an excellent, inexpensive acquisition by Philadelphia.
Much like at linebacker, the Eagles need help in the middle of their secondary as well, as starters Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman are serviceable at best.
Jordan Babineaux may not carry the name value that free agent safeties Tyvon Branch of the Oakland Raiders or Dashon Goldson of the San Francisco 49ers has, however, the 29-year-old tallied 93 tackles in place of an injured Chris Hope in Tennessee a year ago and 104 stops as a starter for the Seattle Seahawks in 2009.
Babineaux would provide much-needed run support at a much lower price tag,