While much of the talk surrounding the Eagles' search for a linebacker has revolved around free-agent Stephen Tulloch, a report from the Wilmington News Journal cites league sources who believe the Eagles could be pursuing former Carolina Panther Dan Connor.
According to the News Journal, "Several league sources confirmed the team’s interest in the former Penn State All-American who just finished his fourth season in Carolina, although the degree of interest remains unclear."
The article goes on to say, "At least two sources close to the situation believe Connor, a native of the Delaware County suburb of Wallingford, Pa., is high on the Eagles’ wish list."
If that is indeed the case, Connor could be a cheaper alternative to either Tulloch or Atlanta linebacker Curtis Lofton, an option that many had not considered.
However, Connor's shaky injury history and his unfamiliarity with the wide-nine scheme that the Eagles have employed under coaches Jim Washburn and Juan Castillo could cause him to fall further down the Eagles' wish list.
These factors will certainly play into a decision by the Eagles front office, and the News Journal's Geoff Mosher indicates that the interest in Connor may be limited:
But one source with direct knowledge of the Eagles’ offseason plans indicated that Connor isn’t their top choice and suggested that it’s less likely to happen, although he did acknowledge that Connor, 26, is someone the team has sought in the past.
Connor is known around the league as a solid run-stuffing MLB, but the explosiveness of a player like Tulloch is certainly more intriguing, primarily because of his experience with the wide-nine in Tennessee and Detroit.
When comparing Tulloch and Connor's numbers, it's certainly difficult to make a case for Connor. He has played a full season just once in his career, and of those 16 games, none were starts. Connor has also never compiled more than 100 total tackles in a season, a feat that Tulloch has reached in each of the past three seasons.
In the last three seasons, Tulloch has recorded 392 total tackles, more than doubling Connor's career output.
So while Connor may not be the long-term answer at MLB, this much is clear: The Eagles are looking to address their deficiencies at linebacker through free agency first, and they will look to the draft as a secondary option when the time comes.