NFL Free Agency: Looking at the Philadelphia Eagles' Plan so Far

Darren GrossmanCorrespondent IMarch 20, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 01:  DeSean Jackson #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles carries the ball against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

I wrote a couple weeks ago that the Philadelphia Eagles would be quiet in free agency.  I said not to expect a lot of big splashes or big-name players to be acquired via free agency.  For the most part, I have proved to be correct so far.

However, that does not change what the Eagles have done so far and, personally, I love it.  The Eagles have spent most of the free-agency period extending their own players.  They re-signed guard Evan Mathis and dynamic WR DeSean Jackson.  They also ripped up Trent Cole and Todd Herremans deals and replaced them with long-term extensions that keep them in Eagles green for years to come.

The Eagles also re-signed defensive tackle Antonio Dixon to a one-year deal and restructured the contract of Cullen Jenkins to save them some cap room. 

The biggest splash the Eagles have made actually came through trades.  First, the Eagles traded Winston Justice and a sixth-round draft pick for only a draft pick back.  While that move was a bit puzzling, the primary purpose was to acquire extra salary cap space. 

The huge deal came down Tuesday when the Eagles traded for Texans MLB DeMeco Ryans. The Eagles traded a third- and fourth-round pick to the Texans for Ryans and a third-round pick.  So essentially, the third-round picks are a wash and the Eagles got Ryans for a fourth-round pick.  While Ryans is owed a lot of money over the next few years, the Eagles get a guy who, before he got injured in 2010, was playing at a high level.

Ryans started playing well late last season and he is a huge upgrade for the Eagles at linebacker, a position many people wanted them to address.  Ryans is only 27 years old and a two-time Pro Bowler.  He is also the Texans' all-time leader in tackles.  With Ryans, the Eagles got a potential Pro Bowler for a mid-round draft pick.

That trade has put the early weeks of the offseason over the top, so as of now, I would say the Eagles are doing a nice job, but there could still be a lot more to come.

While none of the free-agent moves sound overly exciting, it was exactly what the Eagles needed to do: Keep their core players together for another season and extend talented guys for future years.  So far, this offseason has been a success for the Eagles.