Philadelphia freedom I love you, yes I do...
Chances are this classic Elton John tune isn't on Gibril Wilson's iPod, but multiple reports are claiming that Wilson may leave the Super Bowl champion New York Giants to head down Route 95 to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Gibril is one of four unrestricted free agents that can sign elsewhere this weekend. Both Mike Garafolo of The Star Ledger and Ralph Vacchiano on the Daily News are reporting that Wilson's asking price of $5 million per season is too high for the Giants who were hoping to spend somewhere in the $2-3 million range. The Eagles, Jaguars, and Broncos are among the teams interested in Wilson's services.
Can the Giants really afford to let Wilson go to the Eagles? Although the G-men just locked up their other starting safety, James Butler, for next year, they are terribly thin at that position. Rookie Michael Johnson is the only other true safety on the roster that saw action for New York in 2007. Craig Dahl, who had his season cut short by injury, was let go.
For the last handful of years, all Giant fans hear during training camp is that the pass rush is going to be so dominant that any weaknesses on the secondary would not have the chance to be exposed. Those promises finally came to fruition by the end of Super Bowl XLII, but not before first round playoff exits the prior two years and the Giants giving up 80 points over their first two contests in 2007.
Though Wilson is certainly not Ronnie Lott, obtaining a suitable replacement, one that will be able to comprehend and adapt to Steve Spagnuolo's multiple blitzing schemes, is no easy task. One of the better available safeties is the Jets' Erik Coleman, but replacing Wilson with a guy who started for a 4-12 team just does not seem to make much sense.
The other UFAs are linebackers Kawika Mitchell and Reggie Torbor, as well as running back Derrick Ward.
The Giants have the best chance of retaining the veteran Mitchell who they were able to grab on the cheap last off-season. Mitchell got off to a slow start this season, but was a forced to be reckoned with during the playoffs.
Torbor has been disappointing over his first couple of seasons in the NFL. He has cracked the starting lineup on multiple occasions due to injuries, but the commentators would hardly mention his name beyond naming the starters. The Giants also have Gerris Wilkinson and Zak DeOssie to fill in at linebacker, with both seeing some game action this season.
Ward was on the verge of having a breakout season, filling in for Brandon Jacobs. However, Ward's own injury problems caught up with him and allowed rookie Ahmad Bradshaw to emerge as a better complement to Jacobs. With the Giants likely to retain Reuben Droughns, they will have plenty of depth at running back and another team will be able to take advantage of his services.
If Gibril Wilson is looking for another track for his ipod, he should try this Billy Joel tune out…
...I'm in a New York state of mind...