Missing Pieces the Philadelphia Eagles Still Could Acquire
The Philadelphia Eagles already have a playoff-caliber roster. They have their starters, their quality starters and an abundance of depth everywhere. Any notable player the Eagles add to their roster from here would be more of a luxury than a need at this point.
It's unclear if the Eagles will add anybody to their roster unless they are just being brought in for extra depth or competition. There is a handful of good free agents available on both sides of the football, but adding them to an already talented roster in the middle of the Eagles offseason program would really put them at a disadvantage.
The Eagles coaching staff and front office will take a look at some of these free agents and consider bringing them in for training camp. Right now we are in the middle of OTAs and a few weeks away from full team mini-camps. That time is best served for the younger players. You want to give those players as much reps as possible right now. Adding a veteran player like Ryan Grant or Plaxico Burress would take away reps from Bryce Brown and Marvin McNutt.
The Eagles very well could add one or two more veterans once we get closer to training camp. Here are the five most likely players the Eagles will look to add to an already loaded roster.
1. Plaxico Burress
There has been very little new regarding Plaxico Burress this offseason. Recently, a report came out stating that the Giants aren't interested in Burress this season. That isn't really surprising. They have Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and they drafted Ruben Randle. They also have last year's speedy draft pick, Jerrel Jernigan. They don't have a need for a player who has been a headache for head coach Tom Coughlin in the past.
There will be a few teams that will be interested in Burress. The Miami Dolphins have the least memorable wide receiving corps in football. When Brian Hartline is your star wideout, you need help.
Burress played well for the Jets last season. He scored eight touchdowns last season with seven of those eight coming in the red zone. I expect them to have at least some interest in bring him back. He could at least be a good mentor for rookie Stephen Hill.
The Eagles could be that third or fourth team in the mix. They need a bigger receiver who can make plays in the red zone. It would be the perfect role for Burress. He isn't an every-down wide receiver anymore. He will be 35 this season.
The Eagles probably won't offer him anything other than a one-year deal. They have plenty of youth at receiver and will need extra cap space in the coming seasons to re-sign players like Jeremy Maclin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Where Burress signs will depend on what he wants. If he expects to be signed to at least a three- or four-year deal and given a starting role, he will have one team to choose from at the most. If he is looking to be a small part of a championship-caliber team, he will generate more interest. The Eagles could be one of those teams if that's the case.
2. Visanthe Shiancose
In a league where the tight end has become the most difficult position to defend against, it's surprising that former Minnesota Viking Vistanthe Shiancoe is still a free agent.
Shiancoe will turn 32 years old and his receiving yards have decreased in each of the past three seasons. His touchdowns have also gone down from 18 combined in 2008 and 2009 to just five total touchdowns in the last two seasons.
Shiancoe did visit the Seattle Seahawks last March, but left the Seattle as a free agent. Somebody will eventually sign him. He has strong hands, good size at 6'4, 250 and still can be a very good tight end in the right offense.
The Eagles are getting a real close look at what they have at tight end behind Brent Celek. Clay Harbor is the number two tight end with Brett Brackett right behind him. Neither player is a lock to make the team. Harbor has put up very pedestrian numbers in his first two seasons with the Eagles while Brackett has yet to play in a NFL game.
Shiancoe would provide really good competition in camp at tight end. If he still has tread left on his tires, which he should, he would make a solid number two tight end in the Eagles offense. It would be a mistake for the Eagles to just ignore a player like Shiancoe at this point. They have had too many red-zone issues in the past to not look into adding a veteran tight end who has made his mark inside the 20.
3. Marcus McNeill
When Jason Peters went down with his season-ending Achilles injury, it really affected the depth of the Eagles at left tackle. Demetress Bell was signed to take over at left tackle, but there isn't really a backup left tackle on the roster outside of starting right tackle Todd Herremans.
King Dunlap has some experience at left tackle and could fill in for a game or two at the position. He isn't a long-term answer at left tackle. His strength and height give him an advantage as a right tackle but pose a problem facing more athletic pass-rushers as a left tackle.
The Eagles could use a veteran to help add depth to the left tackle spot. Marcus McNeill is the best available free agent at left tackle, but only if he is healthy. His back is a major concern right now. That is the only reason he is a free agent right now.
The Eagles would be wise to bring him in for a workout to get a better idea of how healthy he is at this point. If he is healthy, he could be signed to a cheap one-year deal while providing the Eagles with a very good backup left tackle.
4. Sean Jones
The Eagles could use one more veteran player at safety to add competition and depth at the position. They had shown some interest in former Miami Dolphin safety Yeremiah Bell, but he wound up signing with the New York Jets instead.
The Eagles are set at the starting safety spots with Nate Allen at free safety and either Kurt Coleman or Jaiquawn Jarrett at strong safety. The Eagles could use one more player for depth at safety. Right now Colt Anderson is the number two free safety on the depth chart. Anderson is coming off ACL surgery and is better served as just a special teams player rather than being relied on as a key reserve safety.
Sean Jones would be a solid acquisition for the Eagles. He has started all 32 games the last two seasons for Tampa Bay and also made nine starts for the Eagles in 2009.
He isn't an ideal starter at either safety spot. He is mediocre in pass coverage and is on the down side of his career. As a backup, he is a good role player. He can contribute on special teams and fill in for an injured starter when needed.
Once we get closer to training camp in late July, I fully expect the Eagles to add a veteran player at safety. Sean Jones is the best safety on the free-agent market right now.
5. Albert Haynesworth
From 2002 to 2008, Albert Haynesworth was a disruptive force under defensive line coach Jim Washburn in Tennessee. He was consistently double-teamed but still managed to record 24 sacks under coach Washburn.
The last three seasons havn't been as kind for Haynesworth. He struggled to maintain the same success in Washington that he had with Tennessee. Last season he started with New England before he was released and eventually signed by Tampa Bay. He made 18 solo tackles in seven games with Tampa Bay.
Haynesworth had a great deal of success under Jim Washburn who is now coaching the Eagles defensive line. The Eagles are loaded at defensive tackle. However, after last season's struggles against the run, adding a good run-stopper wouldn't be a bad move.
It's a low-risk, high-reward type of move. The Eagles, if they would sign Haynesworth, would be signing him to little or no guaranteed money and a one-year contract. They could cut him the second he starts to wear on coaches.
It would be very interesting to see what a reunion between Haynesworth and Washburn would do. Players like Jason Babin and Jevon Kearse have also struggled outside of the wide-9 scheme that Washburn utilizes. Maybe he gets back to his old form under Washburn, maybe he last two weeks at camp before getting cut, but he has been to great of a player to not at least look into reuniting him with his old position coach.
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