Brian Dawkins, a second-round pick out of Clemson, was never supposed to be this good.
Thirteen years and multiple bone-jarring hits later, it is clear that even the most knowledgeable NFL insiders initially had no idea just how valuable Dawkins would become to not only the Philadelphia Eagles, but also the NFL.
Dawkins' free-wheeling, take-no-prisoners approach to the game quickly endeared him to Eagles fans. He was instrumental in providing leadership on and off the field for the last decade.
That all came to an end Saturday, as Dawkins agreed to what essentially amounts to a two-year nine million dollar contract with the Denver Broncos.
It was reported the Eagles offered him two years, but at less guaranteed money.
The Eagles, who have a reputation for letting players walk when they reach the age of 30 or above, proved this case was no exception.
The act has fueled anger and frustration from Eagles fans. Many of whom cannot believe the the leader they loved and admired was whisked away to Denver faster than Andy Reid can down a cheesesteak.
Well, my loyal and faithful Philadelphia brethren, I am here to tell you that the Eagles were right.
Thats right, you can close your jaws now. You can keep your fist clenched and your Dawkins jersey can still remain right next to your wedding photo.
But the Eagles were still right.
Even though the Eagles reportedly tried to "lowball" Dawkins by offering him a contract worth considerably less money than the Broncos, they made the right choice.
Dawkins will be among the top-five paid safeties in the NFL this season. The Eagles knew paying Dawkins as a top-five safety would not be a sound choice, considering he is declining and was a liability many times in pass coverage last season.
Dawkins was essentially converted to a linebacker by the end of last season. The Eagles were moving him up to the line of scrimmage more to rush the passer and to stop the run, but were not relying on him in pass coverage. It was clear his range had decreased.
Yet, through all of that, the Eagles were still smart enough to realize that his leadership and play-making abilities were worth a two-year contract, which is what they offered.
It was not in the outrageous stratosphere that the Denver Broncos were willing to go to, but I am sure the Eagles presented Dawkins a fair offer.
Herein lies the danger of free agency in today's modern day NFL. Money talks. Security talks. But most importantly, the Broncos convinced Dawkins that he can still play safety for them at a high level.
The Eagles, however, seemed to tell Dawkins with their offer that they thought he could help the team, but no longer as a true impact player.
As much as everyone wants to lash out at Andy Reid, Joe Banner, and any executive wearing green in the last week, you have to understand this. Dawkins chose to sign with Denver. He was just as responsible for leaving the Eagles as Reid, Banner, or Lurie. In the end, he chose money over security.
Don't get me wrong, Dawkins was a leader, and he will be missed.
But the Eagles could not jeopardize improving their team just to overpay a player who thinks he can still make an impact at high level.
Brian Dawkins, you will be missed by many, but will be forgotten by none.