The 2012 season is all but finished for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Baring an absolute miracle, they'll miss the playoffs for the second consecutive year, and if there is any truth to Jeffrey Lurie's mandate, Andy Reid will be replaced.
At 3-7, what more can the Eagles play for? Surely not pride, dignity or respect—those have all been beaten out of them. At this point, you'll probably find it more entertainment watching a local Pop Warner game in South Philly.
Rather than hitch any remaining hope you may harbor to the mathematical odds that say the Eagles still have a chance, embrace the reality of the situation. Accept the chaos that is the Philadelphia Eagles' organization and look forward to the future. You'll feel better.
According to Pro Football Talk, the Eagles are $20.1 million below the salary cap. No other team in the league is that far below the salary cap other than the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are also at $20.1 million.
Considering how star-studded the Eagles' roster is, you'd expect them to be closer to the bottom of the pack. This is a testament to Howie Roseman and the front office's ability to acquire cream-of-the-crop talent for reasonable prices.
The good news (for once) is that the Eagles have an opportunity to get even further under the salary cap. If they do in fact part ways with Michael Vick, who is expected to make $16 million in 2013, then $12.7 will come off of the books.
Philadelphia can shave off another $9.6 million if they release Demetress Bell, the disappointing tackle they signed to a five-year, $34.5 million deal after Pro Bowler Jason Peters ruptured his Achilles in March.
Philly.com suggested that the Eagles are likely to clean house after this season and offered up some names in addition to Vick and Bell who might not return.
The bottom line is that if the Eagles make the changes necessary to revitalize their team and bring back that winning culture, then they are going to be way under the cap, which means they'll have options.
Here are five players that should be on the Eagles' free agent wish list come this offseason:
The offensive problems of the Eagles' have been well documented this season. In fact, its getting to the point where its no longer necessary to point them out.
Jake Long is the best lineman on the market this season, and assuming he's still on the market when free agency begins, there is going to be high demand for him.
The Eagles have learned the hard way that you get what you pay for. Being cheap is only going to put them in the same position as this year.
Protecting the quarterback is essential to the success of the team and without quality lineman, its impossible.
Once Jason Peters returns from injury, he'll more than likely resume his post at left tackle. In the event that Long lands in Philadelphia, the Eagles will have to rearrange their line to put him in the best position to be successful. But for a lineman the caliber of Long, it would be worth it.
With Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the roster, does it make sense to bring in another starting corner?
Of course it does!
Nnamdi Asomugha has fallen incredibly short of the expectations placed upon him when he was signed in 2011.
Last season we gave him the benefit of the doubt and blamed his struggles on the new scheme, but quite honestly, this season hasn't been much different. Its time to accept the fact that maybe he's not as good as advertised.
Sam Shields on the other hand is proving that he has the skills to be a quality corner in this league. In the 2010 NFC Championship, Shields became the fifth player to record a sack and two interceptions in a playoff game. However, Shields has been hampered by injury this season and could have trouble maintaining his job in Green Bay due to the depth in the secondary.
If given a chance to shop on the market, the third year corner shouldn't have any problem competing for a starting spot, especially in Philadelphia.
Once again, adding depth to the offensive line has to be the priority heading into this offseason.
Vollmer's consistency and dependability are exactly what will make him such a a sought after free agent, and they are also the type of traits that will cause him to have an immediate impact on an Eagles offensive line that has been devoid of any type of continuity the entire season.
Once Andy Reid made the decision to remove DeSean Jackson from punt return duty, their average plummeted.
Philadelphia's efforts on special teams altogether have been putrid.
The Eagles have been unable to generate anything all year from their punt returners or kick returners. It's no wonder why the offense is ranked 31st in scoring—they never get decent field position.
Fortunately, the speedy Ted Ginn Jr. could possibly be on the market in the offseason. He has three punt returns and three kick returns to his name in six seasons.
If the Eagles are to ever return to their winning ways, they'll have to start playing all three phases of the game—offense, defense and special teams.
This guy is a play maker.
Don't believe me? Go back and watch him pick off Ryan Tannehill this past Sunday.
In four NFL seasons, he has 17 interceptions and nine forced fumbles.
He provides that physical, hard-nosed safety play that the Eagles have been missing ever since Brian Dawkins left. Byrd is the type of guy who lays everything on the line and never quits on a play.
It has been obvious this season that the Eagles have completely lost their defensive identity.
A guy like Byrd could help them get it back.