The Eagles' Offseason Leaves Players, Fans Wondering What's Next
Unlike U.S. President Barack Obama, transparency is not a high priority for Philadelphia Eagles President Joe Banner and his front office staff. Coupled with head coach Andy Reid’s penchant for not revealing any of the team’s plans, the Eagles' offseason moves—and lack thereof—have left many fans scratching their heads.
The conversation of the offseason begins and ends with safety Brian Dawkins. For many, his departure was a bitter pill to swallow. Although the team signed two safeties in former Brown Sean Jones and Raider Rashad Baker, many fans weren’t ready to let Dawkins go.
In truth, Dawkins wasn’t ready to go, either. After signing with the Denver Broncos, Dawkins said he felt hurt.
"[Philadelphia is] a place that I very much felt a part of.” Dawkins said after signing with the Broncos. “I felt like a Philadelphian, so this is very hurtful. But I'm trying to move forward with the Broncos."
"His legacy is solid with the Philadelphia Eagles.” Andy Reid said earlier this week. “He is a Hall of Fame player. It didn't work out. Those things happen. I wish him nothing but the best of luck in Denver.”
In an interview, Dawkins said that cornerback Sheldon Brown will likely be the player to lead the defense in his absence.
Brown said that while Dawkins’ leadership was valued, its importance was overrated.
“People didn't respect Dawk because he spoke well,” Brown said. “They respected him for the way he worked in the offseason and the way he was always there for you as a teammate.”
The team boasted the best overall defense in the NFC and was third overall in pass defense.
The team also bid farewell to longtime tackle Tra Thomas, and backups Correll Buckhalter and Sean Considine. Right tackle Jon Runyan remains unsigned as he recovers from injury. His return to the team is unlikely.
Lost in the circus surrounding Dawkins’ departure was the signing of former Bengals offensive lineman Stacy Andrews.
Andrews, who is the brother of guard Shawn Andrews, signed a seven-year contract on the first day of free agency. His ability to play both guard and tackle was a major factor in bringing him to Philadelphia, Reid said in an interview this week.
It is unclear which position Andrews will play, but the Eagles now have three multi-dimensional starters in the Andrews brothers and guard Todd Herremans who can play both tackle and guard.
The Eagles aimed to bolster their running game by signing former Seahawks fullback Leonard Weaver to a one-year deal yesterday. Weaver is a solid lead blocker who can also run and catch. He will be penciled in as the starter.
Although the Eagles only used their fullback about 30 percent of the time last year, Weaver said he will do what is asked of him without complaining.
With the top-tier free agents signed, the Eagles are focusing their attention on April’s NFL Draft. The team goes into Draft day with 12 picks, including two in the first round. It is unlikely that the team will hold onto all of these, which has created rampant speculation amongst fans.
Enter Anquan Boldin.
Wide receiver has always been a fixation for fans, and he is this year’s crush. A talented receiver, the Arizona Cardinals’ star Anquan Boldin has surpassed 1,000 yards four times in his six-year career.
His marriage with the Cardinals turned south last offseason after a contract dispute. He has threatened not to re-sign with the team once his contract expires.
The Cardinals have said that Boldin is not available for trade, and quarterback Kurt Warner even offered to take less money to re-sign him. So far there has been no news out of Arizona, which has lead many pundits to speculate that Boldin may be headed to Philadelphia on Draft day.
The move makes sense for both parties. The Eagles need a veteran receiver for quarterback Donovan McNabb, and the Cardinals could use the draft pick to improve an already solid team.
But before fans get too excited, it’s important to remember that the Eagles and Cardinals played in the NFC Championship game last season. If Boldin is available, the Cardinals brass will be hesitant trading him to a conference opponent.
Andy Reid and his staff have always believed in the building a team through the Draft. If a trade for Boldin (or any other receiver, such as the Bengals’ Chad Johnson,) doesn’t go through, look for the Eagles to draft a receiver.
The Draft figures to provide the team with all around offensive firepower. The majority of mock drafts have the Eagles selecting a combination of tight end, running back, and offensive lineman with their two first round picks.
The bottom line here is that the offseason is far from over. The regular season is six months away, and plenty can happen between now and then.
One thing is for sure—for better or worse—the 2009 Philadelphia Eagles will be worth watching.
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