Free agency is in full swing in the NFL, and the Philadelphia Eagles have the great advantage of being the only team in the NFC East with a significant amount of money to spend. As a result, the Eagles are already being linked to some top-tier players.
That's certainly exciting for Eagles fans, yet I'm sure there's a fear that the team could splurge and live to regret it for the second time in three years. Will the "Dream Team" fiasco change the way Howie Roseman operates on the open market? Time will tell.
One thing's for sure: As the process unfolds, we'll be here to record every major rumor and report, react to every signing and analyze every loss. So save the URL above and stay with us as the Eagles begin to collect parts at the dawn of a new era in Philadelphia football.
3/14: The Eagles have signed OLB Connor Barwin to a six-year, $36 million contract.
3/14: The Eagles have agreed to terms with S Kenny Phillips (one-year contract) and CB Cary Williams (three-year contract)
3/14: DT Ricky Jean-Francois visited and left without signing.
3/13: CSN Philly's Derrick Gunn reports that the Eagles have interest in LB Connor Barwin.
3/13: ESPN.com's Dan Graziano reports that the Eagles will turn their attention to offensive tackle, with Jake Long, Andre Smith and Sebastian Vollmer on their radar.
3/12: Adam Kaplan of PhiladelphiaEagles.com (get used to hearing reading that citation) reports that the Eagles have signed LB Jason Phillips.
3/12: Adam Kaplan of PhiladelphiaEagles.com reports that the Eagles have signed S Patrick Chung.
3/12: Adam Kaplan of PhiladelphiaEagles.com reports that the Eagles have signed TE James Casey.
3/12: PhillyMag.com's Tim McManus reports that the Eagles are not in contention for defensive backs Sean Smith, Dashon Goldson and Darrelle Revis. Revis is expected to be traded out of New York.
3/12: Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that the Eagles will host NT Isaac Sopoaga.
3/12: Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Eagles have interest in TE James Casey.
3/12: NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports that the Eagles are interested in DT Ricky Jean-Francois.
3/11: ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Eagles are one of four teams in play for S Dashon Goldson.
3/11: Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that there's a "rumor brewing" that the Eagles are interested in trading for Jets CB Darrelle Revis.
3/10: CSN Philly's Geoff Mosher reports that the Eagles have interest in WR Danny Amendola.
3/7: Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that the Eagles were one of the first two teams to reach out to released Chiefs OT Eric Winston.
3/15: Traded a sixth-round pick in 2013 and conditional pick in 2014 to the Buccaneers in exchange for WR Arrelious Benn and a seventh-round pick in 2013, according to the team
3/14: Signed OLB Connor Barwin (six-year, $36 million contract with $8 million guaranteed)
3/14: Signed S Kenny Phillips (one-year contract)
3/14: Signed CB Cary Williams (three-year, $17 million contract with $7.5 million guaranteed)
3/12: Signed LB Jason Phillips (two-year contract)
3/12: Signed S Patrick Chung (three-year, $10 million contract with $6.25 million guaranteed)
3/12: Signed NT Isaac Sopoaga (three-year, $12 million contract with approx. $5 million guaranteed)
3/12: Signed CB Bradley Fletcher (two-year, $5.2 million contract)
3/12: Signed TE James Casey (three-year, $14.5 million contract with $6 million guaranteed)
Before the start of free agency: Re-signed longsnapper Jon Dorenbos (four-year contract; terms not disclosed)
Before the start of free agency: Re-signed S Colt Anderson (one-year contract; terms not disclosed)
3/13: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signed with Broncos
3/12: OT King Dunlap signed with Chargers.
Before the start of free agency: Released CB Nnamdi Asomugha
Before the start of free agency: Released DT Cullen Jenkins
Before the start of free agency: Released DT Michael Patterson
Before the start of free agency: Released OT Demetress Bell
And that's officially a wrap on the "Dream Team" era in Philadelphia.
In a move that surprised few, the Eagles released top cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha just minutes before the start of free agency on Tuesday, leaving the team with Brandon Boykin, Brandon Hughes and Curtis Marsh as their top three corners while Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie cruise the free-agent market.
I wrote earlier this month about how quickly Asomugha's play had deteriorated, and the Eagles obviously saw the same cliff-dive based on their decision to pay the 31-year-old $4 million to play somewhere else in 2013.
Chip Kelly and his staff now have a chance to start completely anew on defense, with the secondary likely to gain several new starters. This is a team had gave up 60 passing touchdowns the last two seasons and needs some fresh blood in coverage.
You'd certainly think they'd be interested in guys like Brent Grimes, Chris Houston, Sean Smith, Keenan Lewis, Aqib Talib, Antoine Cason and Kyle Arrington. The good news is they now have over $40 million to spend on whomever they feel fits the mold.
The Eagles didn't exactly make a splash in the first few hours of free agency, but they added in intriguing offensive weapon by giving tight end James Casey a three-year deal, according to Adam Kaplan from the team's official website.
The 28-year-old, who comes over from Houston, brings something unique to the offense. He served as an H-back with the Texans, catching 34 passes and scoring three touchdowns in 2012. He's more versatile than Brent Celek or Stanley Havili and could be a major contributor as both a lead blocker and a pass catcher.
This isn't an earth-shattering move, and Casey's making a lot of money. According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, he'll make nearly $5 million per year, with $6 million guaranteed. Still, they had the money to spend and Chip Kelly must feel he get some special things out of this guy.
The Eagles have replaced Nnamdi Asomugha...sort of.
At the very least, Philadelphia has added an experienced cornerback to the roster after agreeing to terms with 26-year-old Bradley Fletcher to the roster on the first day of free agency.
Fletcher started 26 games in four seasons with the Rams, intercepting five passes during that span. The 2009 third-round pick out of Iowa gave up completions on only 47.1 percent of the balls thrown his way last year, which ranked sixth in the league, according to Pro Football Focus.
He didn't get a lot of credit for that success last year in St. Louis and lost a large chunk of the 2011 season due to a knee injury, so he was sort of flying under the radar as free agency approached this year.
At only $2.6 million per year, this could wind up being a very solid signing. Expect Fletcher to start in 2013.
The Eagles have a new favorite to start at nose tackle in their revamped defense in 2013 after signing monster-sized veteran Isaac Sopoaga away from the San Francisco 49ers.
Sopoaga will turn 32 early next season, so Philly is likely still in the market for a long-term option in that spot, but he'll cost only $4 million a year, which isn't bad at all for a big body who has experience anchoring a 3-4 defense.
We're not talking about a standout player, but Sopoaga comes from one of the league's best defenses, where he started 71 games between 2008 and 2012. It appears the Eagles are smartly identifying affordable options that they feel can contribute as key cogs next season. Sopoaga fits that description.
Any safety is a good safety in Philadelphia right now, and so Patrick Chung's signing probably delights fans who grew mad having to watch Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen throw up all over themselves in 2012.
Chung comes over from New England, where he started 30 games in his first four seasons in the NFL. He's versatile in terms of his ability to stop the run and contribute in coverage, and the Eagles might like the fact he's only missed 16 tackles thus far in his career.
He might not be a top-tier playmaker, but Chung is a borderline starter with seven career picks. He's still only 25, so there's some upside there, especially when you consider that the former Oregon Duck will be reuniting with college coach Chip Kelly (although Kelly coached the offense while Chung was in Eugene).
Again, I love the way the Eagles are approaching the free agency period thus far. This is anti-Dream Team, but they're showing they're not afraid to stay very active on the open market. So long as Chung isn't getting more than about $8 million guaranteed, he'll be a nice addition. There's a good chance Philly signed three, maybe even four starters on Tuesday.
The Philadelphia Eagles have finally succumbed to the nature of the free-agent market by overpaying an average player at a position of need. With top-tier cornerbacks like Sean Smith, Keenan Lewis, Brent Grimes and Chris Houston wrapped up elsewhere, the Eagles gave a stupid amount of money Thursday to Super Bowl champion Cary Williams.
How stupid? Well, $17 million over three years with $10.5 million guaranteed, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
Now, the Eagles had money to spend and the cornerback pool was beginning to get shallow, but Lewis only got $11 million guaranteed from the Saints earlier in the day and Smith got the same thing from the Chiefs.
Williams lacks the consistency in coverage that guys like Lewis, Smith, Houston and Grimes possess, but—for whatever reason—the Eagles missed out on those players and had to give similar money to a man who surrendered more catches and yards than all but a handful of NFL corners in 2012, according to Pro Football Focus.
The lesser heralded Brandon Fletcher, who was signed by the Eagles on Tuesday, put up significantly better numbers in coverage but is only receiving $2.35 million guaranteed on a two-year, $5.25 million deal.
One factor here is that Williams does have a nose for making plays. He had four interceptions and scored on a pick six last season, but he also picked off two passes in the playoffs as Baltimore made its Super Bowl run. Remember that this Philly team had just 13 takeaways in 2012, which was the second-lowest 16-game total in NFL history.
Ultimately, though, I just don't think the 28-year-old Williams provides an upgrade over Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or Nnamdi Asomugha. DRC got only a one-year, $5 million contract in Denver and Asomugha is still floating around on the open market.
UPDATE: Turns out the original numbers were off and only $7.5 million is guaranteed. That helps...a little.
It's apparent that nobody trusts Kenny Phillips to stay healthy, because a player with his skills would ordinarily make a killing on the open market. Instead, Phillips settled for a one-year prove it contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, jumping from one NFC East team to another.
It's a low-risk move for the Eagles, regardless of the price. They have the cap space to take a chance on a talented player like Phillips and can move on if his knees don't hold up. He had microfracture surgery on the left one in 2009 and was hampered for the majority of the 2012 season due to a sprained MCL in his right one.
But wedged in between those two injury-ravaged seasons were two beauties. Phillips was rated by Pro Football Focus as the seventh-best safety in the league in 2010 and the sixth-best safety in the league in 2011. The former first-round pick is only 26 years old, so if he can stay healthy he has a chance to become a Pro Bowl-caliber safety for years to come.
Worst-case, they cut bait at any point with few repercussions.
As they attempt to revamp their defense on the open market, the Philadelphia Eagles have added six potential defensive starters to the roster in less than 48 hours. The only addition to the linebacking corps comes from Houston, with outside linebacker Connor Barwin signing on for $36 million over six years.
Seriously. A 3-4 outside linebacker who had three sacks on 1,137 snaps in 2012 (per Pro Football Focus) is getting paid $6 million a year by a team that already appears set with two Pro Bowl-caliber players at that position.
With Brandon Graham and Trent Cole on board, this could be an indication that the Eagles aren't so sure about the 30-year-old Cole and his transition from 4-3 end to 3-4 'backer.
Among those who took at least 25 percent of their teams' snaps, Barwin was ranked by PFF as the league's fourth-least productive pass-rushing outside linebacker in 2012. His sack total decreased from 11.5 in 2011 to three in his final season with the Texans, but the Eagles are giving him the kind of cash you hand to double-digit sack guys.
Philly certainly had the money to spend, but that doesn't change the fact that this looks like a poor investment. We're yet to get word on how much money is guaranteed, but unless they're close to trading the highly-paid Cole and are more desperate than we've been led to believe, this is a baffling move regardless of what's been promised.
UPDATE: Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that only $8 million is guaranteed, which prevents us from concluding that this is a completely terrible signing. Still an odd one, though.
The Philadelphia Eagles took the trade route in order to add their latest new player in what's been a very busy 2013 offseason, dealing a seventh-round pick and a conditional pick for 2014 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for talented young wideout Arrelious Benn and a sixth-round pick.
This is a small potatoes move that can't hurt the Eagles. Benn is only slated to make $630,000 in the final year of his rookie deal. If he exceeds expectations, they won't mind giving up that conditional draft pick. If he doesn't, he'll cost nothing and will have at least given Philly a better late-round pick in 2013.
The 2010 second-round pick received a decent amount of hype headed into his rookie season, but he was outplayed by fellow rook Mike Williams and was never able to get on track in Tampa, primarily due to injuries.
Maybe a fresh setting is the answer. He's only 24 and has the ability to be a solid possession receiver. The problem is that Benn will likely be buried on the Eagles' depth chart from the get-go. Unless something happens to Jason Avant or Riley Cooper, he'll likely be left battling Damaris Johnson for a roster spot come August. And remember: they also have 2012 sixth-round pick Marvin McNutt to think about.
Strange move, but one that isn't likely to ultimately impact the Eagles going forward.