Picking Free Agents to Fill Each of the Philadelphia Eagles' 5 Biggest Holes
Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles haven’t exactly made a “splash” in free agency—and that’s a good thing. What they have done is add a little depth here, a little help there and a sprinkle of special teams improvement.
Of all the additions the team has made so far, the most exciting is the signing of 3-4 veteran defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga.
The flip side of that coin is the addition of Patrick Chung, who can’t stay healthy and whose best days are behind him. Furthermore, Chung couldn’t put it together under Bill Belichick, a coach who can make anyone look like a Pro Bowler. However, considering how bad the Birds have been at the safety position for what seems like an eternity, bringing in Chung wasn’t a bad move.
The Eagles also signed former Houston Texan James Casey to be for the Birds what Wilson Valdez was for the Phillies (utility). They now have another guy to tryout for a cornerback job in Bradley Fletcher (or Fletcher Bradley if heard him being introduced), and special teamer/aspiring linebacker Jason Phillips to do whatever.
The name of Kelly’s game is “versatility,” folks. And by the looks of things, that Eagles depth chart that was teetering on the border of obscurity is now a full-fledged list of "Who’s This, Guys?"
Nonetheless, this is a good thing because the team isn’t expected to contend this year or even next year. Kelly and Howie Roseman are experimenting, and that’s what we want them to do.
We saw what happens when you try to build through free agency, and no one wants to suffer through another set of repercussions like those of the 2011 offseason again. Ever. So, good for Chip and Howie!
But there are a few moves the team could make to plug a couple of holes and stop the bleeding in a few places via free agency.
The following slideshow is a list of the aforementioned moves.
5. Wide Receiver
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This isn’t going to happen. However, just like the Eagles should have tried to sign Dashon Goldson, Jake Long and Dwayne Bowe, they should try to sign Greg Jennings.
It wouldn’t have looked good if the team signed all of those guys but the Eagles needed each of them, and the odds weren’t too bad on landing one. That’s why the team should have pushed for them, to land one. Not all of them. I just want to be clear.
Now only Jennings is out there and he has been the least likely to be an Eagle all along. However, he’s an outstanding player. Though he’s been hurt, bringing him in is a move the Eagles need to make in the same way the Sixers needed to trade for Andrew Bynum. In other words, when you have an opportunity to acquire a great player you can have in the future, you have to take that chance.
If they can bring in a player like Jennings and then draft a big receiver like Da’Rick Rogers, the Eagles prospects for the future look outstanding.
There are other free-agent wideouts, but Jennings is the cream of the crop.
4. Offensive Line
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In a perfect world, the Eagles would have signed Jake Long. In a less-than-perfect world, they would be about to sign Andy Levitre. Unfortunately, we live in the real world and the Eagles are going to have to bring in Andre Smith, Brandon Albert or someone like them to “shore up” (for lack of a better term) the offensive line. Of course, this “shoring up” will depend on how they draft.
Regardless, both Smith and Albert are great in the run game and the Eagles have LeSean McCoy carrying the ball for them.
Smith isn’t exactly a pass coverage specialist, but he’s not the worst. He also just had a year that was better than was expected of him.
Albert has been opening holes for Jamaal Charles for quite some time and he’s been good at it. Considering the Eagles’ needs on the o-line, how would bringing him in be a bad thing?
3. Outside Linebacker
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Willingboro, New Jersey’s own Shaun Phillips will be 32 years old at the start of the 2013 season, and the free agent 3-4 outside linebacker just had a great rebound year after a lackluster 2011.
Although he could end up playing for the Denver Broncos, he would be an excellent addition to the Eagles defense because they need outside linebackers in the worst way.
Who knows if every down the Eagles are going to have a “predator” rush the quarterback?
The team will probably be in and out of the 3-4, but if that’s what they’re moving toward in the future then it’s probably what we’ll see a lot of, and that’s why bringing in Phillips would be a great move.
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No matter what the Eagles do, they are going to have question marks at the cornerback position entering the 2013 regular season.
None of the cornerbacks on the depth chart are proven. That’s not to say that they don’t have potential, but you need an insurance policy in this kind of situation. And Mr. Antoine Winfield could be more than that.
Winfield is old, but he doesn’t get torched. He’s one of the game’s best tacklers, and he’s a leader. What’s wrong with signing him if you’re the Eagles? Nothing.
You can’t build a team around Winfield because of the tread on this tires—but he’s could be the stitches for the Birds’ open cornerback wound instead of whatever Band-Aid the team was looking at.
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The names Chung and Nate Allen do not strike fear into the hearts of opposing offenses, nor do they inspire joy and hope in the hearts of Eagles fans.
Having good safeties is absolutely essential in today’s NFL. Take a look at the last few Super Bowl winners except the New York Giants and try to make the case that a team can get by with a mediocre safety corps.
The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t had a safety since Brian Dawkins left, and his loss has been felt since the day the Denver Broncos introduced him.
Who knows where La’Ron Landry will end up after a great year with the Jets?
Is bringing Quintin Mikell a good idea? Yes, given the team’s current safety situation.
The Raiders let go of Michael Huff. There is no real, hard demand for him, but the Eagles need him.
Not making a push for one of these guys would be egregious on the part of the Eagles’ front office.