Philadelphia Eagles Free Agency: Addressing the Eagles' Free Agency/Draft Needs
With free agency right around the corner and Andy Reid still at the ranch with former president Bush, let's take a look at what free agency might bring to Philadelphia and who might be making an exit.
Allow me to start by saying Reid is not hanging out with George Bush (as far as I know) and he is on a much needed vacation to clear his head for the upcoming fiasco. There are names out there this season that could really help the Birds in 2011, everyone knows the name Nnamdi Asomugha and his level of talent right?
Quarterback Michael Vick is among the list of names who are able to leave who could decide to go else where. Will he, no I doubt it but we'll get into that in just a minute.
Even though the Eagles invested heavily in their defense last draft they still came up empty on many occasions leaving the wondering mind to do what it does best—think!
With that, lets put our caps on and take a look at the potential new arrivals who would really fit in well with the Eagles style of football, and some guys who would be better off serving on another teams.
I'll start with players who would work well in Philly, move to the gentlemen that should be moving on, and finish with a discussion about how the Eagles should handle Michael Vicks Philadelphia status and how much I feel they should pay him.
First Order of Business-Find a Defensive Coordinator (long Slide)
Green Bay Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac
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Now that the Eagles have announced highly regarded Jim Washburn is the new defensive line coach in Philly, it's time to turn the focus over to the next Defensive Coordinator.
Mike Singletary is off the market as he signed with the Minnesota Vikings and other from fans I've talked to, he never really was a front runner for the position.
Jim Mora Jr. has apparently taken himself out of the running with both the Eagles and Denver as he wants to return to the NFL as a head coach. He interviewed with the Broncos and was expected to do so with Andy Reid as soon as he returned from vacation.
I sure hope Mora didn't want an answer from Reid immediately but the fact that he took himself out of the running speaks volumes itself.
That leaves just three available individuals to resume McDermott's role.
Dick Jauron: Jauron is already the Eagles defensive backs coach so he will most likely get the position offered to him due to his familiarity with the personnel already in Philly.
However there are some concerns with hiring Jauron for the position.
Clearly Andy Reid is looking for something completely fresh from him defense, or else he wouldn't have rid of Sean McDermott or Rory Segrest and I'd like to know just what type of defense he is looking to employ before they just hand him the position.
If he hadn't already, Jauron is also scheduled to interview with the Cleveland Browns for their Defensive Coordinator position. Will he wait for Reid's return or will he sign the dotted line with Tom Heckert?
Bill Davis: Davis replaced Jim Mora Jr. as the San Fransisco 49ers defensive coordinator back in the 2005-06' season when he received his first D.C. award. He again received the honor in the 2009-10' season when he was with the Arizona Cardinals.
Is Davis the answer? It sure looks like he would fit the part with his honors, and him also being the linebackers coach for the Cardinals. Absolutely Davis could find a home in Philly right, eh, not so fast doc!
In 2006 he was criticised by Monte Poole of the Oakland Tribune for his defensive methods, appearing to employ a hybrid 4-3 and 3-4 defense.
"The defensive coordinator Billy Davis, who drifts between the 4-3 scheme and the 3-4 scheme, not only has been incapable of masking these deficiencies but also seems to find ways to accentuate them."
Is a hybrid defense something Andy Reid is looking for? We'll have to wait and see.
Mike Trgovac: Currently the Green Bay Packers defensive line coach Trgovac is an interesting prospect for the Eagles defensive coordinator position.
Being a former coach in Philadelphia he already knows of the fierce mentality Eagles fans expect from its defense.
He knows what it takes to create a demoralizing defense as he's done in Green Bay for some time, but also being a defensive line coach he and Jim Washburn could form an extremely ferocious Eagles defensive line with the current members on the roster.
In 1998 his defensive line ranked third in the NFL in sack percentage and first against the pass. Was it his ability to be an outstanding coach or was it simply the level of talent along the front four?
In 1995 his defensive line produced a league high 42.5 sacks proving to be a dominating force, something that has been lost for some time!
This is the next big move for the Eagles. Who do they sign, what kind of defense will the individual employ, the list goes on and on.
I'm sure that if required, Reid would either return early from his vacation or be in extremely close contact with GM Howie Roseman.
Look To The Offensive Line
Right Tackle Winston Justice
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Is right tackle Winston Justice to blame for the majority of Michael Vick's aches and pains in 2010? Was he trying to do far to much lending a hand to some of the other O-line players?
That I don't know, to me it looked like Winston was lost many times last season but I'm not down in the trenches with these guys to see exactly whats going on. I must rely on my eyes to tell me what I think is real or not.
In 2008 Justice was the butt of abuse from Philadelphia fans after the Eagles/Giants game where he allowed an astounding four sacks on Donovan McNabb. He finished out the season strong and was awarded a starting job and a handsome paycheck because of it.
Fast forward to the 2010 season and he clearly had his ups and downs.
If the Eagles feel Winston is once again to blame and they look to a more proven player at said position, do they address it during Free Agency or the 2011 NFL Draft?
If I'm Andy I'm looking to Free Agency to see if I could reel a work horse to Philly. A player who has already played in the NFL and is already brought up to speed of the NFL.
This is the position to block Vick's blind side and many teams like the Packers overwhelmed Justice last season. IF I'm looking to resign Vick, this truly is the first area of need. If not a right tackle, then a hybrid player who can play both Guard and Tackle well.
A player like Patriots guard Logan Mankins!
Center Of Attention: Eagles Can't Risk Another Jamaal Injury
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This may very well be the Eagles first round draft pick and it would be a wise choice if looking to the future of the Eagles franchise.
Jamaal Jackson's injury during the first game of the 2010 regular season had an impact with the Eagles overall success last season.
You might be saying, but Dan the Eagles went 10-6, a better record than many gave them credit for prior to the start of the season.
I can't argue that however I can argue that finding a more sound player to either backup Jamaal or outright take his starting job should be a requirement going further.
I had expressed interest in Mike Pouncey's twin brother Maurkice last draft, who ended up with the Steelers and having a fine season. He had his share of bumps and bruises but for the most part he was a dominating force.
The same could be expected from Mike and the Eagles should not shy away from this kid if they have an opportunity to bring him to town.
Much like his brother Mike can play both the center position and guard position. If he is taken in the first round it is said that he will then be a Guard, I don't know how much water that holds but either position he could be considered an upgrade.
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The issues at right cornerback for the 2010 season are not entirely just Dimitri Patterson's fault but he didn't quite play at a level either Sean McDermott or Andy Reid was fond of.
As I said, we are all familiar with the Oakland Raiders standout at cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha but I would forget his name right now, just let it go because he will NEVER end up in Philly.
If you're looking for reasoning behind this theory it's very simple. He wants to get paid and deservingly so.
I'm not saying I wouldn't love to see him in Eagle Green but with the amount of other players currently on the roster who are expecting to also get paid, the Eagles simply won't be able to afford Nnamdi.
First on the list is quarterback Michael Vick who took the Eagles to the playoffs in just his first season as starters, and was crowned the comeback kid.
Then you can't go on without looking at wide receiver DeSean Jackson who, well we all know what Jackson does—he makes defenses look horrible and he's a pretty darn good punt returner to boot.
I'm curious how the Eagles are going to afford just those two guys let alone another top shelf talent.
My honest opinion, they are boneheads for letting Sheldon Brown go but they thought they had Ellis Hobbs, more on him in just a bit.
So who is left? Ike Taylor is an average but aged player who can still run with the best of him but he's only recorded 11 interceptions in the last eight seasons.
Champ Bailey is another name out there but again his age concerns me for the kind of money he'll want. Besides, he's already expressed an interest in staying with Denver so that's a long shot.
For this position I'm looking to the draft so that's another article for another time.
Linebacker But Which One?
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Starting middle linebacker Stewart Bradley has had his ups and downs. He has the potential to be a furious linebacker for the Eagles however his fierce football nature tends to get him injured more often than not—season ending injuries!
Still in my opinion he is a key factor to this Eagles defense if he could just stay healthy his potential is endless.
Stew is also a free agent this year and we will all find out very soon what the front office thinks of him.
Will they cut or resign him? I'd be willing to bet the farm the Bradley will return to the nest for the unforeseeable future but he needs to go through hurdles before he can return to the player he is capable of being.
Do the Eagles move him to the SAM position and leave Jamaar Chaney as the new starting man in the middle? This is a very possible reality we could see for the 2011 season as Chaney more than held his own late in the season.
He also must get better in coverage but he has the perfect size and mindset to play the position.
That leaves Mr. Ernie Sims and what a truly disappointing performance he had last season. Acquired prior to the start of the 2010 season, Sims was expected to be that player in the weak side who could complement Bradley but was a huge let down.
Maybe a newly employed defensive scheme will suit him best in Philadelphia, maybe it would just be wise to cut their losses sooner rather than later.
I have a feeling the Eagles will tip their toes with some potential players like Chad Greenway, David Harris, or Lamaar Woodley.
If they can't reel one of these guys in then I anticipate the draft is where they will find Sims replacement.
To Resign Michael Vick As Eagles Starting QB
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In my opinion he gets resigned by the Eagles. My guess is a four year contract extension at around 40-50 million, 17 of which will be guaranteed.
Some of you might be saying that a four year deal for a 30 year old athlete is to much but keep in mind the Eagles must look for Kolb's replacement (give me a minute) while still remaining competitive.
He (Vick) was battered and bruised in 2010 but a lot of that comes from the lack of production along the offensive line, which can be fixed if the Eagles play their cards right.
There is no obvious reason why the Eagles shouldn't resign him and if he wants to show any kind of decency in him then he would remain loyal to the only team that gave him a second shot.
In nine games that Michael Vick played in last season threw for 3,081 yards, rushed for 676 yards, amassed 21 passing TDs versus nine interceptions. The list really goes on and on for a player who was named "The Comeback Kid" in 2010.
For a full list of his highlights, both 2010 and career, click here (will open in a new window).
Quarterback Kevin Kolb
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Quarterback Kevin Kolb waited patiently in Donovan McNabb's shadow for four years. He said all the right things during that time and in 2009 when he was asked to step in for an injured McNabb, Kolb showed a little glimpse of what could've been.
There has been some chatter about how both Vick and Kolb would be back with the Eagles for their 2011 season. Andy Reid has already publicly addressed the fact that he would like to have them both remain here in Philly.
And surely at some point Vick will become injured in 2011 because that's simply just the nature of the game so their might be a couple of reasons to keep him (Kolb) around.
I'm here to tell you I don't see it happening. There are teams that could use his service as a starter, something he said he wants to do whether in Philly or for another team. Teams like San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals.
Would it be out of the question to think that even Minnesota might take a look at him? He becomes a free agent this season so technically he could walk without any reimbursement to the Eagles franchise.
Next, third string quarterback Mike Kafka could end up being a solid backup to Vick if he and QB coach James Urban work diligently together during the off-season. He had two major knocks to his reputation, his mechanics and he isn't a strong passer.
These are very correctable things and as I said, if he works his tail off over the next six months or so then that leaves Kolb remarkably expendable.
Either way, with Kevin's starting mentality and teams out there who could use him for such reasons, I find it hard to believe he will remain in Philly as a backup unless no offers come in for him.
Defensive End Victor Abiamiri
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It is time Andy Reid wakes up and realizes he can't hold on to defensive end Victor Abiamiri any longer. Yes he (Abiamiri) has all the potential in the world, and he played well enough for the Eagles to invest a second round pick on him back in 2007, I get it.
I also understand that he has been in the league for four years now and has only amassed 35 tackles—including playoff games. Throw in his four sacks since joining the Eagles which averages to one a season and you can clearly see why they can't keep him.
Injuries have kept Victor off the field for the better part of his professional career and this is right about the point where Andy Reid generally will say enough is enough and cut his losses.
Then again, I did say this exact same thing during the 2010 off-season so I suppose anything is possible. Would I be surprised if the Eagles did decide to keep him around for another season, yeah I really would be, but if there's one thing I've learned about Andy Reid is to never think you know what he's thinking.
Cornerback Ellis Hobbs
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Ellis Hobbs should be a definite here. It was once believed that him being reunited with pro bowl selection Asante Samuel would bring a ball-hawking secondary to the Eagles defense.
Unfortunately it never happened due to repeat neck injuries, his latest being a career threatening herniated disc in his neck.
He got absolutely lit up in the Titans/Eagles game proving that there is more bark than bite when it comes to Hobbs.
Philadelphia can afford to cut ties with him with last years fourth round draft pick Trevard Lindley, average backup Dimitri Patterson, and the fact that if they don't draft a cornerback no later than the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft I'm going to go senile.
The Eagles have to find an adequate compliment to Asante Samuel, whether it's through free agency or the draft, the right cornerback position needs to be addressed.
Multiple quarterbacks exposed the right side of the Eagles defense in 2010 and if they want to regain the respect of the league then there is no possible way for this to be over looked going further.
Running Back Eldra Buckley
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This is not a personal move rather than a personnel move. What I think is going to happen is the Eagles are going to release Eldra Buckley then move fullback Owen Schmitt as the third string running back.
This makes sense for a number of reasons.
First, he came to Philadelphia to fill in for an injured Leonard Weaver and played very well. He is a tenacious player who gives his full effort which alone warrants this decision.
Owen plays a very physical football game and he doesn't shy away from contact. Rather he lowers his head and goes for the knock-out punch in an attempt to gain additional yards.
Next is he adds insurance should Leonard Weaver go out again for an extended period of time, basically making him (Schmitt) a full time backup.
Lastly Eldra would benefit as I'm sure teams could use his talents so I don't believe he would remain on the market very long. Like I said this isn't a personal move, he hasn't done anything but impress in his time with Philly. I just think that keeping Schmitt makes more sense.
Linebacker Ernie Sims
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Talk about over-hyping a player.
As I mentioned in the fifth slide, Ernie Sims was a huge disappointment in 2010.
When the Eagles announced last off-season that they had acquired linebacker Ernie Sims via a three team trade, I couldn't have been more happy.
The thought of him and starting middle linebacker Stewart Bradley on the field at the same time together made me have visions of an extremely fierce linebacker unit.
We all know how this played out, Bradley has another season ending injury and Sims, well Sims simply did not produce.
Poor angles is what I noticed most often when watching Sims play. He would make a nice tackle here and there but he never showed me that he was worth all the excitement or anticipation.
The Eagles should trade Sims in an attempt to get additional draft picks. I'm not sure they could get better than a high third round pick for him but the Eagles could find a very sound player in the draft with that pick and start learning the Eagles way of life right out of the gates.
Whoever is the next defensive coordinator still has Omar Gaither to work with so at this point, again Sims is expendable.
Need More On The Eagles?
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