5 Players Not Named Asomugha Who Would Improve Philadelphia Eagles' New Defense

Justin SparksCorrespondent IIIJune 23, 2011

5 Players Not Named Asomugha Who Would Improve Philadelphia Eagles' New Defense

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 17:  Nnamdi Asomugha  #21 of the Oakland Raiders breaks up a pass intended for Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on October 17, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    There have been a lot of rumors circulating around south Philadelphia. With the NFL lockout still hovering over the heads of teams around the league and fans at home, all we can do is speculate until things get back to normal.

    The Philadelphia Eagles have made no secrets about being a potential big player in the free agency market. They have a big trading chip and plenty of cash to spend.

    Armed with an off-season dedicated to player and personnel research, the Philadelphia Eagles are ready to pull the trigger.

    They have arguably already acquired two of the best position coaches at their respective positions in Howard Mudd and Jim Washburn, and Juan Castillo has been reassigned to defensive coordinator.

    The Eagles brass are ready to make some headlines in the free agency market, whenever it opens for business.

    Let's look at five players who do not wear silver and black or force you to double check the spelling of their names, like Nnamdi Asomugha.



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1. Chad Greenway

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    The Philadelphia Eagles are in serious need of improvement at the linebacker position. Linebacker has proven to be the forgotten position in the Andy Reid era. No one in the current group is irreplaceable.

    Chad Greenway would be a great addition to this group of linebackers. At 6'2" and 242 pounds, he would add size to the group already in place. He finished up the 2010 season with 144 combined tackles and 109 solo tackles for the Minnesota Vikings.

    To put his numbers in perspective, Stewart Bradley had 60 combined tackles and 49 solo tackles in the 12 games he played last year donning the midnight green.

    At the age of 28, Greenway is in the heart of his prime years as a linebacker in the NFL and would qualify for Andy Reid's under-30-years-old rule of thumb for free agents.

    Averaging 119.3 combined tackles and 91.7 solo tackles for the last three years in the heart of Vikings country, Greenway has shown consistency at the position. He could potentially supplant Stewart Bradley, who is now at the make-or-break point of his career in Philadelphia. 

    The NFC East contains Viking-sized men in the trenches, with an array of running backs, equipped with different skill sets, running behind them. Chad Greenway could shore up the box for the Eagles and force running backs outside, where the team's defensive speed on the edges could take over.

2. Randy Starks

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    MIAMI - JANUARY 03:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is sacked by defensive end Randy Starks #94 of the Miami Dolphins at Land Shark Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Steelers defeated the Dolphins 30-24.  (Pho
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    The Pro Bowl defensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins may not be the first name you thought of when you saw this list, but there are two key factors that make this possible.

    It is no secret that Andy Reid and the Eagles brass have been shopping Kevin Kolb around. Due to the lockout, they have not been able to talk with teams directly. Instead, they have gone to the media to put out their memo to the league: Kevin Kolb is definitely for sale.

    The Miami Dolphins have been hampered at quarterback since Dan Marino left the organization. Unable to find a consistent starter, they certainly have been evaluating the prospect of upgrading at the position with Kevin Kolb.

    Last offseason they added a top-10 receiver in Brandon Marshall, and would be wise to find someone who can put the ball in his hands. Chad Henne is not a franchise-caliber quarterback.

    This brings us to the second key factor. Jim Washburn, the new Eagles defensive line coach and former Tennessee Titans coach, has a big role in attracting players like Randy Starks.

    Randy Starks played for the Titans from his rookie year in 2004 until 2007, when he signed with Miami. Starks would add some much needed size in the middle of the defensive line. The Eagles could use some girth in the middle to plug up the holes and let Trent Cole hunt down quarterbacks off the edges.

    Listed at 6'3" and 305 pounds, Starks would fit into the interior defensive line and help create havoc. Broderick Bunkley has not lived up to his billing coming out of college, and Randy Starks would be a suitable replacement.

3. Darnell Dockett

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    'Why not? You wouldn't be upset if it happened'
    'Why not? You wouldn't be upset if it happened'Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Hear this one out. This brings us back to the Kevin Kolb factor. The list of potential candidates that are interested in Kolb's services continue to dwindle the longer the lockout continues.

    Many believe the Arizona Cardinals have become the front runners for Kolb. Even their All-Pro wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, has publicly lobbied for Kevin Kolb to make the move to the desert.

    A big problem with this move is that Andy Reid, as previously mentioned, has a rule of thumb when it comes to players 30 years and older. That aside, Darnell Dockett would be a great fit for the Eagles defensive line.

    Why not? He may not be the sexy name. He is a little older. But he is a pretty big man. Plus, he is a proven veteran who wants a ring and a fresh start, with a skyrocketing team and an excellent organization, a fiery position coach, a "player's" head coach, and oh, the kicker, he grew up in Maryland, less than 130 miles from Philadelphia.

    No, that does not mean it is likely, but the lockout will have a more profound effect on players than many media members are accounting for.

    Players are used to playing football by now. Not sitting around looking for things to do. Or moving back to their hometown hanging with family for such an extended period of time. Possibly looking for some work too.

    Paired together with Antonio Dixon, who earned his place as a starter last year, in the middle, and Trent Cole on the edge, Dockett could bring back fear for NFC East quarterbacks this season.

4. Johnathan Joseph

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    Ask any Philadelphia Eagles fan what the team needs most on defense, and you will unanimously hear, "right cornerback opposite Asante Samuels."

    Ok. This is Philadelphia we are talking about. There will be a vast variety of opinions, but cornerback will be the consensus.

    Johnathan Joseph does not wear silver and black. He is not another Cali guy like DeSean "Hollywood" Jackson. He will not be turning 30 before the season begins either.

    Johnathan Joseph is 27 years old and entering the heart of his prime years.

    Joseph has a knack of making plays around the ball. He has an excellent ability to locate the ball in the air and make a play on the ball. Most importantly, he has the cover skills to keep a Steve Smith or a Miles Austin in check.

    He may not be the guy everyone would like to see in midnight green; however, the realities of how the Eagles brain trust works indicates he could be a primary candidate.

    Nnamdi Asomugha will be demanding one of the highest salaries in football, roughly around 18 million per year, as noted by Sheil Kapadia (http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/moving_the_chains/P-King-tabs-Eagles-as-favorites-for-Asomugha.html) for Philly.com . At 30 years old, this will be his last chance at a huge contract signing and unfortunately, most of the athletes in the NFL rather get paid than win.

    Johnathan Joseph would be a fantastic addition to a young defense and an integral part of the new secondary. His more reasonable price tag could bring more value to the defense over the long haul. Do not be surprised if you see him donning the wings next season over those ugly Bengal's stripes.

5. Albert Haynesworth

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    There have been a ton of rumors flying around the NFL and in Philadelphia. One of the biggest rumors, literally and metaphorically, is the one going around that Jim Washburn has been pressing Andy Reid and Howie Roseman to look at Albert Haynesworth.

    Not too sure how many people around Philadelphia feel about that as a possibility, but let's look at it.

    We all witnessed the sideshow that was the Albert Haynesworth fitness tests down in D.C. The mammoth of a man could not even run a simple fitness drill.

    He moved to D.C. from the Tennessee Titans on a huge free-agent deal worth $100 million over seven years, with a possibility of $115 million based on performance incentives. Albert received $41 million of that guaranteed.

    Daniel Snyder sure does love throwing unnecessary money at people.

    Haynesworth went into a new system, under a new head coach in Mike Shanahan. Boy, that combo fit like a glove, did it not?

    The financial issues with this signing would probably cause Joe Banner to take an Alka-Seltzer while reading over the details.

    Although, that being said, he would have a huge impact.

    Andy Reid has never strayed away from his belief that NFL games are "won in the trenches." You think Juan Castillo and Jim Washburn are not at least reminding "Big Red" that "Big Al" is not happy in D.C.?

    A man-eater of a DT, he would turn the Eagles' defensive line into a brute force to be reckoned with. Antonio Dixon and Albert Haynesworth would push up the middle together, creating headaches for the quarterback and forcing running backs outside.

    Couple that with your Pro Bowl DE in Trent Cole, and the carousel of "fastballs," as Andy likes to refer to them, on the other side, including Brandon Graham, Darryl Tapp, and company.

    The endless defensive line pressure would free up the secondary and linebacker core, allowing them to play in position and not forcing them to blitz to put pressure on the quarterback.

    It is still a long way from a realistic possibility. But Howie Roseman's words leave the door open.

    “If a player can fit into the culture of what we’re trying to do and stay within our structure and adopt our team-oriented goals, maybe the risk is worth the reward."