The end is near for what seemed to be a never-ending NFL lockout. Both the players and the owners have come together on the issues they seemed to be farthest apart on. Both sides have had to make sacrifices for the good of the game, and it's now appears to be a matter of dotting the i's and crossing the t's. The owners meeting in Atlanta on July 21st should be the end of the lockout with free agency right behind it.
July 25th seems to be the ideal date for free agency to begin. The end of speculation and reports from so-called inside sources will be coming to an end. What the Philadelphia Eagles will do is still anybody's guess.
The Eagles will have somewhere between $20-25 million to spend on free agency after they resign current players and sign the 2011 draft class. The Eagles are in great shape to be very aggressive this offseason. Andy Reid and co. won't just throw money at the biggest free agents. The Eagles' front office has always been more concerned with signing good players that fit what they want instead of signing players coming off great seasons who may or may not fit their system.
Just about every big name free agent his been rumored to be a possibility for the Eagles. Some at positions of need while others mainly because there a big name.
When you have a lot of money to spend and at the same time you are a Superbowl contender, every player on the market will be interested.
Quintin Mikell appears to have played his last game as a Philadelphia Eagle. Mikell is an unrestriced free agent and the Eagles drafted a strong safety in the second round, Jaiquawn Jarrett. Jarrett should be ready to start at some point in the 2011 season and keeping around a player like Mikell who is on the decline doesn't make sense.
The Eagles will still need depth at the safety position. In comes Brian Dawkins. Dawkins is currently under contract with the Denver Broncos but will make $6 million in 2011. Dawkins' play greatly declined in 2010, and with the Broncos drafting one of the top safeties in the 2011 draft, it looks as if the Broncos will be willing to part ways with the legend.
Dawkins won't be offered a starting job with any NFL team. He will have a choice to make, retire or take on a reserve/mentor role with a new team.
Why not return to the city that still has nothing but love for him?
Many great Eagles have come back at the end of their career to retire as Eagles. Randall Cunningham, Hugh Douglas and Jeremiah Trotter all did it and Dawkins could be the next.
The Eagles could use an accomplished safety like Dawkins to help groom second year free safety Nate Allen and rookie strong safety Jarrett.
Kevin Kolb will be traded within about a week of the lockout being lifted. It doesn't make sense to hold onto a player who won't start who Andy Reid can trade for multiple early round picks. Too many teams are very quarterback needy coming off a week quarterback draft class.
The Eagles will receive a first round draft pick and a couple mid round picks as well.
The players that the Eagles could receive in a trade either don't fit well enough in their schemes or they just aren't worth taking over a first round pick. The 2012 draft class appears to be loaded with offensive tackles, pass rushers, outside linebackers and cornerbacks—all are possible needs for the Eagles next season.
Arizona is the team that will be willing to give up the most for Kolb. They have absolutely no one of any worth at quarterback right now. Derrick Anderson was awful, John Skelton is a developmental project(as long as the project is just a backup quarterback project) and Max Hall may have already reached his peak. Neither guy is capable of winning more than six games in a season even with very talented receiving core.
Arizona has to get a quarterback to compete in the abysmal NFC West. Larry Fitzgerald is on his contract season in 2011 and the Cards will have to at least have a pulse in order for him to sign a long term deal to stay in Arizona. Another season like 2010 will spell doom for the entire coaching staff and a big chunk of the front office as well.
The Eagles need an upgrade to their pass rush. Trent Cole keeps putting up big numbers but no one on the Eagles line can keep double teams away from Cole. Albert Haynesworth makes the most sense for Philly. He is a dominating force in the middle and commands double teams and at times triple teams. Too bad he is under contract for a division rival.
The Redskins front office will trade Haynesworth to an AFC team for half a bag of Funyuns before they trade him to the Eagles for a high draft pick. It is even possible that they will keep Haynesworth in Washington and not play him at all just to send a message.
Charles Johnson isn't a bad fallback plan for the Eagles. He is only 25 and is coming off a 12 sack season for the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers will have the first crack at signing Johnson, but coming off a dreadful 2010 season it won't be easy.
The Panthers are in the beginning of what looks like a very long rebuilding process and Charles Johnson will be the focal points of every opposing offensive line as long as he is a Panther.
If Johnson were to sign with the Eagles he could rack in a very lucrative deal and get to play under an outstanding position coach in Jim Washburn. Johnson would also have guys like Trent Cole and Antonio Dixon to take the pressure off him.
Johnson will be signing a long term deal this offseason. He has to decide if he want to commit long term to a very down franchise or sign elsewhere with a chance to win. Either way he will be getting a very nice pay day.
Nnamdi Asomugha is by far the best corner on the open market, but he doesn't make sense for the Eagles. There have been several reports that Nnamdi will be expecting about $19 million a year on his contract, which means whoever signs him probably won't have much money if any left.
Ike Taylor is the perfect fit for the Eagles. It's been speculated that new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo will be using more zone blitzes and coverage. Ike Taylor is used to playing in a zone blitz scheme in Pittsburgh. Taylor is 31 years old, he isn't past his prime yet but could be more of a two or three year solution. Trevard Lindley and Curtis Marsh are the future for the Eagles at corner but neither will be ready to start in 2011.
With Taylor, the Eagles get a cornerback with plenty of playoff experience who has great size and physicality. Other options like Jonathon Joseph and Richard Marshall will command way too much money for what their worth while a player like Dominique Rodgers-Croamartie is probably still too raw at this point in his career.
Taylor won't expect to get signed for a lucrative deal like a Joseph and Asomugha will. Taylor is projected to make about $6-7 million for whoever he signs with.
Eagles' fans who expect nothing less than Nnamdi Asomugha once free agency starts up will be disappointed but I promise you it will be the right move for the team as a whole.
People forget that before Michael Vick was arrested on dog fighting charges, he was becoming the Michael Jordan of the NFL in terms of popularity. I mean an opposing player did ask for his autograph after a game. Burress has made it clear he wants to be an Eagle. He did it on his Twitter page and he has done it on a local Philadelphia sports radio show.
Burress has already done everything a player would want to accomplish as an wide receiver. He has made his money, become a star and won a Super Bowl. Burress could finish his career being a star receiver for a bad team or he could play with a couple of his buddies in a less role.
As of right now it appears Burress would rather do the latter.