NFL Free Agency 2011: 5 More Possible Moves for the Philadelphia Eagles
The NFL free agency period is less than 72 hours old and a clear winner has been identified. It seems the rich keep getting richer, with the Philadelphia Eagles scoring prized free agents Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins, along with talented but troubled QB Vince Young, veteran TE Donald Lee and KR/PR Johnnie Lee Higgins.
And the Eagles are still reportedly not done yet. What could be next?
As it stands right now, the Eagles likely could still have up to $15 million to play with, provided they exercise their cap credit options and make a few roster moves.
No. 5: Olin Kreutz (C)
Kreutz, long considered to be one of the best all-around interior lineman in the NFL, has reportedly had a breakdown in negotiations with the Bears and could be in the market for a new team. In 2010, Kreutz earned a little over $3 million, and will likely be looking for a slight pay increase on the open market.
The Eagles have a number of unaddressed questions regarding their offensive line, specifically about the RT position (Vick's blindside tackle), and the C position with Jamaal Jackson's back a serious concern.
Kreutz could be an excellent and economical acquisition for the team. He would undoubtedly provide stability and experience along with exceptional leadership at the line of scrimmage to an Eagles offensive line that desperately needs to improve for the team to make a serious playoff run in 2011-2012.
No. 4: Jared Gaither
Its no secret that the Eagles have a serious problem at RT—just ask Michael Vick, who was sacked 34 times in 2010. The team has tried numerous solutions—from former USC star Winston Justice to seventh round Auburn prospect King Dunlap. None have worked.
Gaither is exactly the type of OT the Eagles love: big (6'9", 345 lbs), with good footwork and a mean streak on the field (and exceptional character off it).
While he has struggled with a back injury that sidelined him for most of 2010, he possesses a ton of talent and can likely be had for a very reasonable price. It should be noted that the Raiders did pass on Gaither, but if healthy, he is one of the better OT's in the NFL.
For the right price, he could be a low-risk, high-reward signing.
No. 3: Kirk Morrison (LB)
Aside from their needs on the offensive line, the Eagles have a pressing need at lineback. Currently, the team has second-year MLB Jamar Chaney penciled in as the starter, along with Keenan Clayton and the recently drafted Casey Matthews.
If this were the NCAA, that would be an above-average, but not great, linebacker corps. Unfortunately, the Eagles happen to play in the NFL, where that trio simply will not cut it right now. Don't get me wrong, all three have the potential to be quality starters in the NFL some day. But that day is not a month from now.
The team has improved dramatically in the secondary and on the defensive line, but still needs a quality veteran linebacker. Kirk Morrison is exactly that. He already has a relationship with the recently acquired Nnamdi Asomugha, and he's looking to finally play for a winning team (after spending his first six seasons in Oakland and Jacksonville).
For the right price, Morrison could be a very solid addition to the Eagles. He brings solid tackling, average-to-above average blitzing instincts and a tremendous work ethic. Those characteristics make him desirable as both a player and a mentor.
No. 2: Plaxico Burress
After the Eagles successfully rehabilitated QB Michael Vick both on and off the field, who is to say the team won't try again? This time, the project is former Steeler and Giant wideout Plaxico Burress—the very same player who shot himself in the leg carrying an unregistered firearm and was recently released after serving a two-year prison sentence.
It was no secret the Eagles struggled in the red zone for much of the 2010 season.
Speedy but diminutive wideouts DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin struggled to find open space in the condensed space, running back LeSean McCoy struggled to find daylight behind a mediocre offensive line, and too often QB Michael Vick was forced to either take a sack or scramble in an attempt to avoid the blitz. In short: the Eagles lacked a big target near the goal line.
Enter Burress. The 6'5" wideout has plenty of size and a penchant for making plays in the red zone. Depending on his asking price and physical conditioning, the Eagles could take a shot at the 34-year-old wideout with the hope that they can rehab his image while he rehabs their red-zone offense.
Update: Plaxico Burress has signed a one-year deal, worth $3.017 million with the New York Jets.
No. 1: Stephen Tulloch (MLB)
As I said before, the Eagles need a MLB who can anchor the defense and stop the run. The 26-year-old Tulloch fits the bill perfectly.
He's a monster in the middle, recording 160 tackles (111 solo) in 2010. He has a relationship with new Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn. He's a character guy on and off the field, and did I mention he's a tackling machine?
With the Lions signing LB Justin Durant and his former team and the Titans agreeing to terms with Barrett Ruud, the market for Tulloch seems to be thinning. The Eagles have already been linked to Tulloch in a number of reports from earlier this week and the team still have enough cap space to make a move while giving superstar holdout DeSean Jackson a hefty raise.
Of all of the possible signings, this might be the best match made in Football Heaven. The Eagles need a young but experienced MLB to anchor the defense for years to come. Tulloch needs a place to play. And I'm sure playing on a defense with Pro Bowlers Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Trent Cole, Justin Babin and Cullen Jenkins sounds appealing.
Update: Stephen Tulloch has signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions.