NFL Free Agency: The Philadelphia Eagles and 5 Teams Who Have Improved the Most
Free agency in any sport is all about acquiring players who the front office feels will improve their team. Sometimes it works; other times it doesn't.
Because the NFL got a late start in its offseason thanks to the awesomeness that was the lockout (massive sarcasm), the signings have come in quick succession.
Thus far, as with every year, there have been a fair share of players moving people never saw coming, and others where it was simply a matter of not when, but where?
Here is a look at five teams who have done the best job of improving their roster so far.
5. Minnesota Vikings
Unless you have a defense like that of the Baltimore Ravens back in the early 2000s, teams need a quality quarterback to contend for a championship.
Minnesota, coming off of yet another comeback by You Know Who (Packer fan), grabbed yet another veteran QB in hopes of making a run at the NFC North crown.
Donovan McNabb had a well-publicized tenure for the Redskins after butting heads with coach Mike Shanahan. Now, McNabb comes to a team where he's without question the starter and has a solid team around him, starting with backfield mate Adrian Peterson.
Yes, the Vikings lost their fair share of players, but their core remains, and now they actually have a QB who has a history of making the most out of inferior receivers. Also, don't be surprised if the Vikings are in the running for the services of Braylon Edwards.
4. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans secondary last season was abysmal, and that's putting it nicely. They ranked last in the league in pass defense and gave up the fourth most points, allowing 33 touchdowns via the air.
Thankfully, the Texans went out and made an effort to improve that aspect of their team by signing cornerback Jonathan Joseph from Cincinnati and safety Danieal Manning from Chicago. Both should impact the team right away.
The Texans have yet to really lose anybody significant, so signs are looking pretty good. Now, predicting them to make the playoffs like everyone else has the last few years is something I won't do...yet.
3. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals trotted out some of the worst quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen last season and wisely made the decision to go out and get a guy that actually has talent in Kevin Kolb.
While I question the contract he received, it's no secret that Kolb has far more talent behind center than anything the Cardinals have had since Kurt Warner.
Bringing him in should really help Larry Fitzgerald re-establish his claim as the best wideout in the NFL.
The Cardinals also signed former Packer guard Daryn Colledge to replace the retired Alan Faneca.
On the defensive side, linebacker Stewart Bradley and cornerback Richard Marshall, both solid players, decided to play for the Cardinals, which should help bolster their defense.
Bringing him DB Patrick Peterson won't hurt either.
2. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots made two of the most surprising moves of free agency when they acquired a pair of drama queens in Chad Ochocinco (please change it back to Johnson...please) and Albert Haynesworth.
While I'm not too sold on Haynesworth, he's very talented when motivated, and coach Bill Belichick has a history of getting players with motivation issues back on track for a few seasons (see: Moss, Randy and Dillon, Corey).
Ochocinco, on the other hand, has the potential to be the best signing of free agency assuming he and Tom Brady get on the same page. His talent has never been questioned, but his effort has, though not to the extent of Haynesworth's I don't think.
I expect Ochocinco to have one of the better seasons of his career, and to the doubters, just remember that we all thought Randy Moss was washed up before he came to Foxborough, and he proceeded to have one of the best seasons for a wideout in history.
I'm not saying Chad will do that, but he definitely can have an outstanding season.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
There should be no shock with this slide; the Philadelphia Eagles have made an absolute splash this offseason.
The biggest one was getting the top free agent on the market in cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha from the Oakland Raiders. He, combined with Asante Samuel, will form arguably the top cornerback duo in the NFL. Add in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from their deal with Arizona, and they definitely have the best trio in the league.
Then there was the acquisition of Vince Young, a personal favorite of mine from his college days. While I belong to the group that feels he can be an effective starter in the NFL, going to the Eagles is a pretty good fit.
With Kevin Kolb gone, Young will backup Michael Vick, another dual threat signal caller which should help Young learn the position more, and be an easier transition for the team if Vick gets hurt as Young can do some of the same things, just not as well.
Other notable moves, though not nearly as publicized has been their acquisition of two defensive linemen which should both make huge impacts in Jason Babin (pictured) and Cullen Jenkins. Both guys had very nice seasons last year, combining for 19.5 sacks and should make opposing quarterbacks very nervous.
It's uncertain as to where Jenkins will play on the D-line, as he'll be moving to the 4-3, but wherever he is, opposing teams will have to game-plan against him.
There is a growing feeling around the football world that these moves may have made the Eagles Super Bowl favorites.
As a Packer fan, I'm hesitant to agree, but they've certainly fallen into the group of contenders that have an excellent chance at hoisting the Lombardi trophy in February.