Philadelphia Eagles: How Linebacker Lofa Tatupu Could Round out the Roster

Doug OlsenCorrespondent IAugust 2, 2011

Lofa Tatupu, FA Middle Linebacker.
Lofa Tatupu, FA Middle Linebacker.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

It seems a distant memory at this point, but the NFL lockout was lifted a mere week ago.

The past seven days have seen a flurry of activity unparalleled in the NFL, or possibly any other sport for that matter.

The undisputed leader in activity has been the Philadelphia Eagles. I’m guessing that you might have heard about some of their acquisitions.

It’s time to slow the “Dream Team” talk and consider what work is left to be done. The Eagles have plenty of talent on this roster, but some serious question marks remain.

The Eagles have been practicing without either of their starting wide receivers but hope to have both Jackson and Maclin ready to go in time for the season.

The offensive line, at this point, has been an area of mild concern.

The Eagles continued to address this as they signed first-round selection Danny Watkins on August 1.

Watkins projects to be the starting right guard, leaving the injury struggles of right tackle Winston Justice as the only question along the offensive front.

This brings us to the most glaring area of weakness—linebacker.

The Eagles have never placed a strong emphasis on linebacker play, a philosophy that exasperates many fans.

The current linebacking corps is weak even by the Eagles’ standards.

Rookie fourth-round draft pick Casey Matthews has been penciled in as the starting middle linebacker. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, starting a rookie at such an important position is extremely risky.

Matthews might develop into a nice player, but there is a better option out there for this year, one that would fit perfectly into the Eagles’ “win now” mentality.

Lofa Tatupu.

Earlier this week, the Seattle Seahawks released middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu after he was unwilling to take a pay cut.

Tatupu has been in the league for six years. He is a three-time Pro Bowler and by all accounts a phenomenal leader.

His leadership skills are critical, because it is the middle linebacker that is responsible for calling defensive plays and running the team’s huddle.

While Tatupu is coming off an injury-plagued season, he is still only 28 years old and in the prime of his career.

By signing Lofa Tatupu, the Eagles would be adding proven talent and experience to fill this roster's biggest hole.

During a recent press conference at training camp in Lehigh, a reporter posed a question of whether the team still has money to spend after their big weekend acquisitions.

Team President Joe Banner’s response was, “Hell, yeah.”

Tatupu was scheduled to earn a $4.35 million base salary with the Seahawks this season. Indications are that the Eagles have money to spend and are not done making moves.

It is time for Howie Roseman and Andy Reid to sign Lofa Tatupu and bring this entire defense together.