Everywhere you turn across the spectrum of the sports media, the words "dream team" and "all in" have been bandied about with certainty that the headlining transaction made by the Philadelphia Eagles will guarantee the acquisition of the Lombardi Trophy in February. To the credit of the Eagles' front office, the aggression and shocking nature of these signings deserve top billing.
However, the lower profile moves following the seismic reverberations of Nnamdi Asomugha's signing on Friday, may be the difference between the Philadelphia Eagles becoming a pretty good team or ascending to a great team in 2011.
The Eagles had a glaring need at right tackle, which needed to be shored up or else they risked leaving Michael Vick's blind side wide open to blitzes.
Enter tackle Ryan Harris, who was set to form one of the most formidable right sides of an offensive line in all of the NFL before injuries derailed his career in Denver. Harris looks to compete, if not have the upper hand for the starting right tackle position over King Dunlap and Austin Howard. Barring the recovery of Winston Justice from a knee injury suffered late in the 2010 season, Harris fulfills a need in offensive line coach Howard Mudd's scheme to get smaller and more athletic along the line.
Return man Jonnie Lee Higgins is intriguing. As a kick returner, Higgins fills a void that has been left in the special teams department for the majority of the Andy Reid era. However, his ability as a punt returner makes for an interesting scenario concerning DeSean Jackson. Jackson is the ultimate weapon in the return game. However, with the signing of Higgins, Jackson may become even more of a return specialist with Reid picking his spots when to use the dynamic playmaker.
Running back Ronnie Brown, has been mired in mediocrity in Miami since coming into the league in 2005. The Dolphins have made a single playoff appearance in Brown's six seasons in the NFL, exiting in the first round. Brown is a great complement to starter LeSean McCoy. However, what stands out most about this signing is that Brown is willing to share the load with a up and coming young star like McCoy in order to achieve success that he has only witnessed from the comforts of home on South Beach.
It's that factor that has made Philadelphia a premier destination for free agents in this ultra abbreviated offseason. There is an aura around this organization that is tempting not only for the superstars, but for the role players and special teamers alike to strike while the proverbial iron is hot. Many want to point to the magnanimous Vick as the key factor to free agents wanting to join the Eagles organization. The answer to the free agent pilgrimage to South Philly lies deeper than one electrifying quarterback.
Despite their faults, Reid and company have built an organization that has prided itself on becoming the gold standard to which other franchises would aspire to become. The Eagles have taken that first step to walking their talk by putting their gold, silver and whatever is not nailed down at the NovaCare Complex at the center of the table and declaring that this is their sure bet, delivering on the decades-long promise of striking it rich where it counts.
It's the acquisitions of these three seemingly small cogs that may mean the difference between this team running on all cylinders en route to Indianapolis, or stalling out on somewhere between Philadelphia and Chicago.