With just hours to go until free agency, all that is left for us to consider, is WHO the Eagles SHOULD sign, but the question will remain, will they? Philadelphia fans shudder with every memory of the horrendous moves by the front office in the 2009 free agency period, and the team’s needs this year echo those of free agencies past.
Philadelphia has been linked to free agents across the board from Jake Long to Dashon Goldson, but who are they really targeting? And more importantly WHO SHOULD they target at the deadline today at 4pm? Philadelphia’s areas of need are across the board, but choosing the right puzzle piece will be a tough task. With the departure of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie imminent, GM Howie Roseman will have his sights set on signing a marquee free agent in the secondary. Sam Shields of Green Bay may be the most logical choice, but Green Bay gave him a second round tender this morning. So to get Shields, Philadelphia would give up a pick in the top 35, which would be a huge loss. Brent Grimes and Cary Williams should both be on Roseman’s radar, even with Grimes’ injury concerns from his last season in Atlanta, and though Cary Williams shows potential greatness at times, Baltimore’s secondary was far from elite just a season ago. If it was my choice to splash the cash, I would attempt to improve via the draft at this position.
Second in line as far as priorities go would be the safety position, as Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen are not capable starters at the pro level. The Eagles signed Colt Anderson to a one year deal, and should take a long hard look at ex-49er Dashon Goldson. Philadelphia is also rumored to be a front runner for former New York Jet pro bowl safety LaRon Landry, and while he is an aging veteran, Landry could provide excellent leadership to a youthful defense, in addition to being a major run stopper from the secondary area. If Philadelphia loses the lottery on these two safeties, I think their next move should be to sign Louis Delmas from Detroit, or if they can get him on the cheap, Ed Reed from Baltimore.
Should Philadelphia make a move in the secondary, next up on the priority list for Roseman and company would be signing another player in their front seven. With an impending move to the 3-4 defense likely under new head coach Chip Kelly, Philadelphia needs another NFL quality starter within their front seven. Whether said body will play defensive tackle, or add to the linebacking core remains to be seen, as Philadelphia has been linked to former Oregon standout Dion Jordan with the fourth pick. If Philadelphia decides to draft someone like Alabama’s Demarcus Milliner with the fourth overall pick, the Eagles will likely, and should, target either Baltimore’s Paul Kruger, or at a discount, target Oakland’s Philip Wheeler, who has big play ability, and is a solid run stopper. Erik Walden of Green Bay would be another choice on the cheap as Walden, who’s skill set fits a 3-4 defense perfectly, would likely be available at a sizable discount compared to other linebackers on the market. Kruger has already been linked to Cleveland, and will probably command more money than he is worth. James Harrison has been rumored to be a fan of Philadelphia as well, and if the Eagles can get him on the cheap, Harrison would be a great fit in a 3-4 scheme, though he may be too slow for Kelly’s specific formations. Philadelphia would be wise to skip a linebacker in this year’s free agency period, and should instead focus on a defensive lineman hybrid that would fit into a 3-4 set.
Cliff Avril, Dwight Freeney, and Desmond Bryant of Oakland lead the linemen in this years free agency, but Philadelphia should look for cheaper options like Glenn Dorsey or players like New York’s Chris Canty, Cincinnati’s Kevin Vickerson as lower-budget options. The team’s primary need is certainly not the defensive line, so it would be surprising if Howie Roseman decided to spend big money here. If the birds could get Dorsey for cheap, he would add depth and experience to an already deep unit.
Chip Kelly’s offense is likely set for the upcoming season due to the fact neither he or Roseman saw the albatross of a contract that DeSean Jackson is playing under as a financial issue, nor the just under $4 million owed to underwhelming tight end, Brent Celek. Philadelphia has been linked to former practice squad player Danny Amendola, and his possession receiving skill would be a great addition to Philadelphia’s passing game. As far as the tight end position goes, Jared Cook of Tennessee would be ideal, though he may ask for too much cash, and you can tell the same story in regards to NYG’s Martellus Bennett. A much cheaper option would be Delanie Walker from San Francisco. Walker is a good blocker, and has hands at least equivalent to those of the bird’s current tight ends.
As for the big men, Jason Kelce, Jason Peters, and Todd Herremans will return healthy to shore up the decimated offensive line from 2012, but Roseman may still make a move here. Tackle Jake Long from Miami has been linked by rumors about a pending move to Philadelphia, though he may draw much more money elsewhere on the market. Paying Long a maximum contract may be the only way to get him to Philadelphia, and asking that much for a player like Long from a team with many needs and less cap room to boot, would be a mistake on the part of Roseman, assuming Nnamdi Asomugha stays on the roster.
Philadelphia would be wise to remember their spending mistakes of old during this free agency period, though they will certainly splash the cash to some degree. Big names like Mike Wallace and Greg Jones may be out of reach, but Philadelphia will improve close to the 4:00 deadline, you can count on that. So who SHOULD the Eagles absolutely sign given the chance? Dashon Goldson is a complete winner, with little question marks provided he comes at a reasonable price, if not him look for the birds to pick Louis Delmas or LaRon Landry. While Jake Long would look great in green, his contact expectations may be well above the Eagles financial constraints. Howie Roseman should also do everything in his power to bring in Danny Amendola, as the Eagles lack a true possession receiver. Finally, if the birds can’t get a quality corner like Sam Shields or Brent Grimes, they should save their money, and improve via the draft. Because at this stage, rebuilding may be more important than the present for Philadelphia’s favorite losers.Tags: Brent Grimes, Cary Williams, Chip Kelly, Dashon Goldson, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Ed Reed, free agency, Howie Roseman, Jake Long, LaRon Landry, Louis Delmas, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles