That’s a depressing thought.
But the good news is the offseason officially begins today. And for the Eagles, the next few months will go a long way in determining the direction of the franchise. The man in focus is new head coach Chip Kelly.
Keeping that in mind, here’s a simple to-do list with what’s coming up between now and the draft.
Finalize the coaching staff – Many, but not all, of the pieces are in place. Most notably, defensive coordinator appears to be up in the air. Has Kelly targeted 49ers defensive backs coach Ed Donatell? Ravens linebackers coach Ted Monachino? Is he pulling someone from the college ranks, but waiting for National Signing Day (Feb. 6)? All those options appear to be in play. Kelly still needs to name an offensive line coach too. The guess would be that these hires are finalized sometime this week.
Evaluate current personnel/free agents – The following Eagles are scheduled to be free agents: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Colt Anderson, Darryl Tapp, King Dunlap, Jon Dorenbos, Jake Scott, Derek Landri and Akeem Jordan. The priority name there is Rodgers-Cromartie. If Kelly wants him back, Howie Roseman can begin contract negotiations before Rodgers-Cromartie officially becomes a free agent and can test the market (of course, that’s assuming he wants to return). As for the other seven players, the Eagles would be wise to bring Anderson back as a special-teams ace and backup safety. There are players under contract like Nnamdi Asomugha and Michael Vick that Kelly will have to decide on as well.
Devise a plan for the QB position – I get the sense Kelly is going to watch every throw Nick Foles and Vick made last year before forming his opinion. My guess is that Vick will be released, although according to reports, there is not the same rush to make a move as was previously thought. The free-agent pool is thin, but the Eagles could explore a trade for someone like Alex Smith. With other teams like the Browns and Chiefs in the market for a QB, there could be a healthy market for Smith, which would play into the Niners’ hands in terms of compensation.
Prepare for free agency and the draft – The process here has already begun. Kelly, Roseman, scouts and assistants were down in Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl. The next big event is the combine in Indy on Feb. 20. After that, the Eagles will host players for official visits before the draft on April 25.
As for free agency, players are allowed to start signing with new teams on March 12 at 4 p.m. By that time, the Eagles will have made decisions on some of their own players (Vick, Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie, etc.) and will have their targets ready. A key here could be if the Eagles switch to a 3-4. Either way, though, they’ll need to add key pieces on defense.
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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Chad Hall, who finished the season with the 49ers, doesn’t think the Eagles treated him fairly. From ESPN.com:
“I felt that they weren’t as honest as they could have been,” he says, walking past the Famous Door club, where a cover band is playing “Born to Run.” “They didn’t give me a chance in the returner role. The special teams coach said, ‘We like you. We know what you can do.’ But that’s the business side. They tell you one thing, and then …
“I felt that I had to get other eyes on me.”
Over at IgglesBlitz.com, Tommy Lawlor offers his thoughts on Asomugha’s future:
I’m sure Nnamdi would be willing to take a pay cut so he could stay here. I just don’t think Chip Kelly will want him. He’s not getting a top player. He’s not getting a leader. If anything, Nnamdi has a sense of entitlement from his career. No one disputes that he was a top CB in Oakland. The problem is that things have changed. The talent is gone, but Nnamdi still acts as if he’s an elite player. You can get away with certain things when you’re a star. You can’t do that when you start to fade. As of December 2012, Nnamdi hadn’t realized this.