Twitter Mailbag: On Winston, Cook And Milliner

 Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @Mike Lederer: Could you see the Eagles going after multiple high priced offensive players such as Eric Winston & Jared Cook in free agency?

In case you missed it, Les Bowen reported Thursday that the Eagles have inquired about Winston, who was just released by Andy Reid and the Chiefs. The 29-year-old right tackle played in 15 games last season and yielded three sacks, six quarterback hits and 25 quarterback hurries, according to Pro Football Focus. He graded out just a little bit better than Todd Herremans.

The 6-7, 302-pounder was scheduled to make $5 million this season in Kansas City. Maybe Reid is poised to take a tackle first overall and found Winston, who is coming off a difficult year, expendable. But if he was that good would he be available? I don’t know that Winston is any sure solution at tackle, so it would have to be for the right price.

Cook I can definitely see the Eagles having interest in.  It’s easy to picture the 25-year-old tight end as a cog in Chip Kelly‘s spread attack. The problem is, a lot of teams will be targeting the 6-5, 250-pounder. He is the right age and has the right skill set to draw heavy interest and therefor big money. I believe that the Eagles will be players so long as the bidding does not get out of control.

From @bmcg822: Who are the top 3 FA’s you think the Eagles will target? My guess: Cook,a safety, and a CB.

I think I am with you. As I wrote Wednesday, the Eagles pretty much have to walk away from this offseason with at least one  new starting safety in tow. There is always a chance that you don’t get your man (or men) in the draft, so free agency is the only way to ensure that you address the need.

There is plenty of buzz about Dashon Goldson and I think he would be an ideal addition to the secondary, but it’s entirely possible that his asking price gets out of hand. Then you start looking at guys like Louis Delmas, William Moore, Kenny Phillips and Glover Quin (assuming they don’t re-up with their current teams).

And they’ll have to address corner, seeing as both of their starters from last season may very well be gone.  Sean Smith of Miami (25 years old, 6-3, 218 pounds) has been mentioned as a possible target, and I believe that makes sense.

From @birdsalltheway: what is the likelihood that we will select Dee Milliner 4th overall? I think it’s solid. What are the eagles saying?

My best guess right now, I could see the Eagles going either Milliner or offensive line with the No. 4 overall pick. If the grades are close between, say, Milliner and tackle Eric Fisher, then the Eagles’ free agency work would presumably factor into the equation. If they land a tackle on the open market, you would think they would feel better about going in another direction.

Predicting the draft is difficult before the start of free agency, but there seems to be little to dislike about the Alabama corner.

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  • BlindChow

    Did the Chiefs try to trade Winston? Seems odd they would cut him without looking for offers…

    • Dutch

      Andy will draft Offensive Linemen if nothing else. He’s shown he believes in stock piling linemen. Joeckel is one of the better prospects in the draft. I can see Andy taking him, or Geno Smith and possibly trying to sign Cook. Andy Reid is difficult to beat with bookends.

      • JofreyRice

        I don’t know that that is true. Look at the horrible depth on our line right now. How many O-linemen did Reid draft high in 14 years? Spongebob Andrews and Firebug Watkins? I can’t think of any others…

  • Leggo

    Give me Smith, Delmas, Sean Casey and an interior defensive lineman who has some versatility. Let’s stay young and cheap as the culture begins to be built. No need to spend money on over priced guys that are already at or just past their peak. Draft the best player available regardless of position. There is no need to reach whatsoever based on positional need when you are in the first year of a new regime. Get the football player you think is most likely to be a hall of famer regardless of position.

  • Andy

    Andy Reid is going to draft the top left tackle on the board and move him to right tackle. That’s just Andy being Andy.

    • NickS1

      Said Andy. Ha!

      • ICDogg

        but it definitely does seem like what Andy would do.

    • laeagle

      Ah, the memories…

    • knighn

      Is it really that unusual to do this? Let’s say there is a future all-pro LT available where the Eagles draft. LT is supposed to be the 2nd most important position on a football team, behind QB. OK, but the Eagles already have Jason Peters. What do you do? Pass on the future because you’ve already got one of the best? Or take the guy and not play him because you already have Jason Peters? Take the guy and Bench Jason Peters?! If the guy is that talented, doesn’t it make sense to take him and find some way to play him?

      Now, I’m not saying that all of Reid’s moves were genius (Dan Klecko at FB; Tony Hunt at FB; making Punt Returners of guys who had never done it, etc, etc) but Andy also got criticized for things that seem to be standard football moves.

      Edit: I’m making an assumption here that Peters is at close to 100% of what he was in 2010-2011.

      • Dutch

        If, and it’s huge, Peters comes back 100% there is not a tackle coming out or in the league capable of pushing him to the bench, a good enough addition at tackle will move Herreman’s inside until Peters is gone. Andy’s best years were when he had bookend tackles in place. It seems only reasonable that Andy will follow his pattern with Offensive Linemen and take Joeckel and I would not put it outside of Andy to pull the trigger on Geno Smith. Andy pretty much has a nice team in place. I don’t put it pass Andy to make a play for Cook.

  • Roasty

    I think Milliner wouldn’t be a bad pick at 4. The only issue is hard tackling corners coming out of college throw their helmet in there their first couple NFL years and then tend to start shying away from contact (not always but often). What is important is if they think Milliner is so outstanding at coverage that he will still be a game changing corner even if his tackling begins to fade in a few years.

  • Jim Lahl

    I think we have to get a pass rusher at #4 preferably Jordan or maybe even Ensah. I just think Milliner is overvalued for that spot I like a guy like Banks better that could fall to us in Round 2. This team needs a playmaker a defense more then anything and u have to use this high pick to get a guy with size and talent like Jordan because they usually don’t fall out of top 10s. As for as off line goes I think it is very overrated especially at 4 no matter how big the need is. Yea u might get a perennial pro bowl LT, but as Miami and Cleveland showed with Joe Thomas and Jake Long that doesn’t always equal success, I’d rather have the potential game-changer

    • Sensei

      Banks ran a 4.6(combine) and a 4.5(pro day) and recently said he can cover Calvin Johnson I want no part of him linebackers have faster 40 times

      • jdimagg55

        Trade down in round 1 to 10-12 and pick up another 2nd. Then, take Jarvis Jones (LB GA). Round 2 take Matt Elam (S UF) and Kyle Long (OL Org.). Round 3 take Logan Ryan (CB Rutgers). Add Sean Smith, Landry (my preferred safety option), & Cook through FA. Then, draft Taj Boyd next year. This is clearly the best plan that anyone can come up with. No need to discuss other options.

        • Richard Colton

          It’s that easy huh? Except your first round pick has serious medical concerns, your round two safety might not be there in round two, and your third round CB might very well be there in round five. I need the birds to come away from this draft with a pro-bowl caliber player at #4. I don’t care if it’s O-line, D-line, or CB.

          • BT

            Agree that you have to make the #4 pick a long term lock. Don’t think that Jordan or Ansah is a clear cut pick at #4. For that matter, in this draft, who really is? How about this idea: swap down with the Jets pick for Revis. Then with the #9 pick take either Jordan, Ansah, Mingo, Warmack, or Vaccarro – one of them will still be there. Milliner at #4 is also not good…to high to take a corner…would have Revis instead with the swap. The Jets want to make a deal…and I don’t think you would have to give them another pick. If the players I mention are at #9…I would take Warmack…imagine the running attack with him there…good to go for many years. In the later rounds, if you we don’t get Jordan, Mingo or Ansah…go for Margus Hunt.

          • theycallmerob

            I think we’re eating the same food or something, I couldn’t agree more. I love Warmack and Vaccarro, just not at #4. Trading down to get one, plus a pick would be a win-win. And yes, I would rather have an extra pick; this draft in particular has much depth, and Revis is coming off the surgery with one year left on his contract before payday. Way, waaay too similar to Bynum for my comfort.

          • Richard Colton

            I like the Warmack idea, because he might be the best player in this draft at any position. But as an Eagles fan, the idea of taking ANOTHER interior linemen (Mayberry, Andrews, Bunkley, Patterson, Watson, Cox) in round one is killing me. The prospect of getting a cornerstone LT for ten years is too good to pass up, especially when you consider the age of the line.

          • Dutch

            Warmack is a great pick up but he’s not going to give you much with pulling out in front of Shady, and with traps. He gives you power up the gut of a defense but nothing on the outsides. Alabama with Wamack steam rolled over a defense, right up through the heart of a defense with linebackers laid out like lane markers behind Warmack.

            I am just not convinced that Jordan is a first round talent. I just can not find justification in his tape to support Jordan is or will be the first player on Oregon’s defense off the board.

            I suggest Eagles fans watch tape of Oregon play quality teams over the last couple years and make your own assessment independent of the combine workout.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            I agree with you almost 100% on Jordan. I spent a good 3hrs watching him Tuesday. He’s talented & speedy, but highly overrated and a late 1st, early 2nd value.

        • theycallmerob

          Personally, I’d take T. Lawlor’s first attempt at a mock over that. Although, I’m entirely on board with trading down.

      • JofreyRice

        He likes to tackle, and is one of those tall, long armed corners that is going to have to press off the line and re-route receivers to win. Richard Sherman, arguably the best CB in the league, ran a 4.54. I think they had to measure Brandon Browner’s 40 time with 2 digits on the left side of the decimal place. Banks isn’t as tall or long-armed as those guys, but he’s close. I’d be cool with them taking him.

  • Token

    Zero point in Winston. We arent winning anything soon people. This should be about finding talented youth and letting them get playing time. Getting another 30 year old in here just doesnt make sense to me. Especially one on the decline and that probably wont be cheap as he should be.

    • ICDogg

      I think there are players you add to stabilize things while you’re rebuilding. If the line breaks down, the rest of the offense can’t function properly. Winston is a zone-blocking RT and seemingly the right fit for this offense.

      • Phils Goodman

        You both make good points. Winston could be a solid transition player, but they can’t lose sight of rebuilding the offensive line for the long term. I think that process ought to start sooner rather than later. You can’t get caught out with an o-line that is suddenly too old and unreliable.

        • Dutch

          On the Offensive Line it is more important to find pieces that can grow in
          place over the long haul. Plugging in players does nothing should you have to put them in place due to an injury. One injury without sufficient depth can give you the same results as the Eagles faced last season.

          This may be the time to bring in a quality free agent who can give you time at both Tackle positions over a few seasons and bring in an aspiring rookie who can grow into the position and give you a decade as a replacement. You have two tackles north of 30 years old right now and both out on injuries.

        • ICDogg

          Exactly right. The Eagles would still be looking to bring in some young O-linemen, but probably not one of the top tackles in the draft.

          • Phils Goodman

            I might prefer to go after one of the top tackles instead, as they could be the safest picks in this draft.

  • NickS1

    I like the addition of Winston if it comes at the right price. It eliminates the need to draft O-line until later in the draft, moves Herremans back to guard, and gives a solid line for the next 2-3 years, allowing future drafts to address adding more youth and depth. I’d like to see Quinn, Phillips, or Clemons signed to play S. As for CB, depends on what happens with Nnamdi. Won’t get mad if he renegotiates. Reduces need spend more picks than necessary on CB and, say what you want, he’s got some left in the tank, a need to prove he’s as good as said, and is still better than nearly half the CBs in the league. No, the numbers did not show it last year, but the entire D sucked last year, from the pass rush to the secondary’s blown coverages. This allows the Birds to take one of the alleged game changers for OLB with the #4 pick, address DB depth with 2nd n 3rd rd picks, and use the rest for DL/OL/WR depth. Sign Jared Cook, too. I actually don’t think I care what he costs. He’s better than any receiver we have. I love being an armchair GM. It’s easy.

    • Dutch

      the argument for Nnamdi at a reduced price makes no sense to me. If he’s not capable of preforming at one price, how is it expected his play will be any better at a bargain basement price?

      If the Eagles option to get a tackle in FA, Jake Long is a nice option to seal the end of the Eagles line and move Herreman’s back inside unless there’s some belief Watkins is salvageable. Still there is a need for depth along the OLine. In my opinion it was a huge mistake to give Herreman’s Tackle money before assessing his value at Tackle and the skinny comes down to the Eagles will have to do a lot better than Herreman can provide on that right edge.

      That kind of logic, offering reduced compensation to players not producing, in building a competitive team signals throwing up the white flag. I’m in the bag with signing Cook if possible, but If I’m representing Cook, I don’t sign with an option team knowing that team has a focus on running instead of playing to Cook’s talent. I want a team committed to throwing the ball and giving Cook the chance to shine even brighter. If I’m representing Cook, I would seek to go to a place like Kansas City with a coach known for throwing the ball down field and who has in place a premium receiver on the outside to take some of the clutter from between the hash marks where I roam and possibly get 85 catches a year.

      • TheAnswer333

        Dutch you really don’t know what you’re talking about if you think a) this is going to be an option offense and b) that cook wouldn’t touch the ball enough in this offense. This site is too good and most of the commenters are too intelligent for you to be here. Please go to the eagles message board with the rest of the reactionary WIP crowd. Thanks

        • NickS1

          Spot on.

        • Warhound

          Also; his writing makes my brain hurt!

      • NickS1

        Regarding Nnamdi: What is so difficult to understand? It’s my belief that it’s entirely too easy to say that Nnamdi sucked and should go. I believe the entire defense didn’t show up from DC to Jaiquan Jarrett. To say that Nnamdi is this awful player without considering how badly the D-Line played and how God-awful the safeties were is utterly irresponsible. Did he play well? No. Is he a bad or below-average player? No. Do I believe he’s capable of more/better than he played? Yes. That should help you understand. Paying him half of what his salary was going to be instead of 15mil/season or over paying a free agent (which is exactly what we did in Nnamdi’s case to begin with) isn’t remotely irrational or baseless.

        Regarding OT: Here, you truly show your horrible comprehension of the business of football. You want to pursue a player coming off of a down year who is asking for $11mil/season yet you go and say that “It was a mistake to give Herreman’s tackle money”, yet, Herremans is a 4.3mil cap hit, which is roughly half of the league’s highest paid GUARD? Moreover, the tackle suggested, Winston, was just making $5mil/season and was graded better than Herremans at the RT position and was just cut. He may not be able to get $5mil a season again. Oh, and Long is a LT.

        Cook’s agent has one job this offseason: To get him PAID. To points of reference regarding how good Cook would do in KC, one with Reid as coach and one with Alex Smith as QB. Celek has only had two seasons of over 60 catches. Same with Davis. Odds are Cook wouldn’t be getting 85 catches per year. Possible, but unlikely.

        • Warhound

          Does the Toddfather still have a contract that pays more for OT than OG? Anybody?

          • Adam

            I thinnk when he was given his extension it was when he was playing tackle, so he’s probably making tackle money.

          • NickS1

            Here’s his salary breakdown. I’d say his contract is fair given what we’ve gotten out of him. Only in the last 2 years does he crack 5mil/season


        • JofreyRice

          Nnamdi was horrible when the line led the league in sacks. Does Nnamdi pointing at the safeties on every play really affect you that much? Look at the guys traits, he couldn’t run with receivers, he couldn’t tackle, and he looked utterly lost in zone coverage. None of that has to do with the safeties.

          Also add in the fact that afterwards, it came out that Nnamdi was the guy everyone was directly referencing when they talked about selfishness, disinterest, lack of heart, etc.

          Nnamdi is cooked, man. It sucks that we were all so optimistic, but it’s time to move on.

          • NickS1

            While I think he is done here as well, my original point was I wouldn’t be mad if he renegotiated. When you point to 2011, that was when he was placed inside in Castillo’s genius system. 2012, Castillo’s system wasn’t much better, and Todd Bowles’ was even worse. I’ll give you the missed tackles and lost step. Moreover, I acknowledged that he did not play well. I just don’t think it’s solely on him, is what I was getting at. I’d give him a second chance deal to prove he was worth it/stop gap, much like Vick’s deal. You know, the deal we just gave to the walking turnover at a reduced price?. And many of us hated that deal, as well. He doesn’t want to take a new deal? Fine, move on. I know there’s free agents available and a solid stable at corner in the draft, but you can’t count on the draft for everything and you truly can’t guarantee that one of the rookies can come in and start on the outside right away. I’m in no way hung up on keeping Nnamdi, I’m just trying to think reasonably about the situation and how to move forward. Putting out 4 different faces in the secondary isn’t easy and not guaranteed to be cheap.

      • Dionysos

        Jake Long has only played Left tackle and wherever he ends up he’ll play Left tackle. Sebastian Vollmer, Eric Winston and Andre Smith are all Right Tackles. Vollmer has had back and knee issues, Winston is 29 and really isn’t really an upgrade. Smith could be the best of the bunch. He’s only 26 but he’s looking for LT $$$.

  • Max Lightfoot

    Whatever they do, the Birds must address the O-line. It all starts there. It is crucial that they add depth, not so much for Vick (who never stays in a pocket anyway) but for Foles (or Manuel), who will need protection when Vick goes down in Week 6 or so. There’s no guarantee that Peters will come back healthy. Sure, the defense is a mess, but with no depth at O-line, there’s no running game. And Chip wants a running game! I’d try for Cook, but settle for Fisher or Joeckel. Go Eags!

    • Dutch

      I agree, In my opinion, if the Eagles don’t come away with Joeckel, Fisher or Johnson, pick 4 is a wasted opportunity.

  • E Avila

    1. no one can forget Connie Mack Stadium in this town
    5. um, maybe if you’re 5 yrs old and don’t know any sports fans
    7. had my junior prom there – not widely forgotten yet
    8. my grandmother worked here in the late 30’s – not forgotten either
    10. maybe if you’re new to the city, otherwise not forgotten

    somewhat of a ridiculous list, I’d say

  • Brian

    It should be renamed to the ‘Top Ten “Former” Landmarks’.