Crystal Ball: The Final Four

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The Eagles have eight players that are set to become unrestricted free agents. We tackled some of the key ones — Jeremy MaclinRiley CooperMichael Vick and Nate Allen – earlier this week.

Now let’s look at the remaining four: Donnie JonesKurt ColemanColt Anderson and Clifton Geathers.

DONNIE JONES




What should happen

McManus: The Eagles should absolutely hold onto Jones. He was one of the best in the business this year. Jones set a team record for punts downed inside the 20 (33) while finishing ninth overall in net punting yards (40.5).

Kapadia: I agree. Special teams were a disappointment this year (25th overall, according to Football Outsiders). But the punt/punt coverage team was the lone bright spot. That unit ranked ninth overall, per FO.

What will happen

McManus: Jones has expressed a strong desire to return next season. He wants to be a part of what is being built here. I expect him to re-sign with the Eagles.

Kapadia: Rotoworld has Jones ranked as the second-best punter on the market, so he may want to at least see what other teams are willing to offer. But at 33-years-old on a team he likes, I expect him to be back.

KURT COLEMAN

What should happen

McManus: The Eagles should let him compete for a roster spot in training camp. Coleman finished fourth in special teams tackles with nine. He is a character guy and a good teammate, he's just not as a starter. If he makes it as a deep reserve who can contribute on special teams, fine. If he finds a better situation elsewhere or doesn't make the cut, so be it.

Kapadia: The Eagles should get an idea of what the free-agent market looks like at the safety position and then decide whether they want to bring Coleman back as a reserve. Coleman, Colt Anderson and Nate Allen are all free agents. Patrick Chung is unlikely to be back. That potentially leaves Earl Wolff as the lone safety on the team. At some point, you need bodies and have to fill out the roster. Coleman is a good locker room guy who plays with great effort and can contribute on special teams. Chip Kelly appreciates those things. So there's a chance he returns.

What will happen

McManus: I don't think he'll be back. One way or another, I believe the Eagles will make a push to upgrade the safety position and will add multiple players to the mix. Not sure there will be room for him.

Kapadia: I agree with you, Tim. On the flip side, Coleman has never been short on confidence. He believes he's a starter and will likely try to get that opportunity. Given that he just saw Chung start ahead of him, Coleman likely knows he doesn't have much of a chance to earn playing time here. I think he moves on.

COLT ANDERSON

What should happen

McManus: The Eagles should try and re-sign him. Kelly needs his reserves to be contributors on special teams. Anderson is considered an "ace" in that department and led the team in special teams tackles this year (16). The issue is whether he is a good enough back-up option at safety to justify the roster spot. I say his contributions on special teams outweigh the other concerns.

Kapadia: My stance is not much different than what I wrote about Coleman. The Eagles need bodies at safety one way or another. Anderson is a fantastic special-teams player, but he's one-dimensional. If the Eagles can upgrade, they should. If that's unlikely, bring Anderson back.

What will happen

McManus: I think he'll be back. The special teams units need to improve in 2014; not sure removing Anderson from the equation helps that effort.

Kapadia: I think he'll be back too, but I don't think it's a guarantee that he makes the roster next summer. Kelly likes versatility, and Anderson doesn't really provide that. Ideally, your backup safeties can fill in when needed on defense and also play well on special teams. Anderson only fulfills one of those qualifications.

CLIFTON GEATHERS

What should happen

McManus: The Eagles should look for an upgrade here. Geathers, acquired in a trade with the Colts last offseason, was part of the defensive line rotation (averaging 16 snaps per game) and finished with 26 tackles and three hurries. The Eagles will look to beef up their defensive line depth in the coming months.

Kapadia: Defensive line depth is an under-the-radar need for the Eagles. Geathers and Damion Square didn't give them much on the second team. The Eagles should try to upgrade the talent here.

What will happen

McManus: It would probably be a good thing to have Geathers in camp to push guys like Joe Kruger and others added to the mix via the draft and free agency, but I don't think he'll make the cut this time around.

Kapadia: I don't think Geathers will be back. He's only 26, so if the Eagles still see some upside, maybe they give him another shot. But he's bounced around to four teams in four seasons and wasn't all that productive in limited opportunities in 2013.

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  • macadood

    slightly off topic, but when guys like Desean Jackson or Nick Foles make the pro bowl as reserves due to the starter pulling out for whatever reason does that count as a pro bowl year for them, in addition to a pro bowl year for the original starter?

    • z

      yeah

    • cliff henny

      yes. why all-pro means 5xs, conservatively, more than pro bowl.

      • GEAGLE

        Probowl is worthless, but ATleast this years game will be fun to watch so many Eagles

  • JofreyRice

    I think Coleman or Anderson are exactly the kind of 4th safety you want. I think keeping either over Chung is a no-brainer. Coleman’s better on D and Anderson’s better on ST’s. If it was up to me, I’d probably go with Kurt over Colt. Smart guy, loves the game, will do anything you ask to the best of his ability. Strikes me as a guy that might want to get into coaching, someday. He really sucks, of course, let’s not forget that, but as a 4th safety, you’re not looking for Weapon X.

    Take the money you owe Chung, and the money you’d pay Allen, and pay one of the big FAs. Re-sign Coleman & Anderson cheap, and draft another 3rd-5th round safety to bring along as the Third guy/first backup, and add another hungry late round/udfa guy to battle for that 4th safety spot in TC with Kurt & Colt.

    • GEAGLE

      I agree, unless you can get Chung to take a pay cut and extend his deal a few years…If Chung gets to focus on ST, he prob is as good as Colt if not better(ATleast he used to be) and as bad as he is, not many teams would have a better 4th emergency safety then Chung….kicking Colt and Kurt to the curb, and sliding Chung down the depth chart is how you improve the quality of your depth..OF COURSE he would have to be honest with himself and sign off on it, but if he likes it here so much that he wants to stay as a 4th emergency safety and ST captain, taking a pay cut, he DWARFS both Colt and Kurt in terms of 4th safety quality…..but if the numbers don’t make sense, bye bye chung…

      But keeping him we get a guy who plays ST at Colts level, while providing a better emergency safety then Coleman..if the dollars are right, then it makes sense to slide him down the depth chart and improve the quality of our depth…but I’m not married to it..
      ….
      If we talking about what we expect our FO to do, I think Chung is back for one more year

      Colt is just Jon Dorenbos jr…he shouldn’t even be considered a safety, and Coleman I don’t view as anything special on ST and I would be mortified to ever see him on the field as a safety…I can buy bringing Colt back, but I see no reason for Coleman…..Nate dollars plus Vick dollars equal Byrd man money :)

      Byrd
      Wolff
      Rookie picked in first 5 rounds
      Chung..

      Next year Chung goes, Wolff would be in year 3, so we could add another rookie

      I like our returning team, but our depth is putrid across the board….Don’t want to bring any of our back ups back…but Colt don’t count as a safety, so I can be ok with keeping him….

      • TXEaglesFan

        Geagle, I have seen you post your state of the union on the Eagles safety situation and just want to say I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment. Chung would be just as good at special teams as Coleman, Anderson and would be a better option as safety #4. My only concern is the recent track record of drafting safeties here and could a 3-5 round pick really be counted on to be a #2-3 safety on this roster this year?

        • GEAGLE

          While I feel your pain, we have to keep in mind,that our safety draft woes have nothing to do with this front office..it’s fair to not trust Howie with drafting safeties, but Howie only gets to chose from a handful of players that Tom gamble approves and funnels over to Howie. Tom gamble comes from a team who’s two safeties command like 30million on the market, and since gamble came to town! we plucked Wolff out of the 5th round who does look promising…
          ..
          Now if we sign another Chung or Kenny Phillips type in FA, then NO, we probably shouldn’t be counting on a 3rd round safety to play as a rookie next to young Wolff…But if we sign a real safety who we can count on to play at a top level for the next 3 years, then we can afford to wait til rounds 3-5 to draft a safety..,

          But if we are just going to sign cheap slop again at the position, then we probably can’t wait til round 3’to draft a safety…if the safety we sign in FA, isn’t up to par, you will start seeing me beat the Calvin Pryor in round 1 drum!

    • GEAGLE

      Man I hate Kurt…i would hate him less if I never heard him speak..I get being confident, you need to believe in yourself to take the field…but I don’t need guys like him always talking to the fans about how great he is…whenever I hear him talk I want to swan dive out of my window..

      Let all our backups walk when their contracts expire…depth needs to all be replaced with young guys who can provide what our current depth provides, but ATleast still have a chance of growing into more then a backup…

      Only backups I really like are:
      Barbre
      Naje Goode
      James Casey

      Guys like Bamiro and Kelly could be progressing! but we have no way of knowing..

      Dline: we have to upgrade Gaethers and Square
      ..
      WR: start with upgrading Maehl and Damaris

      • JofreyRice

        I think it’s very doable to improve depth in the draft. You wonder, if they take care of S in FA, and go into the draft only “needing” an edge rusher, they have a lot of flexibility in trading back.

        Say, they can’t get an immediate edge rusher at #22–Barr & Mack and whomever else is gone in the top 8 or so, too pricey to move up–and they feel the rest of the draft lays out with a lot of depth at positions that would be “nice to have” like WR. They could easily trade back a bit and load up on some mid-rounders to address depth on DL, OL, etc. and really build Chip’s roster. Take an OLB in round 2 that might be a Tier 2 guy and bring him along under Cole. Attachou, Sam, Ford, or whatever, somebody’s going to be there.

        My whole outlook changes now that it appears we’ve got a program in place that identifies talent in the draft, and grooms it, once it gets to the club; totally different dynamic than we’ve had.

        • GEAGLE

          I can’t disagree,..I despise Chung, just so happens he is the one who’s contract doesn’t expire…and while eating 1mil dead money isn’t theta big of deal, I don’t think bringing back slop like Coleman is worth eating dead money..

          Ultimately we need 4 new safeties to add to Wolff, none of these are Longterm eagles in my eyes…can’t go get 4 safeties in one off season, and I don’t want any of Therese guys here for more then one more year…..Colt I can live with because he is just a ST ace, who I don’t even consider a safety…

          But since I think they all need to be replaced, I won’t be crying over which one we have to wait til next year to replace
          ,,,
          After we see how these coaches groom young players, I think it be wise to trade back and start accumulating more picks to redo our depth! but like you said! we would have to really address safety in FA to be able to go that route..we already know we ain’t getting our answer at OLB in this years FA market, we already know we need to add speed to our offense, if we have to also chase safety position in ether draft, we prob don’t have the FLEXABILITY to trade back as much as we would like…but I think accumulating as many picks as we can would be wise…

          We couldn’t say that under Andy, because more picks just bring more undersized fast balls from bumble F no where…I would especially want more pics while Chip is still familiar with the players in college

          • Fly High

            As we think about Eagles D, I think ideally each position group would have one sub who frequently rotates in. This helps us handle the number of snaps on D, partially created by the speed of our O, which will be even greater this year. So we are looking for 3 safeties who play a lot, not 2. Given that, I say keep Allen as our #3 safety, if he does not cost too much, Wolff as #2, and get our #1 through FA or the draft.

          • GEAGLE

            I’m not opposed to bringing Nate back as a fan. If he was under contract you wouldn’t see me suggest cutting him like I have previous years…but I honestly don’t believe our FO will bring him back, because we would have to match a 20million dollar contract someone offers him…

            Pay for a top talent who can help groom Wolff, like Meco has done with Kendrick..and if Tom gamble plucked Wolff out of round 5, I’m confident he can pluck a nice #3 safety out of round 3 or 4…next year we draft another safety, and we could be looking at:
            Wolff
            Byrd/Ward
            This years 3rd round rookie safety
            Next years 4th round rookie safeties..
            ,.
            And if the right players we drafted and groomed correctly, what has been a major weakness can be a serious strength, next year and the year after

        • cliff henny

          yup, you simply cant sign enough free agents when drafting like crap. NE and Belicheck drive me crazy during draft, seems like every original pick they drop back ten spots, adds another pick couple rounds later and toss a couple to following year. starts with 7 or 8, ends draft was 10. to him, it doesnt matter if you are 10th or 12th best cb, his system and training will make the player. oddly enough, the guy who gives me greatest confidence is wolff. his college tape compared to what he showed on sundays were lightyears apart. every tape i saw, could certainly see he was athletic, but had little feel for game and was running wrong direction all the time. pretty sure we chatted about that after draft, had a good laugh. wrong-way wolff thought might be a nickname that would stick.

      • Dominik

        “Only backups I really like are:
        Barbre
        Naje Goode
        James Casey

        Guys like Bamiro and Kelly could be progressing! but we have no way of knowing..

        Dline: we have to upgrade Gaethers and Square
        ..
        WR: start with upgrading Maehl and Damaris”

        Nailed it, dude! Can agree almost 100 %.

        It’s great to have Barbre signed for another year and basically don’t pay him anything (730k for 2014). Really liked his play when he had to go in. Great back-up to have, imho.

        • GEAGLE

          Moeshers dumb ass suggested cutting Barbre, which infuriated me

          • Dominik

            I can life with Roc as our #5, the role Marsh had at the end of the season. Need a #4, though. We need it, but that is an issue we can solve via FA. And if a CB turns out to be bpa in rounds 2, 3 or 4, so be it. Then Roc or the FA has to go, they will battle it out.

          • theycallmerob

            I’d say we’re just 1 great/very good corner from being excellent, should everything else go according to plan :)
            1- this mystery guy; 2- Fletch; 3/nickel- Boykin, 4/dime- Sconces (for a year), 5- Roc/rookie/UDFA.
            Add in Byrd/Ward at S, Wolff, Coleman OR Anderson for depth, and of course..my beloved Joyner at FS/SS/DB (can play slot)

          • Dominik

            CB is down on my priority list. If we get a good one via FA or the Draft – so be it. I have no problem with that.

            But I think you can make a nice playoff run with Williams/Fletcher/Boykin as your primary corners and a new #4, if (and only if) you have a good pass rush (new OLB) and a stud safety (Byrdman).

            Look at the 49ers. Their corners aren’t great by any means. They don’t have Nnamdi/DRC back there like we had last year, but they are nothing special, comparable to Williams/Fletcher. And still they are one of the top 3 Defenses in the country. The reason: a great front seven and two good safeties.

            If Roseman gets a stud OLB and Byrdman/Ward via FA and still has enough money to take a CB who can fight for the starter role – great. But get me the OLB and especially the stud Safety first. ;)

          • JofreyRice

            Was checking out Josh Norris’ list of whom to watch during the Shrine game, and CB Pierre Desir jumped out as a guy that might be a nice fit/developmental corner. Super-small schooler, but good size. He also has experience in off coverage, along with upside for man coverage. The Shrine game guys usually don’t go before the third round.

            http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/cfb/46020/351/norris-e-w-shrine-review

          • theycallmerob

            Could not agree more; been keeping an eye on those practices. 2 NT prospects- Ellis (LA tech) and Kerr (UDel) I like, and some good WR prospects. Brugler from CBS has been keeping tabs

    • Token

      It seems so simple. But we both know Chung and Wolff are the starters next year…..

  • GEAGLE

    Donnie will be franchised faster then he can say “test the market”.. 1000% will be an eagle next year…take that to the bank, tell em it’s a GEAGLE certified lock :)

  • Will

    No one on this roster inspires hope at the Safety spot….blow it up start over with 4 new bodies to go with Wolff..via FA, Draft or trade….Cut Chung and let Allen, Coleman and Colt walk….if not the Safety group will not improve… stop accepting mediocrity at that position…..

    • GEAGLE

      You are out of your mind if you don’t think Wolff has potential to be a legit starter..while potential isn’t GUARENTEED, his potential is exciting to me

      • Will

        Wolff has potential but right now as is not a starting caliber safety…I did say keep Wolff and add 4 new faces…I think the Safety play has been so watered down that everyone is out of there minds to accept the out right horrendous play from are Safeties….I would rather go with all new rookie’s back there….Then watch another year of Allen, Chung, Coleman or Colt….

        • GEAGLE

          I want Wolff and 4 new safeties as well, I just don’t know that I want to start a rookie next to Wolff in a year we are supposed to be contenders

  • theycallmerob

    Chung, Ward, and Byrd next year. Find that Boyett kid. The All-Duck Backfield. Big F-U to Harbaugh and Carroll.
    Just Do It™, Howie

    • Beastmode

      Hey, all ducks get shot at sometime. The slower ducks usually get lead poisoning. Lookin at you, Chung.

    • Token

      You ruined a dream scenario by putting Chung in there.

  • deg0ey

    I don’t understand how people can claim Anderson is worth keeping over Coleman. He was a ‘special teams ace’ in the past, but this season there wasn’t much to choose between these guys. Combine that with the fact that Coleman is actually a non-terrible depth option on D (unlike Colt).

    Anderson has no place on this team anymore, Coleman might if the price is right.