On Thornton, Verner And Orakpo

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles announced today that they’ve signed Cedric Thornton to a one-year contract.

Thornton was an exclusive rights free agent, meaning he was under team control. If the Eagles wanted him back, his options were to either take the deal or not play at all. In other words, he was not allowed to negotiate with other teams on the open market.


Next year, Thornton will be a restricted free agent, meaning the Eagles will be in great position to retain him once again.

Thornton excelled in the Eagles' two-gap 3-4 in 2013, mostly lining up at defensive end, but occasionally playing nose tackle. He did a great job using his length and getting to the ball-carrier in the run game. Thornton still has room to improve as a pass-rusher, but was arguably the team's most consistent defensive player last season.

He turns 26 in June.

WOULD VERNER MAKE SENSE?

In his column today, Peter King of The MMQB suggested the Eagles should be looking at cornerbacks in free agency:

Regarding this year’s crop: Nick Foles bonded with Cooper, and when Cooper was willing to eschew free agency for $4.5 million a year, the Eagles jumped. They bought a year with Maclin, signing him for 2014 while seeing if he recovers from ACL surgery and resumes being an upper-echelon player. Kelce and Peters are among the best at their positions in football.

So, the Eagles, with an estimated $21 million in cap room, should be able to address their needs and get their own players re-signed in the early days of free agency. If I were GM Howie Roseman, I’d be watching tape of Titans corner Alterraun Verner.

My take? I'd be surprised if the Eagles went after a high-priced free agent cornerback. They are more likely to go forward with Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Brandon Boykin. A mid-level guy for depth and competition would make sense. And if a corner catches their eye in the draft, they could go in that direction too.

King projects that Verner is going to strike it rich since he's only 25. But my guess is the Eagles won't be a player for the 5-10 cornerback.

ORAKPO UPDATE

Even if the Redskins can't lock up Brian Orakpo to a long-term deal, it looks like he's staying in D.C.:

Update: The Redskins announced officially that they have placed the franchise tag on Orakpo.

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  • Richard Colton

    Anybody know anything about this Byrd guy from Buffalo? He might make more sense than a Verner.

    • Rambler

      A Byrd from Buffalo? Never heard of him. Are you referring to some sort of penguin?

      • DharmaBum

        No, that’d be Admiral Byrd.

    • peteike

      I dunno great question, there was another article with about 300 comments but it was mostly about which place was better to live, Buffalo or Philly. As if

    • OldDocRoss

      I just did a google on him in MSN Search and it turns out Byrd (he spells it with a Y!) plays as a Safety but we already have Chung, who we both know is fabulous, so not sure we’d need him?

      • Richard Colton

        Just asked some of the Philly.com posters about Chung. Turns out he was injured last year. He’s better now. We should be fine.

        • OldDocRoss

          It’s almost like they’re not that smart over there.

          I want us to cut Chung, then have a KLF style ceremonial burning of $3m. Just so he knows it wasn’t about the money.

        • George

          what dutch say????

        • Token

          People will talk themselves into anything.

          Its actually ridiculous that Chung is still on the roster. Set a damn example that being horrible means you dont get to be on the team. Same goes for Alex Henery.

      • Sean Stone

        Ok first off..Chung sucks.second,that Byrd guy…is an elite pro bowl ballhawking safety that’s why we’d need him.and I’m sorry but to be frank if you Dont know who that Byrd guy is you’re a casual fan and you Dont know football.he’s a young elite safety I can count on one hand how many of those are in the NFL right now.we NEED him

        • OldDocRoss

          I need to frame this.

          Both for posterity and guidance on good grammar. All my upvotes, you have them.

          • reb

            I’m thinking the guy doesn’t get internet humor.

          • OldDocRoss

            Scandalous accusation!

            He knew who Byrd was without googling!

            If he’d only called me a causal fan I’d damn well have proposed.

    • Andy124

      Only Byrd I can think of just signed with the Phillies. You know, because he’s old, rarely walks and strikes out shit-ton.

      • Richard Colton

        RAJ was put in a bad spot. Where does a championship team go but down? But the way he managed to close the window? Land speed record. Ruin Tomorrow jr. indeed.

        • Andy124

          It’s as if he’s actively scheming against the franchises long-term success. I’d wonder how much the Mets are paying him, but I don’t think they’re that clever.

    • Philly0312

      Hilarious.

  • Joe from Easton

    Didn’t Orakpo tear his pec twice in two years? Freak things happen I know, but I’m not for spending market value on a guy with a short and injury riddled career. Looks like he’s missed 28 of 48 possible weeks since the start of 2011. PASS.

    • peteike

      all accounts say he will be tagged anyway so it wont matter.

    • Michael

      He only missed the one year where he played 2 games then tore his Pec. His four other seasons he played in 62/64 games.

    • NickS1

      The first pec incident happened at the end of one of the seasons and he had all offseason, think it was end of 2011, he had surgery in offseason, then tore it beginning of ’12 season.

  • Shark

    Why not sign thornton to longer term deal? If he excelled so much and is only 26, wouldnt that make sense?

    • Richard Colton

      I like him. I’m not sold on him the same way I am on Cox/Logan. He played well, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Curry or Kruger steal more of his playing time, either in base or on 3rd down.

      • Tom W

        Dunno if I am sold on cox yet. Need to see him excel in the 3 4 and didn’t see that this yr. hope

        • RIP illa

          Was gonna say something similar. Frustrates the hell outta me that we don’t 1-gap or run an Under. Our 2 DEs are perfect for it. Cox is a better pass rusher than he is run defender and Thornton is vice versa, which is how it’s supposed to go.

          Granted we want to and should keep our ILBs clean, cuz they would get eaten up, but if Davis is comfortable having Logan anchor in the 2, then why worry bout that in the 1 or under?. Anyway…need to see more improvement from Cox or we’re gonna have another situation where we failed to get an impact starter or difference maker in round one. Which has been the case since Maclin, so far.

          • Tom W

            To be fair, I think he is a 8-10 sack dtackle in the 4-3 and would be a probowler. really dont understand why they don’t play Under — guess cox isnt worth holding up the defensive transformation and 3-4 provides more deception than the 4-3 under. it is only his first yr in the 3-4, so i will give him a break …. but I certainly need to see more … even from kendricks as well. lets not start overrating our own guys until they have earned it … keep them hungry to get paid.

    • MediaMike

      Because you don’t have to based on his status. He won’t be going anywhere if they want to keep him.

      • CJ

        This. Why assume any risk over the next 2 years when he’s easily in control. Just letting the system play itself out, he’s under club control for what? At most 3.5 mil over the next two seasons combined?

        They can extend him next year, no need to rush. They have Kendricks’, Boykin’s, and Foles’ deals to extend next year, all of which can’t be done this year and would virtually unanimously be ranked as higher priorities.

    • Adam

      No reason to yet. If I’m understanding how this exclusive thing works, we basically just signed him to the vet minimum and there wasn’t a thing he could do about it unless he didn’t want play football at all. Probably just a business move right now. He’s an RFA next year so we’re still in a position to sign him long term with very little chance of losing him to another team, and if he doesn’t repeat then we can let him walk.

      So it’s a win/win for the Eagles here with essentially no risk.

      • cliff henny

        since he was UDFA, he could only sign 3yr contract while drafted players get 4 yrs. so this rule sort of puts them all on same footing in regards to pay scale/control time once they make team.

        • dnabrice

          Wow, you get screwed if you’re not drafted….

  • Joe Thomas

    Im just hoping Bryd or Ward or both dont get tagged. That increases our chances of getting one. Getting a top notch corner would be nice, but at 5’10″ it will be hard to explain to Boykin why he aint playing on the outside.

    • Will

      I think the Browns are letting Ward walk, for a chance to sign Bryd

      • cliff henny

        that’s dumb logic by cleveland. just read on Buffalo sbnation,com site they took 1 more run at Byrd, 3 yrs at 9m per with couple more yrs tacked on. Byrd passed. he wants to get paid and win. no one goes to Cleveland to win

        • Philly0312

          Concur. I’d honestly rather have the kid from the Colts than Ward anyway. Ward isn’t very good in coverage, whereas the kid from the Colts is one of the better cover safeties. If we can’t get Byrd, I’m guessing if we can’t get Byrd we go after Bethea or Jenkins.

      • Joe Thomas

        Unless Cleveland got some inside info, thats stupid. If Bryd chooses Cleveland over Philly, I would be shocked. I hope Bryd wants to play for Chip again.

        • Will

          I didn’t say Bryd is gonna choose Cleveland over the Eagles, just that the Browns think they have a shot(They have the Cap space); and are willing to let Ward walk.

          • Joe Thomas

            A bad team and alot of cap space could make Bryd a very rich man.

          • Nfl All Day

            That’s what Buffalo is. He doesn’t seem to be biting.

          • Will

            Stupid rich

  • cliff henny

    less than an hour, any rumor updates on byrd or ward?

  • Adam

    Orakpo just got tagged. One down.

    • cliff henny

      what’s his number? 9m?

    • Joe from Easton

      Good, didn’t even want the Eagles to consider him.

      • cliff henny

        yup, solid player, but not tag money worthy. happily take him, but only to stop-gap for a Barr or Jordan. always liked Kerrigan more, but he seems in the tub too much. don’t follow ‘skins that closely, just enough to make fun of ex-Rat and Ex-Rat Jr, oh, and RG3-10

        • Joe from Easton

          haha – I’m mainly concerned about his injury history. If he hit the market he would’ve commanded top 5 at his position kind of money and I didn’t want (nor did I think they actually would) the eagles to get into a bidding war over a “position of need” for a guy who’s missed 28 of his last 48 games.

          • cliff henny

            agree. only reason Howie would have brought him in-town would run up price tag. sure Snyder would have fallen for such and obvious ploy hook line and sinker.

          • Joe from Easton

            Dan Snyder has the intellectual capacity of my Jack Russell Terrier. I guess I should say, though, that my Jack does wear a nice sweater on his walks and looks quite studious doing so. Haha – isn’t it great that not one, but TWO teams in our division have morons at the helm?

          • peteike

            hey, Jack Russells are very smart dogs, dont insult them like that

          • Richard Colton

            a Jack Kent Collie then

  • George

    Redskins tagged orakpo

    • Richard Colton

      franchise going nowhere

      • George

        All hail Jerrah and Chainsaw Dan!

        • Richard Colton

          Throw in Albatross Eli and the NFC East looks very winable for the next two years.

          • George

            And by then, we’ll be better than those teams and we’ll be in our primes

          • cliff henny

            Eli professional checklist:
            1. come off like a spoiled jack-off at the draft…check
            2. win 2 super bowls because of a very hot defense, but somehow getting credit…check
            3.throw so many INTs that Coughlin has a stroke on sidelines…tbd

          • Richard Colton

            key assist by flash-in-the-pan receiver’s skull

          • NickS1

            RE: #3 – To be fair, Coughlin doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that’s going to let his personal health issues, a) get out into public or b) deter him from being on the sidelines.

          • cliff henny

            mean I literally see Eli tossing pick 6 and as Kendricks is running into endzone, Coughlin has heart attack and stroke on the field.

          • NickS1

            That’s what I’m saying. It’s probably happened already. Dude’s a tough S.O.B. He probably had a heart attack and coached right through it.

          • cliff henny

            oh, haha…no doubt. his face gets so beat red, get a little worried for the guy. when he was chasing down punter after mom2, think he was a goner for sure.

          • Nfl All Day

            Thats what all those stupid agonizing faces are. He has 3-4 coronaries a loss

          • Richard Colton

            tragic. they’d probably give NYC another Superbowl just to help them recover from the pain.

          • CJ

            Just two? So long as Jerruh and Snyder run DAL and DC, I like my odds with Chip. Giants have some work to do. Eli needs a lot around him to succeed.

          • Richard Colton

            only because two years is a lifetime in the NFL. Look where we were 14 months ago. I like where your heads at though.

          • cliff henny

            2years is, but if I were them, would be planning on getting the Eagles next year, cause Howie and Chip are creating a pretty large talent gap.

  • Token

    Thats not thinking past tomorrow. Sure they could be ok with those corners this season. But what about next year when they will need two? Is the FA group better next year? I doubt it. Are you picking a corner in the middle rounds that could start next year? Maybe. Would Boykin slide out and fill a spot? Maybe.

    Its possible a few good solid corners could hit the market. Now im not a fan of paying top dollar for corners. Just dont think you need to anymore. So I think Verner is out of the question. Probably Vontaie Davis also.

    Now Sam Shields, could he be got for a deal anywhere close to Keenan Lewis last year? 5 years 26 mil. 10.5 guaranteed. I was thinking around the 6 mil a year range. I would do that. You would already have to pay Fletch, say 4 mil or so to resign next year right. So ill take the upgrade for a little more. Fill the void then left by Cary Williams with Boykin or a rookie from this year.

    • Tom W

      Is shields an upgrade? Don’t know much about him except packs pass d has sucked for three yrs after Super Bowl.

      On verner or Davis, I would think Davis would be more our style given his measurables … Id rather have Byrd at safety than a new corner but I wouldn’t dismiss the idea. It’s an upgrade and costs nothing to move on from fletch or just make him a stud backup.

      • RIP illa

        Definitely. Knows the system, gives us more speed, works hard, brought himself up from a UDFA so he’s humble and plays hard, better at getting turnovers also.

      • Token

        Shields is a good cover corner right now. I think he has the potential to be one of the better corners in the league.

        Now I dont know his personality tho. Maybe hes a dick for all I know. And he isnt a great tackler. I dont care much about my corner being a great tackler. They dont have to be Sheldon Brown. As long as they cover the hell out of their man.

      • TNA

        Shields (agent: Rosenhaus) is going to get paid. He’s not a great tackler, but he’s got everything else going for him including above average hands.

  • TNA

    Go Redskins! Use that tag.

    JimmyK posted a post thank linked to QB ball velocity at combines and noted Foles’ 57 mph fastball. Take a look and compare that with other starting QBs (not in any order):
    Flacco – 55 mph
    Kaep – 59 mph
    Dalton – 56 mph
    Wilson – 55 mph
    Geno Smith – 55 mph
    Glennon – 49 mph
    I wonder if there’s a correlation between hand size and velocity. I also wonder what velocity Vick threw at.
    Tannehill, RGIII, Luck, Stafford didn’t throw at the combine.
    Of course, not saying that velocity has anything to do with accuracy or success as a QB- but anybody who thinks Foles has a “weak ball” is obviously looking at too many of Foles’ in-game touch passes that are leading receivers open and generally doesn’t know s@#!. That said, one guy who can catch bullets? Maclin. So pehaps we’ll see more bullets this year.

    • Andy124

      Weird. Dalton is supposed to have a weak arm. Glennon a strong arm. Flacco one of the biggest in the game. These numbers don’t seem particularly close to conventional wisdom.

      • RIP illa

        Cuz they don’t account for distance. It’s an obscure stat or comparison, that means nothing when there’s very little context to go on. A guy like Vick and Flacco have shown that they can put great velocity on a ball thrown deep. Foles has shown that he doesn’t. Not condemning him or anything. Then there’s some guys like Farve, who throw w/ great velocity on intermediate as well as short throws, consistently. Foles has shown that he can throw “hard” on intermediate and/or short throws, but doesn’t do it consistently. Frankly, he doesn’t have to nor should he try to all the time. Doesn’t make for a better QB, as this guy said, and is completely situational. The only throws I want to see outlandish velocity from him are slants and outs…And we very rarely have our WRs run those patterns. And no…not every ball he throws w/o velocity is an “in game touch pass”! I have no idea what this is meant to prove, but I don’t see it proving a whole lot of anything. Maybe I don’t know shit!

        • TNA

          of course not every ball Foles throws is an in-game touch pass. just sayin that people who say he has a weak arm may just be seeing those balls where he’s lofting balls into places only he thinks his receivers can get them. you def don’t know shit. i’ve read your posts.

          • RIP illa

            Haha…well maybe you can teach me all that I need to know, so I can be more like you and step my game up w/ bullshit copied from other people to prove a round about point!!!

          • TNA

            Oh man. Desculpe. i meant to write that you def know your shit. clearly i need an editor.

          • cliff henny

            nawh, you were right the first ;)

          • RIP illa

            Cool.

        • Richard Colton

          Muzzle velocity vs/ maximum effective range IMO. Don’t see how that stat Jimmy linked is particularly relevant. That said – his throws may not pass the “eye-test” but the numbers prove he can throw effective passes deep.

          • RIP illa

            Most definitely. I don’t even care about the “eye-test” when it comes to his throws, cuz as I said, we don’t have him throw or have our receivers run the two particular routes where velocity is most needed (IMO).

            Was reading T-Law the other day and shah8 called his deep throws “punt passes” cuz of how they hang in the air. I laughed, cuz it’s true. But I don’t give a damn, other than from a pure spectator standpoint, whatever he has to do to get the ball downfield and be accurate…do it. I questioned his deep throws early on. He answered those questions and put them to rest.

          • gway

            I agree. Foles deep passes are not pretty and seem too hang sometimes. I believe foles even commented on that after the packers game. Foles deep balls remind me a lot of Matt Ryan’s.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            I’m prior Army -MOS: 11M, Mechanized Infantry.

            I seem to remember you possibly being military (prior/current) based on a previous avatar photo from last year. Am I remembering correct, or am I full of shit (which is quite possible)? Most people would not know those terms to use them effectively otherwise.

          • Richard Colton

            Yeah Jerry – 15 years active/reserve and counting… 13F back when I worked for a living. Worst part is living breathing Eagles football and knowing you’re going to miss at least 3 games a year. You don’t even want to know why I missed the season opener this year (rhymes with Albania).

          • Maggie

            Some would. My ex was a licenced handgun collector. Not to kill, nowadays, he collected unusual or older stuff. WWII Luger comes to mind. Beretta .22, etc. We occasionally went target shooting. My father was ex-army and hunted our meat for the winter, so the subject of weapons’ effectiveness in those circumstances sometimes came up.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Yes some would. I said “most” wouldn’t. For example my wife would think muzzle velocity might mean something about how fast our female dog could manage to take off its muzzle. Or in the case of our male dog, how fast he’d run around freaking out if we muzzled him. He’s pretty damn fast. Must be the cattle dog in him.

    • JofreyRice

      I do not believe this data.

      • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

        originally from ourlads

    • Maggie

      Vick could throw the ball about 80 miles an hour, on a rope, with a flick of his wrist. Just didn’t always throw it to the right place.

  • Adam

    According to league sources, the #Bills will not be using the franchise tag on Jairus Byrd today.— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) March 3, 2014

    • cliff henny

      Johnny Geagle isn’t posting today cause he’s busy tinting out his windows and planning escape route after he shoves a bound and gagged Byrd out of his car at the NovaCare front door

      • Tom W

        Just spit up my soda. funny shit.
        Its pretty simple. If Byrd wants to win in the next 1-3 yrs he is signing here for a fair deal. If he wants to get paid!!!! meaning overpaid by the highest bidder then he is going to the raiders and we don’t have a chance.
        Lets hope the most guaranteed money for any safety is enough to get him here …cause thats all its really about. and lets hope he wants to win. I dont see us losing out to the colts or falcons or pack for byrd if it comes down to contenders (unless grigson goes overboard like every contract he signed last year). lets hope they resign bethea

        • cliff henny

          yeah, i’m not going to complain about not getting byrd or ward till I see the contracts. both deserve 3yrs 9m per, most of that guaranteed. probably with SB and way dead is structured, end up a 4 yr liability. someone goes north of that, fine. just pushes 3rd and 4th safety down to Eags. think Eagles will have about 22-23m to FA with, about 2/3rds of that can easily be worked in as multi-yr deals. max out talent between safety and vet corner who’s in that sweet spot 25/26 age range.

          • OregonDucker

            Byrd and Ward want to play for Chip according to the Oregon grapevine. Maybe BS but the vine is usually right.

  • Tom W

    la confora reporting hearing nothing about tagging ward … could byrd ward verner and davis all make it to free agency … what about fat andy? is he going to let his ltackle, right guard, and backup stud right guard get to free agency? wow.

  • TNA

    Browns tagged their center, Alex Mack. Ward is FA.

    • DharmaBum

      I’m pretty sure they could still use the regular franchise tag on Ward, although with 13 minutes left, it looks unlikely.

      • TNA

        True. Jumped the gun a bit. Mack got a transition tag. 11 mins left. Get those phones ready Billy King style Howie!

    • peteike

      whats a transition tag? I kept posting they would tag Mack based on a Clev article i read. Everyone kept saying no per paying him too much as a center when you value all O linemen, price tag would be too high. Either way, Id guess they wont tag Ward which is very good. The more top guys to flood the market, better chances we can get one

      • peteike

        aha “Mack received the far less-used transition tag, which saves the Browns about $1.5 million over what the franchise tag would have cost and gives them the right to match any offer he receives from another team — unlike with the non-exclusive franchise tag, teams do not receive draft-pick compensation if they lose a player via the transition tag. Either way, it’s now very unlikely Mack leaves Cleveland before the 2014 season.”

  • RIP illa

    Houston, Verner, Ward, Byrd, Shields…FA class just got exponetionally better!!!

    If we go big Safety or not…well basically if we don’t go for a high level corner…I wonder if Phillip Adams, from OAK, will be in play for us as a mid-level CB???

    • TNA

      What are the chances Lamarr Houston gets to the Eagles? I’d be ok with signing an mid-level safety (if one exists) if they can get Houston.

  • TNA

    Byrd is free. Officially.

    • cliff henny

      in the words of Patches O’Houlihan…oh my sweet dick!

      • NickS1

        it’s too bad he got hit with a two-tons-of-irony hallmark card.

  • DharmaBum

    So, it’s official — Byrd, Ward, and Whitner are all available. Along with Vontae Davis, Shields, and Verner. Worilds got transitioned and no Pollard, though…he re-upped. What, oh what, will Howie do? So many choices!

    • Eagledelphia

      Yeah I was just posting the same thing about Byrd no reason not to try and sign one of these guys

    • DharmaBum

      In other news, the Skins have shocked the NFL by signing UFA restricted FA S Jose Gumb!

  • NickS1

    Happy day.

    • Richard Colton

      don’t stop shaking your Byrd until its safely back in the nest.

      • NickS1

        My verse to your remix of “Tom Ford” will be in full effect on March 11

  • Tom W

    Steelers tagged a backup olb. Wow. They better hope he doesn’t run and sign that thing asap. Get he is hot commodity but wow. Guess they plan on cutting Woodley

    • Tom W

      transition tag… owe him at least 9.5 mil and/or match any offer for him. but if he doesnt wanna sign that deal, he can always sign the one yr tender.

  • Dominik

    “Thornton was an exclusive rights free agent, meaning he was under team control. If the Eagles wanted him back, his options were to either take the deal or not play at all. In other words, he was not allowed to negotiate with other teams on the open market.”

    http://ct.fra.bz/ol/fz/sw/i55/2/10/16/frabz-Yeah-right-06ac3b.jpg

    What a rule. I mean, I like it from a team perspective, but wtf?

    • Tom W

      only accrued two yrs … basically trying to put all rookies on same scale/signing trajectory except first rounders

      • cliff henny

        slow day for me…reading igglesblitz comments, you are putting in some work over there. 5 yrs 43m all pro in prime safety, and they are arguing elite/great. that’s the going rate

  • Rahkem

    Byrd and Ward are gonna Push down the price of guys like Whitner, Delmas and Jenkins Eagles may be able to sneak away with 2 Upper Mid Level guys in FA while other teams are negotiating with the big names.

    I just want to grab a safety Everything else will just be a pleasant surprise.

  • Guest

    Parys Haralson is also Free , hopefully the eagles target him , very talented and still young but had trouble with injuries which could make him a bargain. He’d be an amazing guy to put in the rotation with a slight chance to challenge cole for a starting spot.

  • dislikedisqus

    At Sports on Earth, Tanier just put up a mammoth scouting report on Verner.

  • DoctorRick

    OK, here’s some Love for Cedric. He did a great job and will be a solid player for years to come. Glad to see him sign!

  • Nfl All Day

    Verner’s a damn good player, but we dont need to spend on an undersized CB. Draft a prototype and let him take one of the outside jobs. Williams and Fletcher played way better down the stretch then they get credit for. See Chicago, Dallas, and New Orleans games. Get them some help over the top and a passrush if you want more from them.