Free Agency Preview: Outside Linebackers

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys

It’s no secret that the Eagles are in need of outside linebacker help.

Connor Barwin showcased his versatility last year and is a keeper on the left side. He’s not a prolific pass-rusher, but Barwin is excellent against the run, can line up in a variety of places and is good in coverage.


On the other side, Trent Cole did an admirable job of transitioning to a 3-4 OLB. But he'll turn 32 next season and is still a bit of a square peg/round hole option. And the coaching staff saw Brandon Graham as purely a rotational player last season.

It's possible that the Eagles go into 2014 with those same three rotating, but the better bet is that they add a piece either through free agency or the draft.

Keeping that in mind, here are four guys who will be on the market when free agency starts Tuesday. The two biggest names - Brian Orakpo and Jason Worilds - are staying with the Redskins and Steelers, respectively. So this is a watered-down group.

But below are four players who could be of interest to the Eagles, starting with the highest-profile and ending with the sleeper.

* Note that ages refer to how old each will be when the 2014 season starts.

Everson Griffen, Vikings (26) - A fourth-round pick in 2010, Griffen has never played more than 60.1 percent of his team's snaps in a single season, per Pro Football Focus. But he was a productive pass-rusher last year and has 13.5 sacks in the past two seasons.

The question with Griffen is whether teams view him as a 3-4 OLB or a 4-3 DE. Per ESPN 1500 in Minnesota, he might prefer the former:

That's because Everson Griffen, a fourth-round pick in 2010 who is due to hit the free-agent market this offseason, would probably be more likely to return to the Vikings if they go to a 3-4. He'd also become a better player.

Griffen's eyes lit up last summer when he was asked about getting the opportunity to rush the passer from outside linebacker. Griffen was asked to play some linebacker in 2012 for the Vikings but he clearly wasn't comfortable doing it in a 4-3. It would be a different story if he was standing up and rushing the passer.

In a PhiladelphiaEagles.com video, Greg Cosell of NFL Films said he thought Griffen had the athleticism to play in a 3-4.

At 6-3, 273, Griffen has good size, and he is a young, ascending player. Given the market, he'll probably have his fair share of suitors. But if the Eagles want to make a splash, he could be someone they look at.

Mike Neal, Packers (27) - T-Mac first brought Neal to your attention in his post last month. The 6-3, 275-pounder dropped weight and made the switch to outside linebacker last year. He finished with five sacks, 30 pressures (second on the team), an interception and a forced fumble.

Neal only appeared in 20 games in his first three seasons because of injuries and because he violated the league's substance abuse policy.

He dropped in coverage 11.8 percent of the time on passing downs, per PFF. As a point of reference, Cole did so 21.7 percent of the time.

Neal is not a pure 3-4 outside linebacker and really has no more experience at the position than Cole or Graham. So he's not an ideal fit. But he's long, young and athletic. If the Eagles see upside, they could target him as a mid-tier option.

O'Brien Schofield, Seahawks (27) - He's had some bad injury luck in his career. Schofield suffered an ACL injury at the Senior Bowl when he was coming out of Wisconsin and fell to the fourth round in 2010.

He started to come on in 2012, notching four sacks in nine games, but Schofield then suffered a season-ending ankle injury. He went from a full-time role in Arizona to a rotational role in Seattle last year, playing just 20.3 percent of the Seahawks' snaps.

Schofield (6-3, 242) has experience dropping (he was in coverage 27.3 percent of the time in 2012) and is unlikely to command a big paycheck. If the Eagles want to add a rotational player who's played in a 3-4 before, he could get a look.

Rob Jackson, Redskins (28) - Because of an injury to Orakpo in 2012, Jackson had his best year as a pro with four interceptions, six passes defensed, 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He dropped in coverage 34.2 percent of the time on passing downs that year.

But Jackson was hit with a four-game suspension to start 2013 for using a banned substance.

At 6-4, 266, he has good size and experience. Jackson is considered a rotational player, but could be a stopgap option for the Eagles if they like his skill set.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Vet Linc

    I think there’s a 19.134189834123487097 percent chance the OLBs are better this season.

    • MediaMike

      This is actually more valid than some metrics d-bag telling me batting average, RBI, and walks aren’t important hitting stats.

      • Andy124

        The metrics db’s love walks, what are you talking about?

  • Vet Linc

    “And the coaching staff saw Brandon Graham as purely a rotational player last season.”

    Most everyone knew this before last season. That’s all he ever was and all he ever will be….and yes, that means he was a bust for where the prior staff selected him and the cost associated with that crappy pick.

  • Johnny_P

    If I’m the Eagles brass I am passing on this scrap heap of mediocre players. Orakpo you could even argue was just a sexy name, not a big time player, and chronically hurt. Worilds on the other hand is a stud. Time to look to the draft…

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

    Schofield could be a bargain buy, especially to back up Barwin depending on (1) how the coaches see Travis Long next year, and (2) whether we target more of a rusher such as Ford or Barr vs. JACK-type, like KVN or Smith, in the draft.

    Don’t see any of these guys as a better, more cost-efficient upgrade to Cole considering the prospects coming out.

    • JofreyRice

      right on. And if you’re not buying anything in passrush, then you’re just sacrificing Cole’s outstanding run D when you pull him off the field. No thanks.

      • cliff henny

        know you like Kaddu, isn’t he also more of a jack lb?

        • JofreyRice

          Yeah, he’s also a bit of a projection. I think he’s a good guy to have developing behind Barwin, but I don’t think he’s ready for primetime yet. Plays mad, though–I like that.

          • Clamdigger

            I think the idea that Davis wants to disguise everything is a bit overblown. You can use a 3-4 “Predator” and still disguise your blitzes just fine. The issue is more with the safeties. Davis wants to force turnovers. He’ll send blitzers from all over the field, but they’re not always going to get home. You need a ball hawk back there to take advantage of the errant throws that said blitzes are going to cause.

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

          I like him too but have to imagine he’s behind long, and likely a longshot to make the roster

    • GEAGLE

      I talked about Obrien Schofields all of last year…I can’t tell you why, but we have no interest in him. We are talking about a guy who cleared waivers, we could have had him last year, and we didn’t even think he was worth Casey Mathews spot backing up Barwin. i like his game as a reserve, but I can’t tell you why we have such little to no interest in him …think we even had a shot to pick him up twice…when a real OLB can be had on waivers and a team with only 1 real OLB,passes him twice, it’s probably safe to say he won’t be a FA target for us

  • JofreyRice

    I think Michael Johnson should be on this list, at least as a possibility. His suitability comes down to what you want from your OLBs. Do you want the ability to have them completely interchangeable, jack of all trades, master of none–essentially putting two Connor Barwins on the field, or do you want to have defined roles as a drop and rush linebacker, sacrificing some versatility for better passrush at ROLB?

    If the answer is the former, I think Michael Johnson’s a good fit. Athletic, and has some experience standing up, but not a great pure passrusher.

    If you believe the Eagles need a real passrusher to consistently bring the heat on 3rd down, which is what I think, you’re better off getting that in the draft and growing it.

    I see Neal, Jackson and Schofield as guys you’d sign for depth if you could get them cheap. Nothing indicates they’d be any kind of meaningful answer.

    • Tikkit

      TOTALLY agree. You don’t get much longer, faster, and more physical. He has all the size of Dion Jordan with vet savvy and a proven track record. He fits CK’s big people mold and won’t cost a draft pick (if the Jordan trade “were” to happen)

      • GEAGLE

        Everson.MJ,Dion is the best we could possibly do across from Barwin before the draft

    • cliff henny

      I get the L/R safety, it makes sense to me. confuses the qb from 10-15 yds off LOS, wont dictate coverages, maybe hesitate, etc. but OLB, get me a beast that everyone in the stadium, hell, the state knows is coming and not a thing anyone can do about it.

      • southy

        I think that works in a 4-3, but the effectiveness of a 3-4 is in having more options. My ideal would be a yin to Barwin’s yang, slightly stronger pass rusher, maybe not as good in coverage, but capable enough to make it hard to call the Mike and keep chipping RBs confused.

        If the scheme works well, even a less capable pass rusher should get his stats.

        • Andy124

          Need a stud pass rusher. I’d say it’s unlikely that guy sucks in the other facets of the game.

          We’re so focused on either-or. I really don’t think we’re being greedy enough. No sarcasm.

          • southy

            Who’s we? I’m dead set on getting Dion lol.

          • paul from nc

            Totally agree, would love Jordan.
            If we get Ward and a “lower tier” Safety and Jordan we’d be super strong pre draft

          • paul from nc

            They are really two different skill sets. It’s quite easy to be good at one and suck at the other. ie Cole.
            Chip likes the versatility, I like Cole, but doubt he stays.

      • GEAGLE

        If we were to sign Everson, we would have no use whatsoever for Trent Cole! because Everson unlike a draft pick, is ready to play the run, has the strength and is probably just as good a run defender as pass defender. I really think he is ready to be a 3down player, and. I always thought 3-4 was a better fit for him…no matter what happens or doesn’t happen in FA, we are drafting an OLB this year…but if we could draft one, AND replace one of our stop gap 4-3DEs with a real 3-4OLB of better quality, it would really put our defense in a nice position.

        • cliff henny

          with increase in cap, and only able to june 1st 2 guys, I wouldn’t have issue with cutting Cole. still have to use a top pick on OLB though. 6/1′g cole, clears 5m in ’14-certainly offset Everson signing and 8.5m in ’15.

          • GEAGLE

            Absolutely…even a quality FA OLB won’t mean we are done.
            We NEED 4 OLBs. Right now Barwin is out only one. So within the next two offseasons, we have to find 3 new OLBs, or ATleast two new ones, and the 4th being what we wish Casey was and OLB/ILB hybrid who can rotate and backup both spots

        • paul from nc

          That would be the best of all worlds. We can only hope.

        • travis papa

          He doesn’t make a lot of sense just in the fact his whole career college & nfl he has had his hand down. He would be another conversion like BG or Cole only 1yr behind plus to make room in the rotation we would either cut Cole or trade graham. He’s never really been greatly productive either. Just bc he is excited about playing in a 3-4 doesn’t mean he can. I’d rather look elsewhere or draft. I think draft wise we get a jack and a pass rusher. If they do take a flier on him I hope he tears it up though. Another bargain guy to look at ILB pat angerer could be a target

  • Nfl All Day

    We know Trent is here in ’14 as a starter. For that reason I doubt Griffen would consider Philly an option. He spent his time in Minnesota unable to crack the starting line up behind Jared Allen and Brian Robison. He’ll likely look for a spot he can start and get paid like a starter. Rob Jackson is intriguing, but guys coming off PED suspension are a huge risk for letdown, tye numbers are ideal tho. Schofield, Neal, ehh….but they fit the description, and likely price.

    I really think OLB, above safety, is the position they will no doubt address early at the Selection Meeting. This is where 3-4 teams butter their bread, with hellraising pass rushers who destroy offensive gameplans. The Suggs, Hali’s, Harrisons, Wares, etc.

    The irony is that this guy might already be on the roster. Trent Cole started coming on down the stretch. He tallied zero sacks the first 8 games, then put up 8 in the final 8 games. His 6 passes defended was about 18th of all LBs. The lightbulb came on late last year and his best in the 3-4 may be yet to come. Add to that John Abraham who had 10 sacks for the Cardinals in his first year at 3-4 olb at ag3 35, and you can definitely see Trent having a few more productive seasons. He’s never had a major injury, and takes great care of himself. I think drafting a rookie to push him is definitely the way to go.

    • juaniflaco

      Excellent point about Cole. In past years, as a 4-3 DE he would wear down late in the season. Last year, playing mostly in space, he got better as the season went on. It’s possible (likely) he still has upside as a 3-4 OLB.

      • GEAGLE

        I don’t get bent out of shape over our young players getting out played in their first ever playoff game. But I find it extremely dissapointing and worrisome that Cole completely disappeared against a 3rd round rookie playing in his 4th NFL game. An experienced veteran like Barwin stepped up and was straight up bullying Jimmy Graham, yet Trent Cole got OWNED by a kid playing his 4th game. way more concerned with him being MIA in a playoff game, then I am impressed by him padding his stats late in the season against the bears who used a friggin RB to try and block him.
        ..
        Cole is elite run defender/set the edge, and historically rookie OLBs struggle in that regard because they need to get stronger and add weight, so I’m not oblivious to his merit to our team next year as a stop gap til the kid we draft can grow into a 3 down OLB. But assuming we draft a rookie pass rusher in the first 2 rounds, I don’t want to see Cole rushing the QB on 3rd down more then 35% of the time? Depending on who the OLB prospect we draft is, Cole probably will have to play the majority of the snaps in our base defense on first and second down, but it’s imperative that we add a kid who is a significant upgrade as a Nickle pass rusher

    • Eagles1018

      I totally agree with this assessment. I bet Trent Cole is flipping the bird to everyone that agrees with getting another OLB. I think age and money could be factors after ’15 season so you look to the draft for his replacement. Bring in Safeties through FA and the draft. Also, right now I’m hoping Hauschka gets a look from us…..nobody has mentioned how crappy Alex Henery has been on these comments sections lately

    • paul from nc

      But doesn’t Chip want a guy that can rush AND cover?

      • Nfl All Day

        Sure, I think everyone does. It’s all match ups and situations.

  • George

    I think cole is more of a round peg/square hole guy. Fits, but not perfectly. Our staff finds a way to make him work, but he’s not exactly what we want

    • paul from nc

      Yeah, wouldn’t surprised if Cole and Graham aren’t on the opening day roster.

  • JofreyRice

    For anyone that’s interested, Sam Monson, one of PFF’s founding members, did a write up on Jairus Byrd:

    https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/03/05/free-agent-profile-jairus-byrd/

    One of his big points is that there was no mistake at the combine: Byrd is not that fast. He plays smarter, to make up the difference.

    “I have seen Byrd try and chase down plays from behind and been outrun by one of his own linebackers over 60 yards. Instead, he is able to influence plays by a combination of great instincts, cheating in coverage by alignment, and by creating range with depth.”

    Nice read. Sorry if already posted.

    • NickS1

      I’ll take it.

    • cliff henny

      Tommy L over at Igglesblitz has write-ups on both. has Byrd ahead of Ward, but comes across questioning whether either is a 8-9+m guys. Byrd has speed and tackling issues while Ward is not going to force a ton of turnovers (that’s short-handed for those not interested in reading articles). a lot of the commenters over there are pulling strongly for M Jenkins, and using saving for additional depth (and taking safety very early to complete).

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

        Still, both are top 5 safeties in the league. Speaks more to quality and difficulty to get one.
        Even more necessary IMO we take advantage of saving cap all these years for this precise scenario.

        • cliff henny

          i’m with you. was more surprised the difference between the 2 sites. 8-9m for either Ward/Byrd, sign me up. 1st, 9m isn’t 9m anymore. cap will be 155+m in 2yrs, that’s 25% raise. so 9m today is like 7.5m last yr. 2nd, have 2 holes, OLB and S, solve 1 thru FA, top 5 guy, that’s Safety. 3-it’s money well spent, will helps corners and young counterpart safety.

          • Tom W

            Told ya like 3-4 of TL’s more respected posters attacked me for pushing byrd/ward for market reasonable offer (8.5-9mil max and big guarantee) and a walk away BECAUSE byrd and ward aren’t alltime greats like reed and dawk and not ELITE difference makers like earl thomas. their argument not mine. they’d rather do pupu platter of jenkins or someone similar and save 4 mil. I dont get it at all. the star are aligned.
            And you know me … i pushed against it for a long time bc of the cap, but now I understand it won’t have much of a affect on foles or any signing of the kids bc we frontload, natural attrition of older players and especially the giant cap increase.
            I dunno what they are scared off. they say safety isnt really a position you need to spend on to win so better spent other places. that’s fine and dandy but a stud safety is an uber advantage (like great te) AND we have nothing at safety whatsover AND little risk bc we know these guys.
            I would argue the fines and penalties for hits and PI penalties and development of stud slot wrs and monster tes has made safety uber important … maybe more so than corner if not equal. so when you can get a top 4 safety (or top 10) you freaking do it if you can get them at or near reasonable market price (not FU money)

          • cliff henny

            yeah, I read that thread, you were doing some work. to me, it sounded like they were stuck in early 2000′s thinking. that’s when you paid for a shutdown corner (not even more than 2 exist Sherman and Petersen) and could roll rest of the coverage. spreading out , TEs like graham(etc as you pointed out) have taken that guy away. Even if Eagles spend 10m on Byrd, still have 1 of the cheaper starting 4 secondaries.

          • GEAGLE

            We are talking about an extra 17mil in cap space, not to mention cuts and restructuring next year, and right now before the cap increases happen, we still have more money to spend then about 20 teams…
            ,,,
            17mil in cap increases basically means we can have Nick FOles for free, and keep operating at this years 133m, which we still have plenty of money to spend…people are nuts

          • JofreyRice

            Echo chamber effect. Doesn’t Lawlor write for PE.com? The real question is this, is he floating info that he’s been given, in terms of whom they are looking at pursuing? Is he being overcritical of Byrd’s game because the org is too scared of making a big mistake, and he wants to temper some of the Byrd-love?

            Certainly, its something that Spadaro has done, and Adam Caplan as well. I remember during the draft, Spadaro saying Hakeem Nicks was a “fat boy” when a caller asked if he would have been a better pick than Maclin. Caplan was arguing with me on twitter when Nnamdi was getting fish-filleted every week, telling me it wasn’t his fault.

          • jesse

            Exactly you’re strengthening 4 positions with one signing then get get a bull pass rusher on the outside and the whole dynamic of this defense is changed with two singings

        • Nfl All Day

          And when you look at the ’15 FA Safeties it’s a bleak picture. That alone makes me think they make a major move to address safety this year, be it draft or FA, and get a long term starter, not a stop gap.

          • GEAGLE

            15 is a bleak future? That’s an understatement. This is LITERAlLLY the last chance to get a Top safety without drafting and developing one for a while:
            ..
            Weddle (over rated in my mind but people think highly of him) was signed longterms
            ..
            Kam Chancellor signed Longterm
            ..
            Dashon godly signed Longterm

            Berry will NEVER hit the open market
            ..
            Earl Thomas will NEVER hit the open market

            Once Byrd and Ward are locked up longterm, all the top veteran safeties are signed to Longterm deals..the next chance at a decent safety hitting the market would prob be mark Barron! and I’m not even sure how great he is

            pass on Byrd and Ward, and you can forget about having a top safety until you hit on right safety in the draft and spend two or three years developing him

          • Andy124

            Want both. WardByrd AND hit in draft.

          • GEAGLE

            AND bring Dawk out of retirement JORDAN style!!

          • paul from nc

            Sarcasm? I’d pass on Byrd, sign Ward. Should save some money to sign another mid range FA safety But agree this is the year you have to make a move.
            All the Cap space and the upcoming increases dictate you have to use it. There will be plenty left to resign our guys next year.

      • JofreyRice

        Disagree that Byrd has “tackling issues”. Was never supposed to be a big hitter, but he keeps plays in front of him, and doesn’t miss tackles. I know some people really like his work, but Lawlor is not a football scout. He’s a guy that’s a huge Eagles fan, writes well, watches content that’s available to anyone and expresses strong opinions (that mostly align with whatever the org happens to be doing).

        Jenkins sucks. Talk about tackling issues, the dude missed 16 tackles last year. He’s been bummy since he’s come into the league. The numbers say it, the advanced metrics say it, the games show it. Lawlor has built up a nice following of people who like his writing. I think sometimes the comment section there can become an echo chamber for his thoughts. I know Sheil features his work here, and thinks highly of his opinion, but the whole thing is just not my cup of tea.

        • cliff henny

          to be fair, TL did not say he was a bad tackler, just had issues (short-handed it). was more that if he’s out of position or away from the play, he’s not going to get there. was a couple other points about it, but were all under that central theme. those guys want Dawkins walking thru the door for 9m, and that’s not happening. to me, 9m seems worth it for a guy who’s going to get 8-10 picks, and make at least 3 or 4 guys better (fletch,BB, CW and Wolff).
          .
          interesting point about that site. I dont enjoy interacting on it’s comment section nearly as much as here. could never put my finger on why.

          • GEAGLE

            Really was NOT impressed with TLs assessment of either

          • cliff henny

            I’ve watched Ward andByrd a little (don’t scout like you and other do), both jumps off TV. mean, you know those guys are on the field. Allen will get 4m and at his best, we never wanted to hear his name. think he’s seeing price tag and comparing that to past top paid safeties, or at least Dawkins, cause that was a running theme. not taking into account how bad the position is, so good one get paid a premium.

          • GEAGLE

            Spot on…sometimes you don’t even have to be a scout, sometime players just jump off the screen and you couldn’t miss them if you tried…That’s usually a playmaking GAMECHANGER..then you get two tiers below, like the Nate Allen’s and the MOST you can hope for them, is that you don’t notice them at all. That’s a good game for a Nate Allen, Clemons type, not getting torched, not getting noticed
            ..
            We have a chance at gamechangers at a position that can have such an effect on our entire defense? Like, just go watch an see how TJ Ward played at the probowl. Dude plays hard, he loves the game, he wants to be great. You see players making a disgrace of the probowl, yet Ward still can’t help himself from hitting everything that moves! and this year it was team mates be damned for him! he cracked them too. This man brings toughness to the secondary both against the run and in coverage because he is one of the top man to man cover safeties on This market.
            ….
            This is MOT a player you hand 40mil to and you have to worry about him kicking up his feet and relaxing

          • GEAGLE

            I Genuinly believe these two safeties are hungry to win, I think they were DOGS before getting paid, and they will be just as hungry after you hand them 40mil….all the stars have aligned for us….people talk about the “strangle hold” on the NFC East…signing one of those and NFC east opponents faces start turning purple instantly!!!

          • 76mustang

            Cowboy fans will be apoplectic!

          • Andy124

            I think it’s just a lot slower over there. *grasping*

          • cliff henny

            maybe. seems like i’m reading a text book, rather than fans interacting. bleedinggreennation goes all the way to other extreme, provides no insight, just place to chat/bitch-n-moan

          • Andy124

            Spot on. Kinda the Goldilocks Zone here.

            Good balance of football and chatter imo.

          • Andy124

            Speaking of Goldilocks Zone, looks like we can expect there to be something like 33 billion earth sized rocky planets in the Goldilocks Zone in our Galaxy if you include those around Red Dwarfs.

            Sweet.

          • JofreyRice

            If Byrd/Ward fall through, maybe Howie can start scouting some of those. By my calculations, there could be 66 billion free agent safeties of high quality out there.

          • Andy124

            And at least 1 Dawkins.

          • cliff henny

            maybe in 1 of those there can be an exact earth-like society, a parallel planet, where the eagles have won a GD super bowl

          • GEAGLE

            Andy, aren’t you the one who goes on mma junkie.com?

          • Andy124

            I am. Well, I was. Rare visitor there these days.

          • GEAGLE

            Then you will get the analogy: Lawlors is like the stuckup! stuffy! close minded Bloodyelbow commenters, and BGN would be like the frat boy Mmamania retards

          • Andy124

            I know nothing about the bloodyelbow or mmania crowd. Just know that at mmajunkie, we were very snobbish towards the sherdog crowd. :)

          • GEAGLE

            You are better off!! Sherdog, oh god..I forgot about them. Hate Loretta hunt

          • Maggie

            You just got finished saying you don’t like getting into unprovoked name calling?

          • GEAGLE

            There are a few really quality and respectful posters over there like AC Viking, but you really have to pick and chose who you spend your time interacting with over there and most of the ones I do interact with, also pop in and interact with this blog from time to time…like there are plenty Of guys over there like Shah who I make it a point to go out of my way to avoid reading because it’s just too DUTCHish

            The good aspect of the comment section is it’s probably the most respectful comment section you can find. Most people just want to talk about the game. Instead of having senseless pissing matches and silly unprovoked personal attacks.

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

            same. some fun guys over there, just not Howie do

      • Nfl All Day

        I don’t know a lot about Jenkins so I went on some Saints fan sites to see what the faithful have to say about the potential of losing him….They don’t seem to care one bit. The feeling I got is that his coverage ranges from suspect to downright liability, and tho he may be a decent safety overall, nobody wants to break the bank to keep him. For what thats worth……Somebody could draw the same conclusions listening to us talk about Nate.

        • cliff henny

          liked idea of MJ a lot more Monday at 3:59 than 1 minute later, that’s for sure

          • GEAGLE

            You guys keep confusing me with MJ because I use that for Micheal Johnson

        • UKEagle99

          I said this when his name was first linked to us. The only other NFL guy at work is a Saints fan (that was fun after the playoffs). I said to him about us possibly being interested in Jenkins, he said “you can have him”.

          • GEAGLE

            Ok..but eagles fans will say, you can have Nate
            Panthers fans will say you can have Mike
            Miami fans will say you can have Clemons
            Bears fans will say you can have Wright

            If we can’t get Byrd/Ward it’s not like we can play without safeties…it’s not like we can say we will draft two and sign one that goes Undrafted….someone has to be signed!!! And since only 10 teams currently have more cap space left then us…WHy not US??

          • Nfl All Day

            On that note, the author and readers of the Panthers blog seem fully in favor of them resigning Mike Mitchell, but would like to see him in more of a SS roll as he apparently crushed people all year but was a bit of liability in coverage. This after being signed as a flier and taking over week 3 for FS Charles Godfrey. Godfrey looks to be a candidate for aJune 1st cut with a high salary. Ultimately there’s a ton of options. It all depends what Billy D. values and how the guy fits. I wish I saw more from Earl Wolfe, thats all I know

          • Nfl All Day

            And the Panthers blog actually has an entire story dedicated to Marvin Fn McNutt! Sh% t you not. ……

        • travis papa

          From what I seen they have a lower opinion of him then we do of Chung. Everyone of them thought he would cost them the gm against us in the playoffs. They are ready to pack his bags & drive him to the airport

      • DharmaBum

        Pro Football Focus posted their 75 top Free Agents

        https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/03/03/pffs-2014-top-75-free-agents/

        “72. Malcolm Jenkins, Safety – Clearly we’re not as high on the versatile Jenkins as some. Capable of playing a number of roles but has rarely excelled but for a few patches in his career.”

        Not sure I want any parts of that…

        • JofreyRice

          Oh, what do they know? They’ve only graded every snap of Jenkins’ entire career as a pro.

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

            hahahaha careful, there are some huge MJ fans on here.
            I resigned myself to him weeks ago, assuming no GM in their right mind would let Byrd and Ward get to FA, but I just can’t accept it as a consolation prize.
            It’s like going to the Olympics as an athlete, but instead of medaling you just flame out in the qualifying rounds and get an STD from some athlete village prostitute

          • GEAGLE

            Same…I prepared myself to accept him because of Byrd and Ward not hitting the market…but NOW, it would be very hard to swallow….If I see “the Eagles have agreed to a deal with Malcom Jenkins”, IT BETTER be because we already signed Ward a few hours before that

          • paul from nc

            There you go. That works for me

          • JofreyRice

            eh, if Jenkins is the guy, I’ll resign myself to it, but I don’t see a need to start managing my expectations into pretending I want them to sign a bum, just because I think it’s the most likely scenario.

            With the information available to me, I don’t see why they wouldn’t go hard after one of the top two guys. Centerfielder and Box Safety. The combined scope of their skills fit any need or system in the NFL today. Both high level players. Take your pick!

    • Mr. Wu

      Well that’s all good but can Nnamdi blame him when something goes wrong?

  • GEAGLE

    Like I been saying Everson Griffin and MJ are the best possible players we could get at OLB…if you believe the reports that we would have made Worlids an offer, then there could be a chance we pull a coup and sign one of these two…
    ..
    But I suspect that having so much allocated to Barwin!Cole and BG means that the 4th OLB will be a rookie contract as opposed to a free agent like one of these two Who I would be so happy to sign. if by some miracle we add Everson, then that most likely means we will dump BG during the draft for whatever is the best offer. Even if it’s just a 6th round pick

  • GEAGLE

    Sheil. If we had any interest in Schofield, Don’t you think we would have claimed him off waivers one of the 15 times he was released last year, at a time we only had 1 real OLB on the roster? To me, that SCREAMS, we have NO interest….I’m not exactly sure why since I always liked him as a reserve..

  • myeaglescantwin

    i feel like Cole is the stop gap player at the moment. We need to draft someone to phill those shoes real quick. Not to mention a knockout ILB to back up Ryans and Kendricks.

    we got lucky with health last year, this team does not have too much depth on either side of the ball.

    • Andy124

      i feel like Cole is the stop gap player at the moment.

      This isn’t something you feel so much as it is a universally accepted fact. :)

    • paul from nc

      Key point that seems to be overlooked in these discussions.The OL especially needs depth. We cannot expect last years luck to hold, even with Chip’s smoothies.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        Yes, but at least the starting OL doesn’t have a hole that needs filled. That’s not something many teams can actually say. Yeah, Todd started off slow, but finished strong. Depth guys for OL can be found in FA for relatively low cost and/or the latter rds of the draft. Especially interior linemen. Barbre is the fill in T and he’s not over the hill. Hoping that Bamiro develops into at least a serviceable backup as well. We do have time though to find replacements for the other 2/5 – 3/5 of the line. But I would be surprised if we didn’t add 2 guys to the OL (1 FA, 1 draft) & at least 1 to the DL (FA).

        • paul from nc

          I’m not looking for just backups. I want them to be guys that can grow into starters in a year or two when replacements will be needed for certain,and hopefully we’re in the hunt for a championship

          • Jerry Pomroy

            “Key point that seems to be overlooked in these discussions.The OL especially needs depth. We cannot expect last years luck to hold, even with Chip’s smoothies.”

            That’s what you said. You said the OL needs depth. Depth means just that, backups. Either way, you’ve got 2 young guys on the line & 3 older guys a little over 30. You’ve got one position that’ll most likely require a 1st rd pick, that’s the tackle position opposite Johnson. The other 2 guard positions can be still be found in the mid to latter rds. Guards can be found & taken every year & those that don’t make the cut to start build your “depth”. Next year or possibly the year after you use your 1st to grab your tackle of the future. At that point Johnson will have had 2-3yrs under his belt, and you’ve more than likely found at least one of your two guards to take over for Todd. I think Mathis lasts a little longer at playing at a high level. Relax, it’s not like they haven’t already started the process & it’s not like we need to go out and find 4-5 OL tomorrow. We just 3 & we have time.

      • DoctorRick

        This is true. Saints had our number.

  • GEAGLE

    OMG!!!! Just turned on my TV, and literally the first thing I heard was “IF MIKE VICK CAN STAY HEALTHY” when will I stop hearing those words?mits becoming worse then the Brett Favre comeback/retirement talk…..like people are really still talking about if he can stay healthy? Maddening

  • oreofestar

    5 more days….

    • GEAGLE

      Hey man, I just want to get thru tomorrow without Ward signing his name to a contract and it will be the end of the browns exclusive negotiating period with him! and we can start talking business

      • oreofestar

        Yeah… I mean if we do not get him or Byrd I will be very disappointed, this team has less holes than people realize we are probably going to have 20 of the same 22 starters so why not splurge on a top 5 safety

        • GEAGLE

          Absolutely….unless we go crazy and try to sign MJ or Everson, the only starting caliber player we will add is Safety…all the rest of the free agent signings will be depth/ST players, and subpackages rotation guys on defense…
          .,
          So let’s see how happy all those fans who don’t want us to spend on Ward and Byrd feel, when we save money, sign an average safety, and then the rest of our signings are a bunch of names like Alex Carrington that they never heard of before

          I simply don’t see how it’s possible that all the stars have aligned, the one starting position we have left to fill, has two of the top players at that position in the NFL both hitting the market and us not taking advantage of it…how is that even possible? Normally I can play devils advocate, but I’m just not seeing much reason for why we shouldn’t….especially since the cap is projecting to increase 17m the next two years which essential means, we can pay franchise QB money for free, and just keep operating at the 133m cap that we are operating at now,which Howie has worked masterfully, locking up all our guys yet still having more money left to spend then 20 other teams

          • oreofestar

            and the thing is Players are only going to get more expensive and this is just perfect, tons of cap space with safety as the biggest need and 2 top 5 safeties and former oregon players are available for the taking, F*** Malcolm Jenkins get me Ward or Byrd

          • GEAGLE

            PREACH brother man!

          • oreofestar

            all i have been able to think about is Ward or Byrd and I will not be at peace until I know we have signed one of them and this point I actually do not care which, they are both good fits and Ward can cover well too which some people do not realize so at 4:00 when the biggest signings are immediately announced I want to see the Eagles get one of them and everyone can stop talking about Clemons and Jenkins and Mitchell and all these other average safeties

          • OregonDucker

            Thank the Lord we have Chip to improve the Eagles chances with these guys. They love him and love playing for him. Now if they can just get pass the money hurdle and think long term, hint hint= SB, then maybe we got one or both.

          • OregonDucker

            QB money babe! Man, am I glad the QB wars have ended.

          • DoctorRick

            I think you’re right, Geags. But there are other bidders in the auction and we don’t have control over them. I’ll bet Jeff, Howie, Chip and group are sweating this as well.

      • OregonDucker

        I would be SHOCKED if Ward signs with the loser Browns. If he wants a ring, he should sign with a winner- THE Eagles. He will and my whisky stock will suffer.

  • GEAGLE

    Some interesting news….

    Shefty reports the saint are Shopping lance Moore, and Pierro Thomas, but the interesting part is they may be open to trading Sprouls…
    ..
    Darren Sprouls In chips offense with shady and our athletic OL that can get in front of him and move on those screen passes he is so great at would add another really potent element to our offense, We talk about DAT and McCluster, SProuls is like a pro bowl,version of those two..

    Imagine those wheel routes to shady down the sideline but with Sprouls running one as well on the opposite side. How the hell can two LBs both keep up with Shady and Spruls on wheel routes without ATleast one being left in dust and you know FOles is delivering that rock with touch and in stride!
    ..
    FOles to Sprouls down the side line, he gets to the 30, 25,20,15,10,5…TD Darren Sprouls, 45yard touchdown pass from the rainmaker Nick FOles…has a nice ring to it no? Lol

    Fake the hand off to shady, throw a screen to Sprouls with Lane and Kelce pulling in front of him, blocking everything in their path all the way down the field with Sprouls following them…

    Other then an athletic OG(free agency), a WR or two in the draft, I was ready to see us dump the rest of our assets into the defense,,…but if you can put Darren Sprouls in chips arsenal, you do it!!! Barry Finkle says…..??? Lol

    • oreofestar

      I do not want to trade for him but if he is let go at the right price they have to at least consider it

    • Eagles4Life

      I’d absolutely love it, but DAT is younger and cheaper.

      • GEAGLE

        Well yeah, a 6th round pick is always going to be cheaper then a probowl caliber type…however, if the saints trade him it’s not cause they don’t want him, it’s because they need the cap space, in which case they probably consider cutting him if they can’t trade him..a player that’s people think is getting cut, won’t fetch more then a 5th round pick in a trade…they could get into a horrible contract dispute with Jimmy and if they need the money! we could potentially get him for like Bryce Brown and a 6th round pic or something crazy

      • oreofestar

        and you have no idea when he will be taken you can not back on a player in the draft, what if a team reaches on him in the 2nd? You never know I do not disagree with you I am just saying you can not count on that

        • GEAGLE

          In btw, if anyone wants lance Moore, he can basically be had for free, because cutting him doesn’t clear cap space for them, but trading him does..so you would really only have to be ok paying his 2.5m salary, and you can probably trade them a crappy draft pick or like Damaris

          • oreofestar

            at 2.5mil sure I would trade our 2nd 5th round pick for Moore and a 7th I mean this guy reached 1000 yards like last year

          • pjcostello

            The Eagles are certainly not reaching for a 5’9″, 30 year old WR without breakaway speed, who hit 1000 yards once in his career (2012). We would’ve kept Jason Avant, who is a better special teams player and downfield blocker than Moore, as well.

  • oreofestar

    I think anybody assuming we go for average players because of last season need to realize that last year the Eagles had to rebuild an entire defense this year they really need a safety and everything else is secondary to that

    • Nfl All Day

      True that. And there’s jacksh%t for safeties in FA in 2015. Time is now. tj-tj-Tj-TJ-TJ-TJ.

    • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

      pass rush