Eagles Showing Interest In Michael Johnson

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The unofficial start to the free agency period begins at noon Saturday when clubs are able to enter into contract negotiations with pending free agents. While deals can’t be executed until March 11 at 4 p.m., many will be structured over the coming hours.

With the time nearly upon us, here’s what we’re hearing on the outside linebacker front:

– The Eagles are showing some interest in Cincinnati free agent Michael Johnson.


The 27-year-old played defensive end in the Bengals' 4-3 scheme  but multiple teams are looking at him as a 3-4 outside linebacker. While primarily used as a pass rusher, Johnson did drop into coverage 31 times in 2013, according to Pro Football Focus.

A quick example of his coverage skills: In the regular-season finale against Baltimore he was asked to stick with receiver Marlon Brown for a spell on this third-down play.

johnson final 2

He starts off on the line of scrimmage but will peel back to cover  Brown, who is lined up in the slot, and does a decent job of hanging with him before falling into zone coverage.

johnson final 3

Johnson has demonstrated some versatility. And at 6-7, 270, he certainly fits the "big people" mold that Chip Kelly prefers. (His seven batted passes this season speaks to both his size, wing span and athletic ability.) The Georgia Tech product amassed 11.5 sacks in 2012 but only 3.5 this season, though his number of pressures apparently went up.

Money is the big issue here.  Chris Burke of SI.com has Johnson rated as the top edge rusher in this crop. From what we hear, several clubs agree. A team like the Vikings, who are coached by former Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and blessed with tons of cap room, might be willing to pay top dollar. The Eagles would probably have to go out of their comfort zone to get him.

-- If they are looking to stay a bit more financially conservative, Mike Neal could be an option.

We wrote about the 26-year-old back in February. He came in the league weighing over 300 pounds and initially played on the interior for the Packers, but shed some 15 pounds and was converted to outside linebacker this past season. He went on to supplant Nick Perry at the left OLB spot and finished with 47 tackles, 30 QB pressures (good for second on the team) and five sacks — four of which came over his last seven games.

This move wouldn't solve all of their problems and would presumably be for depth purposes, but we're told the Eagles have at least some level of interest in Neal.

-- Redskins free agent Rob Jackson is a name that makes some sense, but there is nothing cooking on that front at this point.

-- I have a strong sense that the Eagles would have been players for Jason Worilds if he had made it to free agency, but the Steelers used the transition tag to keep him off the market. Worilds went on to sign the tender and is scheduled to make north of $9 million in 2014.

We'll see how it all plays out, but it's clear that the Eagles will be actively seeking some outside linebacker help when the clock strikes 12.

 

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  • Max Lightfoot

    Sounds interesting – we can really use a big, versatile guy like this.

    • GEAGLE

      This is literally, the best case scenario for us….I’d be lying if I said I thought there was a great chance of it materializing but I sure as hell am hoping it does. he won’t be cheap, but coming off a down, 3 sack season I don’t think his price tag would be completely absurd…but signing this kid Or trading for Dion, IMO is probably the only thing close to as exciting as landing one of the major safeties…if we get this kid, Wow, just Wow!!

      • Max Lightfoot

        I agree. Using him as an OLB and turning him loose on 3rd-and-long would be just exciting as hail. JofreyRice had a good post yesterday that MJ should be added to the Eags’ wish list.

        • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

          Him and connor barwin would be an interesting OLB pair

          • Max Lightfoot

            They’d be a regular “swat” team

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            Yup.

        • GEAGLE

          He absolutely should. I mean he is Chips prototype for what he wants in an OLB. Honestly, I would have rather seen us land him then Orakpo or Worlids and it’s not even close in my eyes,,,Seriously, if the Eagles sign Micheal Johnson and TJ WARD, we are going to win a Super Bowl in the next two years, not just because we would have an insane lineup in place, but because adding Ward and Johnson give us the FLEXABILITY to literally do whatever the hell we please in the draft. We would still need another safety and another WR..but instead of that pure OLB like Marcus Smith pr attaboy! we could turn our attentions to OLB/ILB in C.Jones or KVN..add those two players and I’ll bow down to Howie every morning..with MJ and WARD, I would switch my draft attentions to:
          WR
          WR
          S
          CB
          G
          DL
          OT
          In no particular order. we could add Secondary depth, solidify our OL depth, add a nice piece to the DL, and another LB, and give Chip more weapons (skill positions)

          There is literally Nothing Howie could do more, then coming away with MJ and Ward

          • oreofestar

            If we get MJ and Ward I swear I would be too happy I mean at that point we would be so ridiculously loaded that we…. Oh I am salivating do not get my hopes up Geagle

          • GEAGLE

            Your hopes up? Lol how the F you think I feel, I been dying for an OLB and was convinced we couldn’t add a top one in FA because we had too much committed to Barwin!Cole,BG financially speaking…I don’t see how we could ever add him without getting one of those contracts off our pay role…MJ is really good player, like I would never want to see Cole on the field, so I feel like it would be easier to sit BG on the bench then disrespect Trent with such limited snaps..I know it’s a lot of dead money, but it eat Coles contract happily if it means adding someone like MJ….but if we have to draft our ROLB, then it’s not worth cutting Cole because we will need him to play the run while the rookie adds weight and gets stronger…

            I wouldn’t bet money on us adding a big name ROLB in FA, simply because of the money we have already tied up in it, but I will say that with the recent reports that we were high on Worlids, I have more hope then I did a week ago,,

            I wish I didn’t even read this report, and that we just announced this signing out of the blue at 4:01pm Tuesday, because this report is going to TURTURE my brain for the next few days,.,bad enough I’m sweating over the safeties and Carrington???this is the ultimate mind Flock! Kapadia might be doing this on purpose just to laugh at us..”Dance puppets dance, hahahahahahaha(sinister grin)”-S.kapadia

          • oreofestar

            Hopefully if they are going after Johnson it does not mean they are ignoring Safeties because that is a bigger need but if we somehow landed Ward and MJ (Which would be mind blowing) then yeah Cut Cole and June 1st him he would never see the field and there is no need to disrespect him

          • GEAGLE

            If they are willing to spend Worlids and MJ type money I don’t see why the wouldn’t wanna spen money on Ward,the biggest need at a position we have such little currently invested in

  • GEAGLE

    MJ in free agency, and Dion Jordan via trade are literally the best case scenarios for our ROLB of the future, I would be ecstatic if we signed MJ. LIke I said, I believe he should have never been a 4-3DE to begin with…MJ is practically the prototype for Chips ideal OLB

    • oreofestar

      For this too happen(which would make our defense ridiculously nasty!) I must ask how much do you think MJ and TJ are going to cost

      • GEAGLE

        Man, MJ is friggin hard to figure out. I mean he has the ability to be paid like an Orakpo, but he is coming off a 3 sack season which is terrible. I know they lost Gino. But he plays across Dunlap so it’s not like his agent can say, everyone was triple teaming his client because the other DE sucked….my guess would be we try to get him to a contract very similar to Barwin??Barwin had 11 sacks in 2011, 2012 he only had 4…That’s very similar to MJs situation…my guess is like 36m, like Barwin, we could get out of the contract after the first few years if he doesn’t perform up to par.

        Problem tho…His DC Mike Zimmer now coaches the Vikings, who’s DEs are both free agents: Jared Allen is gone. they didn’t Tag Everson Griffin and they aren’t negotiating with him to my knowledge…I could see Zimmer going after him hard, but I would love this kid, i would be so damn pumped

        • oreofestar

          Too bad I think he gets more than Barwin my original thought was he will get like 5 years $36

          • philliesfan136

            Remember , it’s supply and demand in free agency ….. it doesn’t only go by skill level. M. Johnson is the best edge rusher available this year, after Orakpo was tagged, and dumb ass Jason Worilds signed his tender before any teams had a chance to make him any offers. Not to mention that this is one weak free agent class, and that pumps the $$ numbers up too.

        • Cmeans66

          Barwin was explicitly told that he was going to drop in coverage more and let Trent Cole primarily pass rush. For how many true rushing downs he had, 4 sacks is pretty damn good

          • GEAGLE

            Jesus Christ…Barwin is one of my fav players, I’m not downplaying his game or talking bad, nvmd…ok

        • philliesfan136

          M. Johnson is a much better athlete than Conner Barwin , he will get at least 5 years $ 40 million and $ 20 million guaranteed. Should leave enough cap space to get T J Ward too. Ward should get at least 4 years $ 34 million and $ 14 million guaranteed.

    • Nfl All Day

      Cutting Trent nets you $1.8M, while freeing up a spot for Johnson to start. Next your talking about paying Johnson what, $6-9M in year one depending how the deal is structured? So btwn Johnson and Coles cap hit($4.8M), you have anywhere from $10M to $14M+ tied up in one of your 4 starting LBs? And still in need of 3 safeties, an OLB, a NT, 2 CBs,a QB, and a Guard?Of those, only one of the safeties MUST be a veteran FA. It’s appears doable.

      My fear is that this guy lessens the likelihood of us getting to top flight safety we all want. I’d love to see someone his stature out patrolling the right flank, but we’ve already discussed how imperative it is we land Ward or Byrd NOW. If it comes down to choosing between one of them and Johnson, I gotta go safety. But if Howie sees fit to blow out the budget…..FUGGIT, Lets Ball!

      • GEAGLE

        We either want a top safety or we don’t…I don’t think signing or not signing MJ has anything to do with if we go after Ward or not….I still can’t find any news about this MJ talk

  • Tom W

    Graham is good as gone. Not that it was a surprise

    • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

      graham and curry.. sadly… but we could get a decent pick for curry i think..

      • oreofestar

        I doubt highly that we trade Curry

        • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

          hes our best trade chip. in a deep draft.

          • oreofestar

            but I mean why? what would a team give up for him that would make you shop him, No team is going to give up a 2 and I would rather keep Curry than get MAYBE a 4th or 5th

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            He doesnt fit the defense. i def think a team will give up a 2nd. And i would def NOT trade him for a 4th or 5th and the eagles wouldnt either.

          • oreofestar

            My problem is that I doubt team is giving up a 2nd for Curry

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            He can rush the passer, not many options out there for pass rush. He is def worth a 2nd. esp for a 4-3 team.

  • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

    I been saying he is the most logical big money sign out of any player. He has the size and length that chips kellys creams his visor about… sorry about that visual

    • Max Lightfoot

      Please don’t take us there … hahahahaha

    • GEAGLE

      In that regard yes, but I found it to b a complicated LONGSHOT because Of all the money we already had invested in the position…if Howie signs this kid, and eats Coles dead money now, holy hell the Philadelphia eagles ain’t fa’in around..

      MJ and Ward would mean PURE BPA which would then mean, we will most likely hit on most if not all our draft picks and our roster would just become sick!!!

      • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

        what money invested in taht position? barwin? he got an average money, trent cole will be gone next year…

        • GEAGLE

          I mean, we have like what 16million committed in Barwin,Cole,BG this year, with a nice chunk of dead money associated with cutting Bg and Trent…I would think that it’s easier to invest monster money in a position like safety where if you were to cut Chung, you would only have 500k tied up in the position…I would think that’s a fair assumption, but I would ABSOLUTElY APPLAUD Howie if he identifies a chance at the ROLB of the future, and says it’s too good of an opportunity to pass, and eats that Cole contract now….it’s not a move banner and the last regime would have made…i would be so happy..

          I would much much rather have MJ then Orakpo or worlids

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            Yeah but pass rush trumps S. and what S? you will have to overpay a S, if a team over pays, they will overpay for pass rush. thats just how it is.

  • oreofestar

    This would be great if we miss out on Byrd or Ward but price worries me, and if they want to spend big on a player I think there are certain Buffalo and Cleveland players who would be better but still I think Johnson and Barwin would be dynamic, but what this shows is that if this report is true that the whole batting average thing is a misconception

    • GEAGLE

      It will be a Barwin type deal. Very very similar situations value wise. Barwin had 11 sacks, then 4 in his contract year..MJ had a good 2012, but only had 3 sacks last year….36million..but with some out clauses that make it.a much smaller deal if he isn’t who we thought he was..

      • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

        no it wont, it will be top dollar. barwin wasnt being looked at as both a OLB AND a DE…

        • GEAGLE

          36mil ain’t exactly chump change mate…what are you expecting like $45m? I just don’t know historically how many pass rushers got 45million dollar pay days coming off a 3 sack season…

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            you cant get caught up in the 3 sack season. that your problem. Mj has a lot of tools and is a legit pass rusher barwin had one good year with sacks but he isnt considered to be that good at pass rushing.

          • GEAGLE

            Dude, I don’t give a damn about the sacks,band trust me, I know all about his tools. I’m not trying to tell you I would be opposed to paying him 45mil, I’m just wondering about it from a negotiation point of view…I don’t care about the sack number, but you would think Howie would try and use that in the negotiations no? Don’t know why u r responding as if I’m against it…I’d happily pay more then 36, I just simply asked you what you think his price tag will be

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            if howie wants him he will have to bid against other teams.. like the vikings… something top dollar.. 5 years 50 million.. maybe 5 years 46?? idk… around there tho.. maybe u offer 3 years 33 million..

  • oreofestar

    Darren Sproles and Lance Moore were cut….wonder if we have interest in either

    • GEAGLE

      Sproles was cut? Holy crap…he would be so damn dangerous in Chips hands, filling a Brian Westbrook role for us

      • oreofestar

        Sproles was cut already and I am shocked they must have not got any trade offers, If we get the 4 players you said that would be really expensive but it would make us a top 5 team easily

        • GEAGLE

          Yeah I’m not sure they would be able to add all 4, but getting 3 would be amazing…I can’t see how anyone else could possibly have a better offseason then us if we could get. MJ,Ward,sproles

      • Token

        30 years old. You can get a fast toy in the draft.

        • GEAGLE

          No reason why we should scoff at a two year deal for Sproles..dudes isn’t some bruising back who takes a beating…we have shady so it would have to be a modest contract,, but if there isn’t a big market for him, I’d make an offer of backup dollars, why not?

    • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

      Sproles would be cool. bryce brown could be traded

      • GEAGLE

        Yup, MJ and Sproles would be an opportunity to try and get draft picks for Bryce and either BG or Cole(before deciding to cut them)

        • oreofestar

          So where would safety fit into all of thid

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            malcome jenkins… maybe donte Hitner…

          • oreofestar

            NO NO NO to Whitner and I would be disappointed if we do not get Byrd or Ward but Johnson would be decent consolation

          • GEAGLE

            Rather have Ward and MJ, before Sproles, but I’d take Sproles before Carrington

          • oreofestar

            Ward AND MJ will cost us like $15mil

          • GEAGLE

            Works for me

          • oreofestar

            hah! well they want to carry some over so in that case June 1st Cole and get rid of Chung and Casey

          • GEAGLE

            We could even just restructure a few guys, slash Chung and Casey’s salary and clear like an extra 4mil, which would be like getting both for like 11 which would be great

          • oreofestar

            If we can get both and maybe Carrington and somehow carry over 10mi -ish in space that would be GREAT!!!

          • GEAGLE

            Absolutely, but we still have to sign our draft picks

          • oreofestar

            We have 24.2mil now cut Chung, Casey and June 1st Cole and that is 33.4mil lets say Johnson and Ward cost $15m and we sign Carrington for IDK $1.2mil then we have a tad over $17mil and after draft picks we are dealing with 11-12mil of carryover

          • Maggie

            When you cut Chung and Casey and Maehl and Carmichael, etc., who are you replacing them with? And seeing that you plan on having more money to sign the big names, I presume the unknown replacements will play or free?

          • oreofestar

            Rookies, Chung will only be back at a reduced rate off the bench and Mahel and Carmichael can be replaced easily and they are on the roster bubble either way

          • philliesfan136

            If they bring back either Chung or Allen …… I can’t in good faith trust or watch this team. You cannot reward that type of terrible play. There HAS TO be a better standard set, to make it to the Super Bowl. Oh, that’s the GOLD STANDARD, right ?!

          • philliesfan136

            There is NO cap space issue with the Eagles signing TWO of these top tier guys. They have the room, and have more room available if they want to cut some guys, and offer some restructures. ( don’t usually restructure ) The only issues are, trying to convince the player to come to the Eagles, and convincing them that, yes, you can sign with the Raiders for $$$$$, but they will stink, for the next 5 years, and we ( the Eagles ) are going to the Super Bowl ! Example – the Vikings have approx. $40 million in cap space. The Jaguars and Browns have more ….. that’s hard to compete with, IF the player is just about the ca$h.

          • philliesfan136

            Try $ 17 – 18 million …… $ 9 – 10 for M. Johnson and $ 8 – 8.5 for T J Ward. This is a horrible free agent class this year, and there are only a few top tier free agents ( that are real impact players ) and Ward and Johnson are two of them. There will be anywhere from 5 to 7 teams bidding on both of them, and some of those teams ( Vikings, Colts, Browns, Jaguars and Raiders ) are LOADED with cap space. Unfortunately, there will be BLOOD …… this year, in free agency.

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            no shit.. lol

        • Mr. Wu

          we are not getting dookie for Cole I hate to say

          • oreofestar

            I might agree simply because after this season his price tag gets ugly

          • philliesfan136

            If they do sign M. Johnson from the Bengals, they WILL cut Trent Cole. They may , however be able to get ( maybe ) a 3rd rounder, at best ( probably a 4th ) for Brandon Graham though.

          • GEAGLE

            Damn it, I thought we were getting two first rounders for him

        • RIP illa

          That really doesn’t make any kind of sense. There are a handful of players that can be drafted that would be in the same mold of Spoles. Each and every year, those players exist in the draft and in lower rounds, which I’ll get to in a little bit.
          Granted I am biased towards Bryce, but you wanna trade our soon to be 23 year old backup RB and replace him with a soon to be 31 year old OW??? I fail to see how that’s a boon for us. Or how that benefits us for the future.
          I don’t even understand the trade Bryce logic at all. Polk may have a degenerative shoulder condition, Tucker couldn’t see the field last year (hope he can get better and fill in for Polk, cuz I liked his college reels). However realistically, we’re gonna trade our most talented back up for Shady, the back up with the most potential, for what??? It’s not like we’re gonna get a high value pick for him. Plus we’d end up having to just use a pick on another back anyway…most likely.
          We may end up drafting a back anyway, but I’d rather build on what we have than start taking away pieces.

          • GEAGLE

            I don’t want to trade Bryce at all…but I see it get thrown around a lot and I don’t know how we really feel about him…if you want to know my opinion it’s easy, I have a general rule that I have no interest in trading ANY young players before I see them with two seasons of continuity in the same scheme…so unless Bryce fits that criteria, no! I wouldn’t trade him but since it gets thrown around so much, if we have to trade him! I would prefer doing it when there is a potential replacement in sight….but if it were up to me, no we wouldn’t be trading Bryce this offseason…I just have no idea what we really think of him. Sometimes I think we like him, sometimes I’m not sure

    • Michael

      I would certainly have some interest in Sproles, especially if you could get something for Brown. Do it all kind of dude that I think would fit the mantra. His ST play would be a boon by itself – let alone him and Shady coming out of the backfield together. I would rather get a talented rookie than give snaps to Moore.

      • Nfl All Day

        Who’s dumping 22yr old Bryce with nothing but upside for a 30yr old Sproles, who admittedly put one of the final nails in our coffin this year, but damn. Can we please stop trying to dump every young player we have for not making the pro bowl in his first four seasons! MICROWAVE SOCIETY!

        • RIP illa

          Thank You.

        • Michael

          Wasn’t saying we should dump every young player nor did I make a linear timeline for guys to make pro bowls. I am not as sold on Brown as others. I don’t know if the coaching staff is either as it sure seemed like Polk was taking his snaps by the end of the year. If someone wanted to give us a draft pick this year I would certainly listen. I see us having a real shot in the next few years and think Sproles would be more valuable than Brown.

          • Nfl All Day

            My thing is that Bryce legitimately has, and I’m prepared to catch hell for saying this, BO Jackson ability. There, I said it. The show he put on I. The end of ’12 was amazing, with no offensive line. Then he dropped the ball…..

            Bryce’s biggest problem is Polk’s greatest strength, running north and south. Polk is a no nonsense, see the hole, one cut and haul ass runner, perfect style for Chip’s zone run scheme. Bryce is gifted with so much speed he thinks he can beat the defense around the corner everytime. That probably worked for him the last time he was a full time starter, in high school. But having played next to no college ball, he’s definitely missed a few steps in his development. Too often last season he seemed hesitant to go btwn the tackles. Part of that was the fear of being one fumble from rockin a Toronto Argonauts jersey, part bad habit. But ultimately, I love the stable of RBs we have. Should Shady go down it’ll be tough, but you know this kid has the talent to step in and hit homeruns. Add to that how cheap he and Polk are with the $12M Shady has coming next year, and I think it all works perfectly. I see the skillset you’re looking for in Sproles, but if you can grab DAT or Dri Archer late in the draft to give you that returner, screen game, occasional slot mismatch, I think it’s a better building block for sustained success.

          • NickS1

            I agree with everything you said, but I’d argue Shady isn’t seeing that 12mil next year. He’s a restructure/renegotiate candidate next season.

          • Michael

            I definitely see the physical similarities with the power and speed, but Bo just made everything look so easy. Plus, wasn’t football his “Hobby”, something to do when he wasn’t playing baseball? That 30 for 30 was one of my favorites. I just really would like to see our return game improved. Do you see DAT being the little jack of all trades kind of player and being successful at it? Don’t know much of Archer. I just really want someone who is at least a threat to take it to the house on ST because I don’t think anyone is scared of the guys we have now.

          • Nfl All Day

            True. And tho I don’t mind making Desean earn his money back there, I think a guy like DAT can have an impact in a limited role. Chip would probably love to put him to use the way they did at Oregon. All about the mismatch. 5 or more touches a game lined up all over the field, plus return duties. Sproles could certainly do the same things, cost is my concern there.

    • RIP illa

      How bout not posting the same question about the 2 on almost every thread for the past couple of days.

      EDIT: Along with including DAT

      • oreofestar

        you want to check my comments I posted it on one other thread and then decided to post it here because most people were not commenting on the other one, almost every thread on for the past couple of days is a lie when they were cut a mere couple hours ago and I only posted it one other time

        • RIP illa

          Coulda swore I saw this same type of post yesterday. If not by you then by someone else. So I apologize but stand by the fact that It’s rather tiring to keep hearing about Sproles and Moore. Thought we were trying to get better and build with young talent to grow for the future!!!

          • oreofestar

            I only mentioned them today because I thought we might have interest at the right price, I do not disagree with you though

  • oreofestar

    MJ is my number 3 target after Ward and Byrd and if we land him we got or OLBs for the next 4 years

  • Mr. Wu

    Sweet …more Dick jokes!

    If we sign MJ we need to draft Haha this way we can all our defense “The Miserable Pricks”

    • GEAGLE

      Touché,,,the wang gang continues

  • Mr. Wu

    Off topic, but is anyone else worried that we didn’t lock up Donnie Jones yet?

    • GEAGLE

      No worries…we didn’t lock him up cuz we can’t. He is Only allowed to sign an extension that pays him the veterans minimum before March 11, and he outperformed that significantly…we have a deal with him. We just need to wait til the start of free agency to announce it. Really don’t think you have to worry about him at all

      • Mr. Wu

        did not know this….well that is comforting

        • GEAGLE

          Yeah some weirdo rule, something like because he was signed to the veterans minimum, he can only be extended to the veterans minimum before the start of free agency, but we are allowed to negotiate with our own guys and Chip and Howie know how clutch he was, I find it hard to envision us not already having a deal worked out with him, and are just waiting to make it official..,.I don’t get the reasoning behind the rule, like what’s the point?

          • G_WallyHunter

            You better be right Geagle or ill send my damn polar bears and killer meese after you, we need Donnie back, he made the special teams look 10x better than they were, guy is CLUTCH

          • GEAGLE

            Well I’m def right about the rule, even if I don’t understand it….I am pretty sure Howie and Chip know what an amazing weapon he has in outdoor December/january football.
            ..
            Let’s just hope this is where he wants to bel and he is happy signing our ofer without seeing what’s out there for him,..I’m assuming one of those wink wink deals where technically he becomes a FA on March 11, but he never actually becomes a free agent because we are just waiting to make the deal official…..

          • G_WallyHunter

            Ya I meant about deal in place not the rule, I think you’re right, any interviews that were shown with him you could see that he wanted to be back and that he liked what was going on here, lets hope he values that more than a couple extra bucks

    • Cmeans66

      No. It’s in his contract that he can’t negotiate contracts with any team until the official opening of free agency. They’ve probably already got a deal that’s mutual, expect it announced first thing March 11th.

      • GEAGLE

        No..he can only sign an extension worth the veteran minimum right now…but he way out performed that so we are waiting til the 11th to make his deal official..I’m shocked if This wasn’t the case

  • Token

    Still dont quite see it. We need a pass rusher and Im not sold that MJ is that guy. I could give a damn if he can drop back. He will be doing it 10% of the time. The worry should be that this guy has 26 sacks in 5 seasons rushing the passer exclusively. Love his size, but would be worried about shelling out big money on a unproven rusher. We dont need another Barwin across from Barwin.

    However, this supposed interest in now 2 FA OLBs signals to me that they dont care much for the top of the draft pass rushers. So what the hell. Hopefully Chip and Davis see something. Anyone have a link to good tape of him to get me excited?

    This should in no way stop them from getting Byrd. They could afford both. Coming away with a MJ instead of a player the caliber of Byrd is a loss IMO. If they were to fill one of those spots with a rook, the OLBs in the 1st round are much better prospects than the safeties.

    Does it worry anyone else that we would have both of our OLBs being better run defenders than pass rushers? It should.

    • oreofestar

      I have no problem with MJ for the right price but Ward and Byrd are the top priorities

      • Token

        I am curious what his range would be. You dont pay top dollar for OLBs that stop the run. You pay them to get to the QB. This is a guy with very good DL talent around him in a contract year that just didnt get it done very often. Most Bengal fans dont seem to care if hes gone.

        • oreofestar

          I think around 7 but knowing all the jackass teams he will surely be overpaid

          • eaglesfanqc

            If Ware is cut, I rather have him than MJ.. I just don’t want an other OLB (pass rusher) who will get top dollars and was a 4-3 DE (and an unproven NFL OLB) last year.

        • philliesfan136

          You can only do what your capable of doing within the scheme of the team your playing on. You also have to factor in what his assignments were, within the Bengals scheme last year. Remember, he had 11.5 sacks the year before, so you KNOW he is capable. You can only project ( as a GM ) what you think he can do ( within ) your team, given his athletic ability and his perceived skill set.

          • Token

            You think as a DE in that scheme he wasnt rushing the passer? I mean, come on.

            Connor Barwin had a big sack year too. Is he a good pass rusher?

    • GEAGLE

      He had 61 QB hurries and 9 batted passed last year.

  • Scott J

    So why is Cincinnati letting this guy get away?

    • Sauce

      ’cause they got Margus Hunt who can have more than 3 sack next year… MJ is overated because of his physical, never been a real troublemaker in the backfield

      • GEAGLE

        I HATE that Margus isn’t an Eagle.,,it bothers me still

    • oreofestar

      They have Peko, Dunlap and Atkins they are stacked on the line so why pay big for Johnson

    • Token

      They have better players. If there was ever a B player thats about to be paid like an A player, it seems like MJ is that guy.

      Really good player vs the run. Its hard to say as a pass rusher. Worked with good DL talent around him. Very few sacks in his career. Think he had some hurries and batted balls this year tho so I dont know how you factor that in.

      You would be getting a huge frame thats good against the run. And I guess just hoping he can get better as a pass rusher, at 27, at a new position. Seems like a stretch to me.

      But as far as FA OLBs hes probably the least bummy. Which is why Id prefer to address it in the draft. But if they were to sign MJ, they must not like this OLB class at the top end.

      • GEAGLE

        Lol you sound pretty silly right now… Dude has 61 friggin QB hurries, 9 batted passes in a down 3 sack year..sounds pretty average huh? That’s right, I forgot, hall of fame or bust

        • Token

          Yea I know. Its a tough call. It wasnt really a down year. It was his typical year. 11 sacks was his atypical year. Wasnt a big sack guy in college either. Its exactly like Connor Barwin. I think he was like 5th ranked against the run, which is quite good. But again, I care about his rush ability.

          9 batted passes is impressive, but its always a stat I look at funny. It basically means you got stopped in your rush and put your hands up. And at 7’3 id expect some batted passes. But it is killing the play so I dont wanna fully shoot it down. It gets the job done.

          Bengals fans mostly seem to think hes not that dangerous of a pass rusher. Seem to want to keep him only if its not a expensive contract. I tend to listen to people who watch him weekly over just going by his size and combine numbers.

          If they sign him though Id be intrigued. I mean he does have great size and athleticism. And hes atleast at the top of the NFL in one category. Its certainly a better option then giving up something for Dion friggin Jordan.

    • Joe L

      They already have a decent amount of money invested in the d-line, and they drafted that enormous defensive end from SMU last year.

  • Nfl All Day

    Out of curiosity TMac, where did this story come from?

    • UKEagle99

      You don’t really expect to get an answer on that do you?

      • Nfl All Day

        Something general. Howies, barbers, dentist, said. …

    • GEAGLE

      I can’t find any news on this front

  • Jerry Pomroy

    I think the Eagles interest here in MJ stems from what I’ve been saying the past month. At pick #22, you’re really grasping at straws in hoping that top tier OLB falls to you. But you’re also about 15-20 picks too high to select any of the second tier of guys. Pick #54 may very well be too late. So again your grasping at straws in hoping to have one of the second tier guys fall to you. I think the Eagles realize this and don’t want to go into ’14 without a guy they feel will be an impact at the ROLB spot. Add in signing a safety and of course fill a few depth needs and they truly can go BPA all draft long with no worries about holes. I think they view the OLB spot to be where they want the most impact & are willing to settle on improving the safety position with a mid tier guy like Jenkins & maybe a restructured Chung & a possible re-sign of Allen or signing someone in that caliber player.

    • cliff henny

      solid theory. upgrade is an upgrade, right. Cole really is only a 1-yr stop gap at this point. sign a guy to be 2-yr stop-gap and take a 2nd or 3rd rd project, while improving roster and not leveraging cap, win-win.

      • GEAGLE

        If we could get MJ to a 3yr deal it would be huge..then again, I’m sure Howie can easily draw up a nice sexy 5years mirage of a contract that is really just a 3yr deal

      • Jerry Pomroy

        In getting a guy like MJ, they’ve improved their versatility to possibly even flip-flop he and Barwin here and there. I do think if they talk to him they need to be concise in their plans for him when throwing a number at him. If they want him to primarily be their ROLB, the cost goes up. But as Geagle was stating, his numbers are eerily similar to Barwin’s last yr. So Barwin’s deal is probably your lower end of your target number. With him playing the right side it should come in a bit higher than Barwin. If they say we’re gonna move fwd with you and Barwin not really being pegged into R or L side, well than I think you’re closer to Barwin’s deal.

        I think this does come down to a bit of does he want money or play for a team on the rise in a position that gives him more opportunity to produce. The Bengals have been a borderline team for the past few years. If it’s money the Vikes have a lot more to spend & based on them letting their DEs test the market, they may be willing to overpay for his services.

  • GEAGLE

    In a few hours Howie can start working the phones!! O happy day!!!

    • NickS1

      We all needed this day. I still wish it were Tuesday, but today at least gets us addicts a little fix.

      • GEAGLE

        Right!!!! Tho it sucks to be a fan of a well run team that doesn’t leak real intel…but sometimes a juicy rumor is better then silence

    • cliff henny

      wonder how it really works. tough time believing the first time Howie and top FA with his counsel sit down to talk is today.

      • GEAGLE

        Of course Not silly….the friggin combine is KNOWN as “legal tampering season”, the owners meeting…every time all the teams gather its basically a giant tampering convention

  • cliff henny

    Work it Howie! Let leak interests in Worilds, this is just more misdirection for the other 31 GMs. Waving his left hand, look over here, while his right hand is shoving millions into Ward or Byrd’s back pocket. Or, at least I hope.
    .
    Isn’t out of the question that Eagles’ could sign upper-mid level OLB to take over for Cole instead of vet back-up to Cole and still get Ward or Byrd. Have to June 1st cole, clears 5m in ’14 and 8m in ’15, should pay for most of upgrade. plenty of options, but until I see Byrd or Ward come off FA list with a 10+m/yr contract, difficult to accept why Eagles wouldn’t be targeting 1 of them

    • NickS1

      Yeah, I def think they have do something with Cole if they were seriously trying to add MJ.

      • cliff henny

        think there’s little doubt. not only Eagles cap side, but FA is going to want lane cleared for playing time. and i’m still taking an OLB, cause they take 2 or 3 yrs to fully groom. if we learned anything by watching 400 miles to the West, can never have too many when running 3-4

        • NickS1

          True story.

        • GEAGLE

          Yes we would still need to draft and start devoting a young OLB…but we could also get away with a Christian Jones type who will log snaps both inside and out, and then go draft our traditional OLB in 15..just more options

          We need help at backup ILB and OLB, so a hybrid like Jones/KVN who can play both would free up a draft pick to add depth in the trenches or secondary

          • Jerry Pomroy

            /
            /
            This

            Oh and for anyone interested in a kid that’s a freak who may come out in ’15 take a look at the kid from Nebraska. Name has escaped me at the moment, but I remember looking at him last yr and saying he looks like he’ll be scary in a couple years.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          Heck, add a zero to that 400 miles and look at niners. Willis, Bowman, Smith, etc. That’s just 3 high quality players all from the LB spot. That’s where you stack up in 34 D.

          Speaking of…once again I’m reminded just with those two teams that safety is where it’s at in the secondary in 3-4 it seems to be successful defense. I’ve had many argue this point with me, but you cannot tell me that PIT & 49ers safeties have NOT been lesser players than their CBs. There has to be something to that.

    • GEAGLE

      If the eagles are willing to spend big on MJ, I don’t see how they could possibly not want to spend on Byrd ward

      • cliff henny

        there’s definitely enough money to sign MJ, Ward, vet DL, vet Cb, and vet OL, if Cole is released. why a properly managed cap is so important. Howie keeps on rolling drafts like last 2, keeps cap in-line so Eagles have ultimate flexibility, and starting May 15th stays the F out of Kelly’s way…it’s not of matter ‘if’, but ‘when/how many’ Lombardys Kelly wins.

        • GEAGLE

          Your telling me we could have Ward,MJ,Carrington,Donnie Jones,a backup OG, sign our draft picks an still be able to extend Ced!Mykal!Boyking,Rainmaker,Cox? Is Barry Finkle understanding you right?

          • cliff henny

            plus, go after FA’s in ’15, yeah. this is why Dallas claiming cap increases helps them most, it doesn’t. it’s like 2 software companies on the verge of a boom, neither has done anything special except being in correct industry, 1 takes new found money and invest heavily in R&D, while 2nd is busy paying off all it’s back debt. 2nd will be left in the dust.

          • GEAGLE

            Lol Howie is NOT going to like you putting ideas in our heads like thisll

          • cliff henny

            i’ll bet by time this off-season shakes out, Eagles will still have 10m to roll over. with all bloated contracts, ’15 will be right up against 133m, before the clearing-and there’s plenty to be cleared even if Cole is released this off-season. plus, have cap increase another 10+m. there’s no reason to think today that Eagles cant do what we’ve discussed this above, sign any ’12 draft pick extension they want to, resign Maclin if he warrants, and have some left over to hit FA. while Dallas is treading water for 3rd or 4th off-season in a row.

          • GEAGLE

            Lol teams and other fanbase are going to start to despise us….Since LaConfora released that horrible report,about Howie, it’s like Rosman flipped the switch and is putting on a clinic…if he really improves us with this free agent market, and we have another re draft like last year…..watch out

          • cliff henny

            for absolutely no good reason besides being a homer, I think ’14 draft is going to be ridiculous by end of ’15/beginning of ’16. it’s like the birds moon and stars have aligned for Kelly…need versatile slot wr-about 8 of them…need OLB freak athlete can be project-plenty in rds 1, 2 or 3. after signing Ward, need 3rd safety to push Wolff, take Bucannon bailey or Reynolds. need to find ILB to work in with Ryans take over in yr-KVN C Smith or even Barrow little later. need to look for Celeks replacement-have fied-whatever out of Iowa, Georgia kid and lyerla. still can take cb and ol somewhere in here.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            That’s kind of what I’ve been getting a sense of. That being for us to start making the necessary plans/moves now to enable us to be stockpiling talent while the likes of the Cowboys & the rest of the division are still reeling from recent yrs mistakes/setbacks. Because then when the increases in cap keeps rolling over we’ll still be in good shape to be players in the market. Smart players, but only because we’ve added that talent while the numbers were lower and players were somewhat cheaper.

          • G_WallyHunter

            Do it…. DOOOO ITTT

          • Tom W

            Flapping wings!

        • NickS1

          Yeah it really depends the type deals your talking about. Not impossible, but in order to have the ability to pay the 2012 class next year and do all that, the ‘Seans need to be restructured, Cole (you noted) has to go, CW has to go, Meco has to restructure or be released. And I’m taking into consideration that the cap’s gonna go up to 145-150 next year.

          • cliff henny

            there’s going to be some natural attrition clearing of roster. don’t forget d-jax will be reduced 4m at some point, or more if released, which I don’t want. herremanns is 4m, celek is 5m, casey 4m chung is 4m against in ’15. have cole’s and grahams money too. think ’15 will be more of a turnover to create cap than we’ve seen, which is fine. nfl is not a tenured job, unless you play for the Cowboys.
            .
            as I said below, i’ll bet Eagles carry over 10m, sign contracts so ’15 starts right at max cap in ’14, then have found money increase added to some cuts. Howie might not know a safety from a hole in the wall, but he’s got this cap ‘ish covered

          • NickS1

            Okay that’s fair. I propose one possible caveat, though. While I agree that something happens with Cole/Celek/Herremans, I’m not certain Howie’s view hasn’t changed some to try to have more guys retire here, and those three are definitely candidates as guys who’ve played here their entire career. Chung should be cut yesterday, but I’m okay if he’s here strictly to recruit Byrd/Ward. Brandon Graham is another 3.2 that won’t be there. So yeah it definitely makes a little more sense now that I went back and looked, I’m just really curious how Howie wants to handle Celek/Cole/Herremans. When he extended Peters, it really seemed like he appreciated the nostalgia of some of our fan favorites (Peters) and lifers (other 3). Plus, Kelly loves him some Brent Celek.

          • cliff henny

            Peters got extended because he’s a freak of nature. you or I would still be in wheel-chair if we twice busted our Achilles and 325lb. i’m not all that sure about the retirement part, but do agree that we don’t have to ‘Logan Run’ every guy closing in on 30. just make sure they are under proper contracts, and playing time/depth/roles. should be making plan to move on from Celek in this draft.

          • NickS1

            I understand there’s a difference between Peters and the others mentioned. Just noting what seems to be a slight shift in thinking on Howie’s/Jeff’s part. Obviously, from my couch, I think all three can go, but I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s a restructure for one or two to extend and likely retire. That’s all I’m saying.

          • Tom W

            Think we saw that w avant vs peters. Peters is still an allpro whereas avant was adding nothing great. Could soon say cole and graham Chung in avants boat and Todd celek or meco or Cary next yr/2016

            Keeping cap advantage is also strengthened by stacking rookie contracts opposite vet contracts so once one rookie deal is expiring say lane Johnson, it’s time to move on from peters. That’s why it’s imperative we get a rookie edge rusher and ilb in draft to groom to offset Kendricks new contract next yr … Could say same w corner and wr if we wanna resign maclin or fletch next yr. one thing i was thinking about is if we are able to start two rookies we draft this year in their second yrs at corner, guard, ilb, olb safety or wr, then w natural attrition of older pkayer being cut, foles pays for itself … Especialy if it’s a corner and wr or edge rusher bc they cost more

          • NickS1

            Avant was also the 4th receiver, so it’s not exactly the same, but I get your point. As I said to Cliff, I just don’t think it’s as cut and dry as we think when we look at the cap from our couches. Might be in one, two, or all three cases. Might see one or two restructures to have a high priced, serviceable back up who retires here. Just a though, that’s all.

          • Tom W

            To be fair avant was the third wr last yr and played 75 percent of snaps. I understand that Cary celek meco herramins cole may suprise us this yr and hold off Father Time one more year but within 1-3 yrs they are all most likely off roster or making seriously less via natural attrition. Can’t hold onto to replaceable talent when cheaper younger replacement is in tow on roster W cap increases, natural attrition foles contract shouldn’t be an issue even if we add two studs in free agency.

  • Jeff Asay

    Jacked up today! Over @NFL.com they listed some interesting free agents. What do u think about Golden Tate? Walter Thurmond? Geoff Schwartz? Andre Roberts? All four listed as free agent best bargains. Sounds like Howie guys to me.

    • GEAGLE

      We will definitely sign Golden Tate, maybe Decker and Emmanuel sanders also, we would have:
      Tate
      Decker
      Sanders
      Desean
      Maclin
      Coop
      Mike Evans

      Ain’t no stopping us now!!! Madden 2014 Super Bowl champs here we come :)

      • cliff henny

        know you are kidding….but Mike Evans…GD-IT I NEED HIM IN EAGLES GREEN!!!!! i’ll settle for Beckham

        • GEAGLE

          Find a way to get me Evans and I won’t mention defense for an entire calendar year :)

          • NickS1

            I smell a challenge. You can’t do it.

          • GEAGLE

            Barry Finkle approves this message

          • cliff henny

            Evans for 6 months in county jail….can I pick the county? Bucks would be nice.

          • NickS1

            From my understanding, Bucks shouldn’t be the first choice. Rather go somewhere middle of the state.

          • cliff henny

            have to get him to Philly. if i’m leading a Smokey and the Bandit type car chase thru 10 states, I want to get Evans to Philly. i’ll slow down and push Evans out, and get out of center city. not going to Wilmington, chester or across river to Trenton. try to get to Doylestown.

          • NickS1

            Haha if you made it through 10 states you can get a couple more counties out. Stay out of Berks and Lehigh as well. Get to Columbia or some podunk county. You can do it.

          • Maggie

            You’ve been watching Nascar, haven’t you! Mobil advertising. ;~D

    • pjcostello

      Thurmond’s the only guy in whom the Eagles would have interest, in my opinion. Tate and Roberts think they’re starting WRs, and they may be — but not on this team. Schwartz would have to beat out Herremans, and I don’t see him as that kind of talent. Moreover, he’d also command starting money, which we wouldn’t give him.

    • Maggie

      A month ago I brought up Tate as a possibility. Of course someone on this board told me I was stupid, because of my gender, but Tate would be great. Hey that rhymes! Go watch him on Youtube. fights for the ball, plays in the slot, lays a mean lick on defenders and returns kicks. Of course his hand may be weighed down a little sometimes by his Super Bowl ring. I live near Seattle so see more of their games. Can’t speak to the others, sorry. Price could be a little steep, but outside of the FO, who knows?

  • PaoliBulldog

    Rafael Bush, safety. $1.3M UDFA tender by Saints, who are trying to create cap room for Jimmy Graham. He’s 5-11, 207, age 27, played really well when Vaccaro broke his ankle last year. Eagles wouldn’t have to surrender a draft pick if they signed him. Looks to me like exactly the kind of player Howie is searching for: young, talented but not cost prohibitive.

  • Maggie

    Leave the site for several hours, come back to read about Michael Johnson, and fins over 100 comments about byrdward. In spite of knowing they are both under 6 feet and do NOT play the same, one of them allegedly does not fit the current defensive scheme, yet byrdward, byrdward, byrdward. Really.