Eagle Eye: Getting Past Darrelle Revis

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

During the 2014 regular season, the Jets snatched six interceptions. Through two games this year, they already have four.

The biggest difference in their secondary? Bringing back All-Pro corner Darrelle Revis in the offseason.

From Tampa Bay to New England, and now back to New York, Revis has made a living shutting down opponents’ top wide receivers. He’s picked up 24 interceptions through 58 career games, and his return to the Jets’ secondary has made it one of the most formidable units in the league.

“He basically has all the qualities and attributes that you’d want in a corner,” Miles Austin said, “or in any player.”

What, exactly, are those attributes? We talked to Austin, Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor to find out. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Seahawks/Pats Free Agents

Courtesy of USA Today

Courtesy of USA Today

No, Malcolm Butler is not available.

The undrafted rookie corner out of West Alabama has two years left on his deal. And considering he won’t ever pay for a drink in the New England area again after snaring a Super-Bowl clinching interception Sunday, why would he ever leave?

There are some noteworthy players from both the Patriots and Seahawks that are scheduled to hit free agency, though. Here are a handful to keep in mind as the Eagles and the rest of the NFL tries to catch up to the champs:
Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: What Will the Big Move Be?

Photo Courtesy of USA Today

Photo Courtesy of USA Today

Today’s question comes from Wiztopher in the comments section:

What is the biggest personnel move the Eagles execute this offseason? We know the franchise has migrated away from the “all-in” mentality of the Dream Team days, but one thing is obvious, change, whether big or small, is coming and especially so with all that juicy cap space. Read more »

Notes: Maclin Holds His Own Against Revis

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

FOXBORO — Following Friday night’s game in Chicago, Jeremy Maclin was asked for his thoughts on squaring off against Darrelle Revis this week.

“He’s one of the best. One of the best to ever play,” he said. “I’m excited about that. Another opportunity to get better, another opportunity to go up against one of the best, and I think I’m ready for it.”

Maclin got more than his fair share of work against the five-time Pro Bowler during Tuesday’s joint session with the Patriots on the practice fields just outside Gillette Stadium, and acquitted himself fairly well. Read more »

Tuesday Open Thread: Free Agency Begins

Free agency officially opens at 4 p.m. today. We’ll keep you up to date with the latest buzz (and there is a lot of it) as we wait for the starting gun.

8:56: According to Jason La Canfora, TJ Ward is drawing “strong interest” from the Eagles and Lions. Ward is largely considered one of the top safety free agents in this class and will likely be paid quite handsomely. Howie Roseman said that if you are going to hand over big money to a player in free agency, “that person has to be a special person on and off the field.” We’ll see if Ward qualifies.

Around noon Monday, we were told that the Eagles weren’t in on the Ward sweepstakes. Read more »

Twitter Mailbag: On Revis, Foles And the No. 4 Pick

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

From @turkdaddydollar: if foles is the guy why bring back Vick n have him fight for his job? Whose call was that to bring Vick back?

There are a couple important things to keep in mind here. For one, we don’t know that Nick Foles is the guy. Chip Kelly doesn’t know if he is the guy. The most we can say is that the Eagles seem partial to keeping Foles around until they have a better feel for just how good he can be.

Why bring Michael Vick back? Think about it from Chip Kelly‘s perspective: What does he have if Vick is cut loose? Foles, who is still an unknown. Dennis Dixon, a reserve/ practice squad player. The free-agent market is bare, the draft is not ripe with sure-fire QB studs (and even if you think you’ve identified one, there is no guarantee that you land him) and the trade market is both unpredictable and costly (see the Alex Smith trade).

There is no perfect solution this year. So you pay Vick roughly $7 million for one year. Add that plus Foles’ $500,000 salary together, and you’re spending less for a pair of quarterbacks than Andy Reid is for one. Committing $7.5 million to the quarterback position really isn’t all that much.

Kelly doesn’t have the answers yet. He’s just giving himself options.

From @xplrer99: how serious a look will the #eagles give Brandon Boykin at a starting corner job? If he were to start how does it effect draft?

The sense I get is that Kelly prefers big corners, so ideally he wouldn’t have the 5-9 Boykin on the outside. But, like the quarterback position, sometimes you have to do the best with what you’ve got in the short term. It seems very conceivable at this point that both Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will be elsewhere next season, leaving both starting corner spots vacant. Resources will almost certainly be spent both in free agency and the draft to try and build this key position back up.

Talking with Boykin at the end of last season, he made it clear that his goal is to become a starter on the outside. He did it at Georgia, and believes he can do it on the professional level as well. I would imagine the preference is to keep him in the slot, where he was generally effective as a rookie, but there is opportunity amid all this uncertainty.

The 22-year-old did play a bit on the outside last season and seemed to hold his own.

From@ChefGriot: which player in the draft appears to be a perfect fit for 3-4 defense at 4th pick.

You can make a case for Utah DT Star Lotulelei, assuming everything checks out with him medically. Florida D-lineman Sharrif Floyd is intriguing as well, though some believe he is better suited for a 4-3 scheme rather than a 3-4.

Right now I would say Dion Jordan. Mike Mayock  compared Jordan to Aldon Smith and believes in two years, “He’s going to be one of the major disruptive forces in the NFL.”

Even if that’s a little over the moon, it’s hard not to be intrigued by his size (6-6, 248), speed (4.60 40) and potential. The former Oregon standout has obvious ties to Kelly, and could be a nice solution for one of the outside linebacker roles.

From @BillyDavis1247: what are the chances the eagles try to trade for revis?

No harm in placing a phone call or two, right? If one of the game’s best players is on the market, you at least check into it. And it’s definitely at a need position. Here’s the thing, though: Darrelle Revis is in the final year of his contract, which will pay him a very doable $6 million in 2013. Then he’s a free agent. (There is apparently a clause in his current contract that does not allow the use of the franchise tag on him.) Does it make sense for the Eagles to cough up a bunch of draft picks to get a rental for what is largely considered a rebuilding year? If you really think it will give you an inside track into negotiating a new deal (or if an extension is part of the trade agreement) then I get it. Otherwise, I don’t think it makes a ton of sense.

There are other concerns: The 27-year-old tore his ACL in September, and is expecting to be paid very well for his services beyond 2013. You do your due diligence, but all things considered I don’t expect Revis to end up here.