Eagles Watching Tag Game Closely

There have been some moves (and non-moves) around the league in recent days that could have an impact on the Eagles’ offseason plans.

Teams have until Monday to use the franchise tag. So far, five clubs have opted to do so:

Bengals — DE Michael Johnson
Bears – DT Henry Melton
Broncos – OT Ryan Clady
Bills – S Jairus Byrd
Colts – P Pat McAfee

With the Bengals’ tag going to Johnson,  right tackle Andre Smith remains unprotected.  The 6-4, 332-pounder was the fourth-highest rated tackle in the game last season, according to Pro Football Focus. He was selected sixth overall back in 2009 out of Alabama. Jeff Stoutland did not join the Tide until 2011 so their paths would not have crossed, but surely the O-line coach could call his former boss, Nick Saban, to get the lowdown.

Smith is reportedly seeking a contract that will pay him $9 million a year. Then again, so am I.

Similarly, the Bills’ decision to tag Byrd means 6-2, 306-pound guard Andy Levitre will become a free agent assuming he doesn’t strike a deal with Buffalo prior to March 12. A 2009 second-round pick out of Oregon State, Levitre was PFF’s ninth-rated guard in 2012, yielding one sack.

Both Smith and Levitre are 26.

Age could be a factor in Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman‘s thinking when it comes to free agency this year. They are looking big picture, and may not want to allocate resources to players who are entering the twilight of their careers.

Also of note:

— Atlanta released John Abraham, Dunta Robinson and Michael Turner. These moves should help the Falcons in their effort to re-sign some of their own free agents to-be, including safety William Moore and cornerback Brent Grimes.

— The Cardinals released 28-year-old cornerback William Gay, formerly of the Steelers, as well as linebacker Stewart Bradley.

— The Titans are expected to use the tag on tight end Jared Cook.

— The Niners reportedly will not tag safety Dashon Goldson. The 28-year-old has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons, coming up with nine picks and 20 passes defensed in that time. Billy Davis mentioned the Niners’ physicality when talking about the kind of defense he would like to bring to Philadelphia. Former San Francisco personnel man Tom Gamble now works for the Eagles.

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