Eagles Wake-Up Call: Free Agency Buzz
We start today off with a roundup of the latest league-wide news that affects the Eagles.
In a somewhat surprising move, Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds has already signed his transition tag offer. That means other teams can no longer attempt to lure him away.
With Brian Orakpo franchised, Worilds figured to be a hot commodity. And according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, the Eagles would have had interest:
Jason Worilds has signed his transition tag w/PIT worth $9.75M. No offer sheets can come now. He was a primary target for the Eagles …
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 4, 2014
If the report is true, it’s noteworthy. The Eagles have maintained that they’re not looking to make a major splash in free agency, instead opting for mid-tier options. But targeting Worilds would have run counter to that.
As always, take everything with a grain of salt this time of year. The truth will emerge next week.
Jairus Byrd spent his Tuesday at ESPN. He briefly discussed the possibility of playing for the Eagles during a morning SportsCenter segment. Byrd later spent time with Brian Dawkins, who apparently is a fan:
— Brian Dawkins (@BrianDawkins) March 5, 2014
T.J. Ward’s agent, meanwhile, released a statement about where things stand with his client:
“T.J. has proven himself to be not only an elite NFL safety, but an elite and top NFL player league wide which is evidenced by him earning both All Pro and Pro Bowl recognition this past season. With the passing of the franchise/transition tag deadline, we remain open to further discussions with the Browns in working towards a long-term deal and look forward to that possibility. However, if things don’t work out in Cleveland, we likewise look forward to the opportunity that can coincide with becoming an unrestricted free agent. Several factors will be considered before making a final decision that will provide best for T.J. and his family.”
Don’t forget that the Browns under Mike Pettine could let Ward walk and instead try to sign Byrd.
And finally, a new free agent Pro Bowl (2011) cornerback has emerged. The NFL has reinstated Brandon Browner.
The 6-4, 221-pounder was suspended last season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The details of his reinstatement are not immediately known.
The feeling here is that the Eagles are unlikely to go after a big-name free-agent cornerback, but Browner’s size will intrigue plenty of teams, especially on the heels of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl win.
WHAT YOU MISSED
The Eagles announced that they’ve released Jason Avant.
Byrd says the Eagles are headed in the right direction.
Louis Riddick thinks the Eagles are pulling away from the division.
“We don’t want to force anything,” says Roseman.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz offers his thoughts on Byrd:
Byrd isn’t a hesitant tackler. He does generally wrap-up his targets. The problem is that he’s not forceful. To put it in football terms, he runs to the target and not through the target. He will miss some occasional tackles in space. Byrd isn’t the most active run defender on inside runs. He generally stays back to see if the RB leaks out.
Great piece here by the Daily News’ Marcus Hayes from 2011 on Avant’s path to the NFL:
He recalled a night in Chicago when he stood across the street from a known thug, who pulled a gun out of a brown Carhartt barn coat. Avant stood 30 feet away, under a streetlight. Somehow, the hood never noticed Avant and instead fired down the darkened street. “He could have hit me, easy, if he’d seen me,” Avant said. “I should be dead.”
We’ll post our free agency safety rankings.