Eagles Wake-Up Call: Free Agency (Officially) Begins
Given the flurry of activity the past three days, in many ways it feels like we’re already in the middle of the free agency period.
But as the Eagles were reminded when Frank Gore changed course, the start of the new league year doesn’t officially start until today at 4 p.m. That’s when the LeSean McCoy trade and the Byron Maxwell signing can be finalized.
The Eagles have already filled some holes. Brandon Graham is coming back to start at LOLB. And the Mark Sanchez signing makes it unnecessary for them to add another QB.
Barring something totally unforeseen, Maxwell gives them a starting cornerback. And Kiko Alonso fills a need at inside linebacker.
But there’s still quite a bit of work to be done. Up front, the Eagles need to find a right guard. Some are talking themselves into Matt Tobin or Andrew Gardner. But the feeling here is that would be a mistake. My guess is the starting right guard’s not currently on the roster. A couple guys like Stefen Wisniewski and Clint Boling are still on the market.
With the departure of McCoy and Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles need running back and wide receiver help too. C.J. Spiller and Ryan Mathews are still out there. Chip Kelly will likely address the backfield in the draft, but given the team’s interest in Gore, it seems like the Birds will likely add a veteran.
At wide receiver, Torrey Smith has been linked to the 49ers, although no agreement has been reported. And Andre Johnson is on the market now as well.
On the defensive side of the ball, it’s simple: cornerback and safety. The Eagles need to find someone to pair with Maxwell. Tramon Williams and Davon House are available. A bit down the list are Jacksonville’s Alan Ball and Oregon product Walter Thurmond.
Quality safety play is tough to find. The Eagles weren’t able to land Devin McCourty. Perhaps they’ll now turn their attention to Rahim Moore or Marcus Gilchrist, both of whom are still without homes.
And depending on how the market plays out, a trade or two would surprise no one. Kelly has financial flexibility and is calling the shots.
It’s clear he’s shaping the roster to his vision, and the moves of the next couple weeks should lend more insight into what that vision is.
WHAT YOU MISSED
A recap of Monday’s news and rumors in our free agency thread.
It sounds like Gore is headed to the Colts.
T-Mac with the scoop on Graham’s return.
A look at the national media’s reaction to the Eagles’ weekend moves. Peter King expects the Maxwell signing to be a disappointing one.
Tim ponders if the Eagles have improved with their offseason moves thus far.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Bob Ford of the Inquirer makes a case for Nick Foles in 2015:
After three seasons in the league, Foles has played in 28 games, with a quarterback rating of 94.2, a completion percentage of 61.6, and has 46 touchdowns to go with 17 interceptions. After Tom Brady’s first three seasons in the NFL, he had played in 32 games, with a quarterback rating of 85.8, a completion percentage of 62.6, and had 46 touchdowns to go with 26 interceptions.
Will Foles have a career like Brady? I don’t know, but he has so far.
The ultimate irony, of course, would be if he had it somewhere else after the Eagles discarded him in favor of a very good college quarterback who didn’t become much more. And, don’t kid yourself, it could turn out that way.
Kelly knows what he wants, though, and he might have decided he can do better than Nick Foles. That’s fine, but just remember: You can do worse, too.
Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice thinks Andre Johnson could make sense as a short-term fix:
Johnson is big (6’3, 230), is thought to be a good character guy, and recent evidence (Gore, Sproles) shows that Chip Kelly might not care all that much about adding older talent to the roster. Johnson could step in and immediately be a short-term upgrade from Maclin.
Today would be a good day to come back and see us often. We’ll have it all covered.