Castillo: Casey Matthews And Other LBs "Will Be Ready"

Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo remains upbeat about his group of young LBs

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Eagles Owner Jeff Lurie Expects To Have Michael Vick In Philly For "Many, Many Years"

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie held his annual state of the team address yesterday to discuss a number of topics related to the team. Most notably, that he expects Michael Vick to be an Eagle for a long time.

“Michael is healthy and in his prime," Lurie said "and I’m looking forward to having Michael for many, many years.”

Vick is currently playing on one year franchise tag and could become a free agent next season. If the trade of Kevin Kolb wasn’t indication enough that the Eagles saw Vick as their guy going forward, the vote of confidence from the owner surely is. There has already been reports that the team has had preliminary discussions with Vick over a long term deal, so don’t be surprised if there’s an announcement of a new deal sometime near the start of the new season.

Signing Vick to a new contract would actually lower hit cap hit for this year. Under the franchise tag, Vick counts over $16 million against the cap, a new deal would allow them spread the hit over more years and lower the cap number. Doing so could give them the room to give DeSean Jackson the new contract that the WR is currently holding out for. Lurie would not discuss DeSean’s contract directly, but sounded upbeat.

“Listen, we all really like DeSean. He’s a positive player, a good person, and we have nothing but high hopes going forward with DeSean. I’m not going to talk publicly about any of the dealings with him, but it’s all positive and we look forward to DeSean being here and working things out in a great way going forward.”

Lurie did admit in a follow up question that is the policy of the organization not to discuss a new deal with a player who is holding out. Jackson must report to camp by August 9th in order to accrue a year toward free agency, so he’s all but assured to be in camp by then.

As for other potentially disgruntled Eagles, Asante Samuel bristled at the idea that could be traded with the arrival of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie. Lurie was asked whether he had reassured the pro bowl corner.

“Yeah, well at first I said to him until you start yapping at the offense, you’re not all the way back. Then you heard him the rest of the day there. What a great guy, terrific cornerback. I think in terms of playing with [CB] Nnamdi [Asomugha] and DRC and the rest, talk about being opportunistic, he’s finally going to have a situation where they’re going to have to throw the ball in his direction. This is sort of a unique situation for Asante that way. He’s a great guy to have. We’ll see how it goes as we go forward, but it’s great to have him back.”

It was an upbeat press conference from Lurie which certainly reflects all the good vibes floating around Lehigh these days. It’s in stark contrast to the past few years were Lurie’s yearly presser was much more contentious and he was being forced to answer questions about the shooting that happened at Michael Vick’s birthday party… No doubt he likes answering questions about all the talented free agents he signed a lot better.


Danny Watkins Signs Contract; WR Keith Carlos Released

Late on Monday, the Eagles announced that first-round draft pick and expected starting right guard Danny Watkins has signed a four-year contract, ending his brief absence from Training Camp that resulted in almost a week of missed practice time. Watkins is widely projected to be the No. 1 RG heading into the season, so it’s understandable that he wanted his contract situation to be handled as soon as possible.

“This is a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders, that’s for sure,” Watkins said, talking about his contract in an interview on the Eagles’ website. “I’ve been chomping at the bit to get in here. I understand there’s a business aspect to football. It’s something I’ve never cared for and don’t know much about. I’m just glad this is over with and we can get rolling. I’m eager to learn…Like I said, I’m hoping and I want to come in and compete right away…I’m determined and dedicated to learn this as quick as I can and put all the hard work I can into it.”

In a related bit of Eagles news, the team also announced that undrafted rookie wide receiver Keith Carlos, a converted running back from Purdue who was signed on July 29, has been released after just a few days at Training Camp. Carlos was merely considered competition for a backup role, but is the second rookie free agent acquisition to depart the team after just several days to work with them; running back Noel Devine was released last week following a brief stint on the roster, though some reports indicate he “walked out” on the team, unhappy with the amount of reps he was receiving.


Nnamdi Asomugha Had His Sights Set On Eagles Since March

The Philadelphia Eagles unveiled their biggest free agent signing in years (maybe ever) this morning at Lehigh University. Nnamdi Asomugha met the Philadelphia media for the first time and revealed that he had his sights set on coming to the Eagles since his contract expired in March.

“When I spoke to the owner and the president here", Asomugha said, "quite honestly, once March came around and we started thinking that there might be a chance that I’m not going to be back in Oakland, we never knew what could happen or if there was going to be a process of trying to re-sign me or anything like that. When we said there was a possibility that I won’t come back, then obviously my team and myself, we had to start looking at other teams. To a man, and woman, everybody that was on my team, they knew that the number one team was the Eagles from March when we were looking at teams. There were a handful of teams at that point. When the Eagles became a possibility, we knew it was a match.

However, he didn’t really know the Eagles were interested in him until almost the last minute. But when they did jump in the race, things came together quick.

“The Eagles never really seemed to be in it. Even for me, you guys were surprised, but even for me. In the offseason, you’re dealing with specific teams and the funny thing about it is you don’t have time to take visits because it’s not a true four month or so free agency. Anybody who knows me knows that I like to take my time with decisions. I’m on the phone and it’s like, ‘Yes or no, what do you want to do, we need to know,’ and I’m like, ‘Give me five minutes,’ ‘We don’t have five minutes, you have to make a decision.’ Everything came really quickly and then when the Eagles expressed interest and became so aggressive and said, ‘We have a chance, we want this, let’s do it.’ It didn’t have to go much further than there.”

He said that in the end, it’s tough as a player to miss the playoffs year after year and that the biggest attraction to Philadelphia was the chance to win.

“It was depressing. Like I told you before, there’s one main reason why you’re playing. You want to win. Obviously, it would be a little depressing. I wouldn’t watch when the playoffs would come around. Maybe I would see some highlights. If I had to go on television and speak about the playoffs, than I would watch a couple things, some highlights here and there. It’s depressing as a player. So you always want to put yourself in position to win games, and that’s what I’m doing now.”


Eagles Add Veteran Guard Evan Mathis

The Eagles already filled needs at the CB and DE positions by adding big-name players like Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, and Jason Babin, but the team opted to bolster its offensive line on Sunday, inking veteran guard Evan Mathis to a deal while rookie first-round pick Danny Watkins remains unsigned with Training Camp underway.

The 6-foot-5, 302-pound Mathis has played in 58 career games (22 starts) for the Cincinnati Bengals (2008-10), Miami Dolphins (2008), and Carolina Panthers (2005-07).

With Winston Justice on the PUP and Watkins sidelined with a contract issue, Mathis could have a chance to crack a significant role with the Eagles, with Todd Herremans rumored to switch to the right tackle spot while Mathis would potentially take over a guard position.


Cullen Jenkins Signs With Eagles, Rich Getting Richer

As if the Eagles hadn’t already won the title of “free agency champions” with the Kevin Kolb trade and the singing of Nnamdi Asomugha, they kept the pedal to the metal this afternoon with the signing of former Packer Cullen Jenkins to a 5 year, $25 million deal.

Jenkins was a defensive end in the Packers 3-4 look, but that pretty easily translates to a being a pass rushing DT in a 4-3. Especially in Jim Washnburn’s “wide nine” system where the defensive ends split out further than in most 4-3s. Rushing as a 4-3 DT in this system won’t be much different than doing it in the 3-4. However, Eagles GM Howie Roseman did note that Jenkins’ versatility was something that attracted them. He says that Jenkins could see time at DE and DT.

Jenkins is seen as one of the better inside pass rushers in the NFL. He recorded up 7 sacks in 11 games last year and had 4.5 in 2009. He has 29 total sacks in his career. The one drawback with Jenkins could be that he’s had some injury issues in his career. He played in 11 games last year and while he was healthy in 2009, he only played in four games in 2008.

The Eagles have clearly made upgrading their defense a #1 priority this season bringing in Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jason Babin and of course Nnamdi Asomugha.


Philadelphia Eagles Sign Nnamdi Asomugha To $60 Million Contract According To Reports

Nnamdi Asomugha will be taking his talents to the Philadelphia Eagles next season, according to reports. If it becomes official, it will no doubt be the biggest surprise free agency deal of what has already been a pretty crazy NFL lockout-shortened offseason.

Asomugha, formerly of the Oakland Raiders, has been regarded as one of the best defensive backs in the NFL since coming in as the 31st first overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. With the Raiders, Asomugha had 11 interceptions and 271 tackles while keeping opposing quarterbacks looking away from his side of the field.

The Eagles picked him up for a reported five-year, $60 million deal according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, $25 million of which is guaranteed.

Considering it sounded like Asomugha was probably headed to either the New York Jets or Dallas Cowboys earlier Friday, there wasn't much talk around the All-Pro defensive back heading to Philly. SB Nation Philly's Dan Klausner talked about the possibility in his free agency preview, though, and not in the most positive manner.

As for all the Nnamdi Asomugha talk, I've never bought into the idea that the Eagles were seriously interested in his services. If you have followed this current regime at all, you're well aware of one of the organization's philosophical bedrocks: Once a player hits the age of 30, the twilight of his career is right around the corner and his days in Philadelphia are numbered. Aside from Terrell Owens, which was obviously a special circumstance, when has the front office signed a free agent aged 30 or over to come in and be an impact player? Exactly, and it's not going to start now, either (also why I'd count out Ike Taylor). Asomugha, affectionately known as Scrabble, is still an elite player, there's no doubt about that, and it's certainly titillating to think about him and Asante Samuel as the defense's starting cornerbacks. However, he just turned 30 and is going to command a long term deal at a ridiculous cap figure ($18 million per season is the number I've seen thrown around). Aside from Charles Woodson and maybe Ronde Barber (no, I didn't forget aboutChamp Bailey), how many cornerbacks remain elite players into their 30's? Some desperate team will pony up the dough for Nnamdi, but it won't be the Eagles.

So, what does everyone think? Is Asomugha going to be awesome for the Eagles?


Eagles, Vince Young Reportedly Agree To One Year Deal

“Give us your poor, your disgraced, your disappointing quarterbacks.” I don’t believe that is written on the doors of the Eagles’ NovaCare complex, but maybe it should be. NFL Network’s Albert Breer reports that the Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to a one year deal with former Titans’ QB Vince Young to become Michael Vick’s backup this season.

The deal will apparently not be able to be official until sometime tomorrow as Young is still technically on waivers. Of course, no signings that have been reported this week will be become official until Friday.

The deal has actually been rumored for several weeks. Chris Mortenson reported that the Eagles and Dolphins had been the two teams that have done the most homework on Young over the summer. Then, an ESPN report today said that sources close to Young confirmed that the interest was mutual.

“One person who knows Young said he’s equally intrigued with the idea of learning from Vick, Eagles coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who have done a first-rate job of training quarterbacks.”

Yesterday we did more in depth analysis on what Young’s impact could be in Philadelphia and took a look at his career so far.


Kevin Kolb Trade Complete: Eagles Recieve Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie And Second Round Pick

The long rumored Kevin Kolb trade to the Arizona Cardinals has finally happened and is now official. The Eagles have sent backup QB Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals for 25 year old former pro bowl corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second round pick in 2012. As part of the deal, the Cardinals have also agreed to a new five year extension with Kolb worth a total of $63 million, including $20 million in guarantees.

The move makes it clear that the Cardinals have gone “all in” on Kevin Kolb being their franchise quarterback. For the Eagles, they pick up a young, extremely talented starting corner to fill a big hole and a second round pick in return for the guy they spent a second round pick on in 2007. It’s a pretty good return on investment anyway you slice it.

While the move is fraught with risk for the Cardinals, who gave up a ton of value and a huge contract to an almost completely unproven QB, the Eagles have taken on some risk here as well. If indeed Kolb becomes the kind of QB the Cardinals think he can, there’s no doubt that they will have “won” this trade. You just can’t put a price on a franchise QB and the team who gets him is always the winner.

Still, the Eagles will come out looking very good in the short term either way. The centerpiece of deal for them is 25 year old corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. “DRC” as he is often referred to has prototypical size and speed for the corner position at 6-2 with long arms and the ability to run a 4.29 40. He fills a hug hole at the corner position opposite Asante Samuel and immediately represents a dramatic upgrade to the Eagles defense. The Eagles can now legitimately make a claim to having the best pair of corners in the NFL. We’ll have to see if the Jets sign Nnamdi Asomugha to pair with Darrell Revis before we award that title however…

Speaking of the Raiders pro bowler, Rodgers has a big advantage over Asomugha or another free agent like Jonathon Joseph. Signing one of those players would cost the Eagles upwards of $10-$12 million a year. Conversely, the Eagles get DRC this season for $950 K and next year for $1.13 mil. Presumably, they will look to extend him in the next year, but for now they’ve got a fantastic young corner for incredibly cheap.

For more reaction and analysis to the Kolb trade, check out Bleeding Green Nation.


NFL Free Agency: Eagles Sign Jason Babin

The Eagles have completed their first major signing since the start of free agency agreeing to a five year deal with defensive end Jason Babin. The deal is reportedly worth $28 million with $5-6 million in guaranteed money. Babin spent one disappointing season with the Eagles in 2009, but then went to Tennessee and had a breakout season registering 12.5 sacks and making his first pro bowl.

Babin attributes much of that success to defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who left Tennessee for Philadelphia this past offseason. Babin said earlier this year that the presence of Washburn with the Eagles was a major draw for him.

“[Jim Washburn] is the guy that gave me the chance,” Babin told The Tennessean newspaper. “He’s the guy who poured water on me, let me have sunshine, gave me fertilizer, and really let me grow. It would be hard for me not to contemplate it if he said, ‘Jason, I want you in Philly.’ He resurrected me. I’d have to at least give that serious consideration.”

Babin is an interesting case, having his breakout season at 30 years old and getting his first big free agent contract at 31. The Eagles are banking on Babin continuing to flourish under Washburn and that his one 13 sack year was not a fluke.

However, the Eagles did protect themselves on the downside. With only a reported $5-6 million guaranteed, the team isn’t locked into the deal long term and could likely get out of after two years with minimal cap pain if Babin wasn’t living up. For now. however, the Eagles will install the guy who led 4-3 defensive ends in sacks last year to start opposite Trent Cole, which should make for a set of fearsome pas rushers to deal with for opposing defenses.


Brandon Jacobs: Plaxico Burress Sees Philadelphia Eagles As The Best Fit

Plaxico Burress is due to be released from prison this coming Monday and there's been quite a bit speculation as to where he might land for next season. His former teammate, Giants' RB Brandon Jacobs, told reporters this evening that while there's "no chance" that Burress will return to the Giants, he would apparently like to play with Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I would hate to see him go to where I think he is going to go, that is from talking to him," Jacobs said of the Eagles when asked if he was talking about Philadelphia. "It is pretty tough to deal with all those different combinations. Plax is a Virginia guy, Vick is a Virginia guy. They went through sort of the same things and they got a lot of dynamic players down there. It wouldn't be a bad thing, he thinks, to go down there."

Vick has previously told reporters that he thinks Burress "would make a great addition" to the Eagles. The connection certainly makes sense given their shared backgrounds and Vick has previously said that he and Burress and friends and the two have spoken since Plaxico has been in prison.

This would seem to be pretty solid proof that Burress does indeed want to come to Philadelphia. Previously, Adam Caplan of Fox Sports (and a contributor to quoted personnel sources who expect the Eagles to make a run at Burress. Prior to that report, Gary Myers of the New York Post said that he heard that the Eagles would be "first in line", to sign the former Giant.

Burress is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, who is known for drumming up interest in his clients. So whenever these rumors leak out about one of his guys, it's always worth being skeptical. However, what Jacobs said appears to be completely genuine. Burress feels that Philadelphia is the best place for him, the question is whether Rosenhaus is simply trying to get his client what he wants.

Despite his infamous representation of Terrell Owens, Rosenhaus does have a good relationship with Eagles management and currently represents two of their biggest stars in LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson.

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