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Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo is nothing if not positive. He's got a very young group of linebackers to work with and a very short offseason in which to do so. There's no doubt it's a tough task and so far the returns have been mixed. The Eagles defense was stifling in the preseason opener against the Ravens, but got run all over last week against the Steelers. Rookie middle linebacker Casey Matthews drew most of the criticism after that game, but Juan says he is improving.
"Well you know what; he only had seven plays the first game. Sometimes I think it's important to understand, when you're looking at a game and you think ‘well it's this guy's fault,' you know, sometimes, unless you understand what's going on, well this guy it wasn't his gap. The ball goes into certain different gaps. Casey is going to be, it's his first time being a middle linebacker. He's going to get better, and better, and better. Every day he'll get better."
There was some talk after the game that Jamar Chaney could be moved back to the middle where he played so well last year, should the Eagles decide that Matthews can't cut it. However, Castillo says that Chaney is needed where he is.
"Jamar is playing a position that's special. That SAM linebacker, I don't know if you noticed that, that's a special position for us. It's almost a hybrid. He's got to be able to run, but yet, he's got to be able to come in there and take on that C gap. That's a pretty important position to us. He's a pretty good player, playing a position that's very important for us."
Overall, Castillo does remain positive about this group. So positive that he thinks they'll be good enough to win it all when that time comes.
"The linebackers will be ready. To win the Super Bowl, remember, it takes 16 weeks, and then really whoever is playing their best during the playoffs. So when you look at it there's time to develop. You can say that there's not, but the key is, who's playing or fundamentally who's the best come week eight, nine, ten, and during that crunch time. And over the years we've been pretty good during that time, and we'll continue to do that. The young kids will get better just because they're working the proper fundamentals."
The Eagles were among 17 NFL teams at infamous quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s unofficial Pro Day workout this week, though the Birds appear unlikely to draft the former Ohio State signal-caller. Whispers are that Miami could be the developmental project’s most likely suitor, while some league sources have indicated it “would be a surprise” if the Eagles pursued Pryor in the upcoming supplemental draft.
While the Eagles are set at quarterback with Michael Vick as the starter and Vince Young and Mike Kafka backing him up, Pryor has been praised for his amount of athleticism and upside as an offensive weapon. With head coach Andy Reid having such a good track record for developing young passers, Pryor’s name has been floated in speculation with the Eagles, and the acquisition of an athlete like Pryor would give the team yet another explosive play-maker on a potent offensive unit. However, all signs seem to point to Philadelphia steering clear of the QB.
Besides the troubling background he’s coming from after a controversial departure from Ohio State that involved the resignation of longtime college coach Jim Tressel, Pryor isn’t seen as much of a fundamentally sound prospect, and the Eagles have historically stayed away from spending future draft picks on long-term projects in the supplemental selection process. In all likelihood, Philadelphia sent scouts to Pryor’s workout to evaluate him just as they would with any other incoming prospect.
The Eagles have made some slight changes to their offensive line in recent days. While the team hasn’t made any significant moves as of late, Philadelphia has added some competition in the trenches as the club’s second preseason game approaches. Offensive tackle Joe Toledo, who was signed over the weekend, has since been released. He was replaced with undrafted Nevada product Jose Acuna, who was claimed off waivers from the Cowboys, but Acuna has also departed, landing on the Reserve/Left Squad list.
Defensive tackle Charles Noonan has also been re-signed. The local Rutgers product played in the Eagles’ first preseason game and rejoins the team as competition at the DT spot.
There's been a lot of questions about Casey Matthews, who has been the starting middle linebacker since day one of Eagles camp. The MIKE linebacker makes the defensive calls and has a lot of responsibility in the defense, so it's rare to see a rookie start there, but Juan Castillo says that so far Matthews has been up to the task.
"He did an excellent job running the defense, you know, with the substitutions, and there were a couple of times that they were in different personnel than we thought and he was able to handle that. He had an excellent practice today and he's working hard every day to improve." Juan said.
"I think he's got the same challenges that linebackers have. It's just being able to come up and take a block on, and shrug it, and get a release and make the play. That's the toughest thing for linebackers, and there are really not a lot of guys in the NFL that can do that. For him, he's a young guy, that's the thing that were trying to get him to do is be really good at that. As far as the way he handles the huddle and does a good job in coverage, he's excellent."
I will always cherish my time in NY and the super bowl victory.. This was obviously not an easy decision for me or something i ever expected but unfortunately the business aspect proved that the eagles wanted me to be part of their organization MUCH more than the Giants did.. A special thanks to my WR buddies, coach Gilbride, all of u amazing fans on here, and the entire giants organization for drafting me.. Time for a new beginning...
Not surprisingly, the Giants fans comments on the page are extremely bitter, full of foul language and hatred toward Smith. Stay classy folks!
The Philadelphia Eagles added yet another former pro bowler today when they agree to a one year deal with former Giants WR Steve Smith. Smith had a pro bowl year in 2009 season when caught 107 passes for over 1200 yards and seven TDs. He was well on his way toward another big year last season, but his year was ended with a knee injury that required microfracture surgery to correct. CSNPhilly's Ruben Frank reports that he is still rehabbing that injury and that the Eagles believe he could be back by midseason. So you should certainly not expect the instant impact of a guy like Nnamdi Asomugha.... Andy Reid says it was a risk work taking.
"Like I've said many times before, Howie Roseman and I are always keeping our eyes open for good football players and players that we think can help our football team win," said Reid. "And Steve Smith certainly fits that category. He's a Pro Bowl quality receiver that we will work into our offense as soon as he is ready to go. We feel very good about our current group of receivers and Steve adds another dimension to that position. He's played very well against us in the past few years and we're happy to have him on board."
It's an interesting move that will probably upset Giants fans and make a ton of #12 blue jerseys obsolete, but should Eagles fans be celebrating? That really depends on how healthy Smith is. If it's true that he won't play until midseason, obviously his impact will only be possible later in the year... but if he's anything close to the player he was before the injury, that could be a major impact. Smith is an excellent route runner with great hands that was Eli Manning's favorite target.
Smith was expected to return to the Giants, but he either didn't like what they were offering or they didn't like his medical condition. People will call this a "low risk/high reward" signing for the Eagles and it certainly has the potential to be... Although that said, it remains to be seen just how "high reward" a WR coming off major knee surgery that may only be available for a half year could actually be.
DeSean Jackson arrived in Eagles camp for the first time today, ending his less than two week holdout. Jackson, a two time pro bowler who is in the final year of his rookie deal and is set to make the league minimum this season, was obviously hoping his holdout would spur the Eagles to work out a new deal. However, team owner Jeff Lurie made it clear that the team doesn't negotiate with players who aren't in camp. Add that with the fact that the new CBA mandates that players report to camp prior to August 9th or lose a years credit toward free agency and Jackson didn't have much choice.
That said, he was rather upbeat and remains positive about the prospects of a deal getting done.
"The relationship I have with the team and the front office, I think everything will work out." Jackson said, "We're just going to keep everything positive, like I keep saying; I don't want to turn it into anything negative. I love Philadelphia, I love the fans here; and just coming back out here on the field, you know the fans just showing me a lot of love and things like that. I just want to keep that positive theme going."
Jackson says he's back 100% and will play and practice whether he gets a new contract or not.
"It won't be tough for me at all. Like I said, I know what I'm here for, and that's to play football. That's my livelihood. That's what I love to do, so at the end of the day man I'm just going to keep going out there with a smile on my face regardless of ups and downs. I know where my destination is, and my destiny is to be here and to be an Eagle. So I just want to, like I said, just keep doing the right things and working hard and hopefully everything pans out."
He also stressed that just because he held out, doesn't mean he's unhappy with the team or doesn't want to be here. He just feels like he's earned a new deal, but realized the best chance he has to get it is come back to work.
Me coming back and talking to Coach Reid, we just kept it all about football, you know, bettering myself and being a better football player, coming to work, working hard every day. There's always a point where you can get better. You never feel satisfied where you're at as a professional. I think where I'm at, my first three years, the things I've accomplished, it's been off the chart, but there's still always room for improvement. That's one thing I realize. Being an Eagle this year is going to be something I look forward to. I always wanted to be an Eagle; because I held out for a couple days, or whatever it was, that doesn't mean I didn't want to be an Eagle. Like I said, I just had to handle what I needed to handle, but I'm here and I'm ready to move forward. I'm ready to play football. I'm ready to help win games. I said I love this city and everything."
DeSean arrived in camp with his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, in tow. However, all said, this couldn't have gone more differently than the last time Drew Rosenhaus came to town with a high profile Eagles WR looking for a new deal...
The Eagles have released their first depth chart of training camp and it gives us at least a rough idea of where players are at this point. However, it should be noted that the initial depth chart is always weighted toward veterans and guys that have been here. This one is no different. Here's a few highlights starting with the defense.
Safety: Here's an interesting wrinkle, Nate Allen is playing strong safety while Kurt Coleman is listed as the free safety. Jaiquwan Jarrett backs up Coleman while Jarrad Page is behind Allen. Don't put a lot of stock into "free" and "strong" safety here though. So far in camp we've seen that Juan has them as pretty interchangeable.
Defensive End: Trent Cole and Juqua Parker are your starters with Jason Babin and Darryl Tapp as the backups. Who starts at defensive end and who plays the most snaps could very well be two different things. Don't be surprised if Babin takes over at LDE before the end of camp.
Defensive Tackle: Your starters the same as the end of last year, Mike Patterson and Antonio Dixon. Obviously, Mike Patterson's medical situation bears keeping in mind here and could change things, but for now he remains penciled in as the starter. Cullen Jenkins and Trevor Laws are your backups. If Patterson can play this year, I wouldn't be surprised to see this as the opening day depth chart at DT and it's likely that we'll see all four guys rotating.
Onto the offense. There really aren't as many jobs up for grabs and therefore not a whole lot of surprises on the offensive side.
Tight End - Brent Celek is your starter and so far second year man Clay Harbor remains ahead of free agent signing Donald Lee. As a blocking TE, Lee's role will be based on the package more than anything.
Offensive line - Here's the one spot where there could be lots of changes. Jason Peters and Todd Herremans are the starters on the left side. Jamaal Jackson is #1 on the depth chart at center ahead of rookie Jason Kelce, who has been getting a fair number of snaps with the starters. Mike McGlynn, who started at center almost all of last year, has been moved to right guard where he's backing up rookie starter Danny Watkins. Newly signed Ryan Harris is the current starter at right tackle, although since Winston Justice is on PUP, he is not on the depth chart.
After steering clear of the Eagles’ Training Camp at Lehigh University for 12 days, Pro-Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson is on track to report to camp on Monday. If Jackson held out past August 9, he would be eligible to lose his future status as an unrestricted free agent in 2012 due to rules in place by the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, so many expected the wideout to arrive in the near future, but reports—as well as Eagles QB Michael Vick—have indicated Jackson will, in fact, return to the field on Monday.
The Eagles seemingly made no effort to give Jackson what he’s been looking for—a new, big-money contract—but are reportedly willing to renegotiate his current deal if/when he reports to camp. Monday will be an important practice, as well, with it being the final full get-together for the team until the Eagles open their 2011 preseason schedule on Thursday. The Birds will still prepare for their game with other activities, but Monday is the last practice set to take place until the players make their debut at the Linc.
“I don’t know the details,” Vick reportedly said on Sunday, referring to Jackson’s anticipated return. “I just know he’ll be here…I can say he’s excited to be back.”
Jackson has been seeking a new contract since last offseason, and it’s understandable, considering the financial terms of his current contract, what fellow Pro-Bowl standouts around the league are making, and the contributions he’s made to the team since coming into the NFL as a second-round pick in 2008.
Mike Patterson’s agent, JR Rickert called in to ESPN’s SportsCenter today to update the condition of Mike Patterson and had some good news to share. He says that after the initial diagnosis of AVM, they sought out two other medical opinions and neither could conclusively confirm that diagnosis. They did not rule it out as a possibility, but they can’t conclude that AVM is what he has.
Patterson will now go see a neurologist about the seizure he had and based on what he finds, that neurologist has the ability to clear Mike to return to team activities.
“All three medical opinions have said that the condition he has, whatever it may be, is treatable.” Rickert said this afternoon, “Again, we have to sit down and come to a conclusion as to what that is and how to treat it. The neurologist is the key part of this and that’s why he’s going to that appointment tomorrow. Once the neurologist evaluates the cause of the seizure and the proper treatment and the neurologist sign off that it’s not something that will prevent him from playing football, that’s when we’ll get back to work.”
Obviously it would be fantastic news to see Patterson back on the field so quickly, but it would be even better to learn that his condition is not something that is career threatening or life-altering.
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.
The fact that Moss retired isn’t terribly important as he is free to “unretire” whenever he wants by simply sending a letter to the NFL saying so. The only real question here is whether Moss wants to play this year and if so, would he want to play for the Eagles for one last shot at a ring?
The Eagles are probably one of the few teams where Moss could be happy and contented playing for. If his recent career has taught us anything, in a stable organization with a good QB that’s winning, Moss can flourish. If things aren’t going well however… he’s really not a guy you’d like to have around.
So I suppose the Moss watch begins. He spoke of his admiration for Andy Reid and the team back when Andy tried to sign him away from the Patriots, so it would make sense that if Randy wanted to play at all this year, the Eagles would be one of the teams that would interest him.
Of course, this is all assuming the report is actually true.
The hits keep on coming as the Eagles signed another three free agents today. The first was RB Ronnie Brown, who we discussed earlier, and the most recent two are S Jarrad Page and RT Ryan Harris. Both Page and Harris signed one year deals.
Page is a 26 year old safety with good size (6-0, 225 lbs) and is entering his sixth NFL season. He was drafted bu the Chiefs in 2006 and started 40 games for them before being traded to the Patriots last year. He has 12 career picks and will provide the secondary with some range and physicality. He really had a great 2008 season where he started and compiled 85 tackles, four interceptions and 12 pass breakups. Injuries hurt his 2009 season and when he was traded to the Pats in 2010, he was mostly a backup before also getting hurt.
He’ll be put into the mix for the starting strong safety job that’s currently being contested between second year man Kurt Coleman and rookie second round pick Jaiquwan Jarrett.
The Eagles also made a move to shore up the right side of their line by agreeing to terms on a one year deal with former Bronco Ryan Harris. Harris was a third round pick in 2007 draft and started 34 games for the Broncos. He had registered 10 starts last year, but injuries limited him to just 11 appearances. Harris is an interesting prospect as he’s only 26 and was named the Sports Illustrated All Pro team in 2008.
If he stays healthy, he’s just the kind of athletic lineman that Howard Mudd likes. ESPN NFC East blogger Dan Graziano was surprised the market for Harris wasn’t better than it was and believe he fits the system run by Howard Mudd well.
It’s a surprising signing because Harris is only 26 years old, well regarded as a top right tackle and likely thought he’d get a long-term deal once the market opened.
Harris is an athletic offensive lineman who fits what new line coach Howard Mudd is looking for. It would appear he has a good chance to beat out Winston Justice for the starting right tackle job. The Eagles employ a left-handed quarterback in Michael Vick, which means the right side of the line is his blind side.
The Eagles announced today they’ve agree to a one year deal with free agent RB Ronnie Brown, who spent the last six seasons with the Miami Dolphins. Brown provides the team with the veteran backup to LeSean McCoy that they previously lacked. Brown was taken #2 overall by the Dolphins in 2005 and has compiled over 4,800 hundred yards rushing and 38 touchdowns in his NFL career. He made his first pro bowl in 2008.
“Ronnie is an all-around running back with a versatile skill set,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman said today. “He can run the ball, catch it, and does very well in pass protection. He’ll add some good size to our backfield and he’s a good character guy. We think he’ll be a tremendous compliment to LeSean [McCoy] and the other young backs on this team that we really like. You can never have enough good running backs in this league and we are happy to have Ronnie join us.”
Brown does appear to fit perfectly in the mold of an Eagles back. He’s a threat running and catching the ball, plus he has plenty of experience taking direct snaps, as it was the Dolphins using him in the Wildcat package that sparked the craze around the NFL.
Jeremy Maclin announced on twitter that he has returned to Lehigh and joined the Eagles at training camp. Maclin had been excused from the first four days of practice for what had been called an undisclosed illness. He had reportedly come down with mono-like symptoms earlier in the offseason and lost almost 15 pounds, but said that he’d gotten better and gained the weight back. In fact, he was one on the Eagles spending the most time working out at the little camps in South Jersey.
So it was certainly a surprise when he didn’t show up to camp this year and so far we still have no idea what actually held him out. It’s likely we’ll find out tomorrow when practice resumes and he is likely out on the field.
With Maclin’s return and Danny Watkins’ signing, that leaves only one prominent Eagle not up at camp, DeSean Jackson. There have been reports that he will show up this week, but so far we have not seen him. Reportedly, they’ve told him that they’ll only negotiate a new deal if he’s here.
The official league calender identifies August 9th as the day players must report to camp in order to accrue a year of service towards free agency. While that date is in question, what it means is that if DeSean doesn’t report by then he will not earn a year toward free agency and therefore will be a restricted free agent at the end of this year. Clearly, he does not want that.
Joe Banner and Howie Roseman made the deal, Jeffrey Lurie paid for the deal, but Nnamdi Asomugha's agent Ben Dogra made the deal possible.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman met the media today to announce the signing of former Packer Cullen Jenkins and discuss his role and impact on the team this year.
On whether Jenkins will play defensive tackle or defensive end?
"He can really play both. On 3rd down he rushes from the inside and we think he makes a difference in that role. In this defense and this scheme we really utilize all his talents."
However, Roseman later noted "one of the reasons we got him is because he’s such a good inside pass rusher." Clearly the Eagles seem him as a pass rushing DT in this system.
Roseman also said that the chance to come to Philadelphia was a draw for Jenkins.
"This is a guy that we didn’t we’d have the opportunity to acquire. But it’s a tribute to Cullen for he wanting to come to Philadelphia. He had opportunities to go elsewhere and he was a highly coveted played but he decided he wanted to come to Philadelphia and we had to make that happen."
He says that the desire to come here is something he’s seeing from a lot of free agents.
"This organization as a whole is a selling point. People want to come to Philadelphia because of the organization. Having coach Reid and a quarterback like Michael [Vick] and the players we have…. when you talk to agents, people want to come to Philly."
Also, Roseman was asked whether the fact that they’ve now signed three free agents who are 30 years old signals some sort of change in philosophy for a team that has always been resistant to giving big deals to older players. Roseman that’s not really the case and that given how young their roster is, they see a chance to add different types of players.
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.
There was much speculation this offseason, mostly fueled by Plaxico himself, that the WR would be a member of the Philadelphia Eagles next season after spending the better part of the last two years in prison. However, once the NFL opened for business again and the Eagles started moving with their offseason plans, that talked died down. In fact, most of the speculation was that Burress would end up back with either the Giants or Steelers.
However, former Eagles LB and current WIP host Ike Reese is reporting that “reliable sources” tell him that Burress to the Eagles is a “real possibility.”
After signing Nnamdi Asomugha and Jason Babin, plus still with the DeSean Jackson contract to deal with, the Eagles can’t still be flush with cap space. So it’s not likely that they would offer Burress huge money, but that may not be exactly what he’s looking for. Being part of the “dream team” as Vince Young put it, may be enough to get Plaxico to take something short term and cheap.
Plus, to be honest, at 34 years old and two years out of prison, it’s not like anyone was going to pony up big money for him anyway. So being in a place where he has a chance to win should probably be enough.
On Thursday, the Eagles traded Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals for pro bowl CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second round pick. DRC showed up to Eagles game yesterday and finally got a chance to talk with the media today. No surprise, one of the firs questions he was asked was about the now crowded secondary and how he feels about playing with Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha.
“I got that much more happy." DRC said, "Bringing in a guy like that, now I can learn from both him and [CB] Asante [Samuel]. I mean you can’t ask for anything better as far as learning.”
Just like everyone, he’s pretty impressed with the talent currently in the Eagles secondary.
“You can’t describe it with the guys they put in place. It’s kind of hard to describe, but what you expect is for everyone to go out and do what they’ve been doing. Just play ball. You’ve got the big plays in Asante jumping stuff, and you’ve got the shutdown in Nnamdi. Really, it’s just for us to go out and play ball.”
He also said he’s not particularly concerned about where he’s playing in relation to those two, “I just worry about playing. I know what I have in both of those guys and what they bring to the table. At the same time I know what I can do. I’m just going to go out there and compete.”
In fact, he’d even be the nickel corner if that’s what the team wanted.
“That’d be alright with me, as long as I can get on the field and compete,” he said.
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?
“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.”
The Redskins have done the majority of their free agent shopping so far in the NFC East and continued to look within the division in their search for a punter. They’ve reportedly agreed to terms with former Eagles punter Sav Rocca.
The 37 year old has only been in the league for years after a career as an Australian rules football player. He’s always had a pretty big leg, but has struggled with inconsistency in his career with the Eagles. His directional punting has improved over the past few years, but he still has a propensity for the occasional, inexplicable shank.. But overall Sav has been a solid, serviceable punter for the Eagles.
Not the best punter in the leauge, but not the worst either. Good to see him continue his NFL career. As for the Eagles, it appears as though they will move on with rookie Chas Henry as their punter. Henry won the 2010 Ray Guy award, given to the nation’s top punter. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them bring in another leg for competition in camp however.
As expected, the Tennessee Titans released former number three overall pick Vince Young today, making him an unrestricted free agent. Speculation is now about where he could possibly end up. According to ESPN, he is "eyeing" the Eagles as a potential destination.
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.
And there’s a chance that the interest could be mutual. According to Chris Mortenson, the Eagles and Dolphins are the two teams that have done the most background work on Young this summer. The Eagles are of course in need of a capable backup now that they’ve traded Kevin Kolb.
Young is a bit of enigma as he’s been dogged by questions about his attitude, work ethic and leadership ability his whole career. Despite that, he’s compiled a pretty impressive 30-18 record as a starter. Contrast that with Kevin Kolb, who has a 3-4 mark in the games he’s started and fetched a major ransom for the Eagles as well as new $63 million contract.
Take it a step further. Here is his 2010 stat line. 1,255 yards, 10 TDs, 3 INTs, 98.6 QB rating… and he was just cut for nothing. His career stats are a bit more telling. He’s completed less than 60% of his passes and he’s thrown as many INTs as TDs (42). He’s also had his share of injury issues. That said, he has rushed for almost 1,400 yards and TDs in his career as well.
But if the Eagles learned anything from the Michael Vick experiment, it’s that sometimes taking a flyer on a guy can pay off in a big way. Think of what signing Vick allowed them to do. It paved the way for them to trade both Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb for what ended up being Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, two second round picks and two fourth round picks(the team turned the 4th from the McNabb trade into an extra fourth). That trade produced at least two starters already with DRC and Nate Allen, with another certainly likely with next year’s second round pick. So with Vince Young, you at least get a guy who has shown he can win games in the NFL, but at best you could get another major asset or potentially a replacement for Vick if something goes wrong.
And at this point, you have to trust the Andy Reid/Marty Mornhinweg combo to work with quarterbacks.
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.
According to a report from the San Diego Times-Union The Eagles are among the three finalists for San Diego Chargers do-everything back, Darren Sproles. Per the report, Sproles is deciding between the Chargers, Eagles and Saints with his choice expected to come soon.
Sproles' size has prevented him from ever being an every down NFL back, but as a complimentary guy he's become a very productive player. He has the ability to break off exciting runs, but most of his value comes in the passing game and as a return man. Sproles has returned a total of four kicks and punts for TDs. He caught 59 passes for 529 yards and rushed for 267 yards (5.7 per) last season. Over the last two years, he's had 19 offensive plays of over 20 yards.
So he's a home run hitter, he would provide value on special teams and would take some of the load off LeSean McCoy. When when we think about what a backup running back should be, we usually always focus on how many carries he might get per game. But when you look at LeSean McCoy and the Eagles offense, it really is about how many touches he's getting. McCoy had 207 carries last year, but he caught nearly 80 passes. So we're talking nearly 300 touches. Sproles could take some carries of his hands, but could also relieve McCoy of some touches in the passing game as well.
Adam Caplan, NFL reporter for Fox Sports and 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia is reporting that "substantial progress" has been in the last few hours between the Eagles and Cardinals on the trade for Kevin Kolb and he's expects the deal to be finalized today.
Caplan's report comes on the heels of Howard Eskin saying that Kolb's agent is currently in negotiations with the Cardinals on a long term contract extension for the quarterback. If things are at that point, it is probably safe to say that compensation between the Eagles and Cardinals is pretty much done.
So today looks to be the one where everything really kicks into gear for the Eagles. Training camp is officially underway, Jason Babin was the first major signing this morning and it appears as if Kevin Kolb for Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and a draft pick will be the second major move of the day. Let's now hope a DeSean Jackson contract isn't far behind.
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.
The Eagles have been connected to Jason Babin on a number of occasions and recent reports suggest the veteran defensive end could still be a potential acquisition of the Birds as part of the pass rushing unit. But Babin’s defensive teammate in Tennessee, LB Stephen Tulloch, is reportedly also on Philly’s radar as Training Camp gets underway.
Just 26 years old and coming off arguably the best season of his young career, Tulloch logged 160 tackles and six pass deflections in 2010. If he were to sign a deal with the Eagles, he’d be reunited with former Titans assistant coach Jim Washburn and likely slotted to take over the middle linebacker spot, which is vacant following the team’s decision to not immediately renegotiate Stewart Bradley’s contract.
Tulloch is reportedly also a target of the Lions, but Detroit agreed in principle on a deal with former Jags ‘backer Justin Durant on Wednesday, so there’s no telling whether the Lions can still be considered seriously in the mix.
The Eagles have reportedly agreed to terms with their third undrafted rookie free agent running back, the latest being Derrick Locke from Kentucky. Much like the other two, Graig Cooper and Noel Devine, he's a small back, but very fast and versatile. He ran a 4.40 40 at the combine and was productive as a RB, return man and receiver against elite competition in the SEC.
However, also like the other RBs the Eagles picked up, Locke saw his draft stock drop after an injury killed his production in his senior year. Locke broke his forearm early in the year and then suffered a stinger late in the year. The latter injury reportedly limited his motion in the his shoulder and forced him to lose feeling for a few weeks.
He had originally agreed to a deal with the Minnesota Vikings, but failed a physical. The Eagles have apparently decided to take a flyer on him. Locke confirmed that he had been picked up by the Eagles on his official Facebook page.
Like we said with the other UDFAs the Eagles have signed, if there was ever a year to take chances it is this one. Teams have 90 roster spots to play with, which is more than they've never had. So there's really nothing to lose by getting some of these high ceiling guys into camp to see what they have. If they aren't entirely healthy, they can always be cut or stashed on injured reserve.
Just about 36 hours after the NFL opened for business, Andy Reid officially opened Eagles training camp at Lehigh University. The coach was peppered with the questions about the rumored Kevin Kolb trade and the impending DeSean Jackson holdout, but refused to give any answers on either front. He would only say that he's spoken with DeSean Jackson, but would not elaborate.
As for the stuff he would comment on, he addressed the changes in the way the team is allowed to practice. There are no more two a days with contact, which is something Andy Reid has always believed in.
"The morning practices will be very similar, once we get into day three, of what we had before as far as time goes and format." Reid said, "I told you that on day three I was going to keep the pads off them in the morning. That format will be the same that we use on day four, and the same format we've used in the past. That part is going to be very physical and still be the same type of thing. This is a sport where you make contact. The afternoon practices where you have the 10/10/10's and special teams, you can't have that anymore. That's not how it works, it's the walkthrough period. You can do the walkthrough in the morning or the afternoon. The next practice is out of pads and you have to do a walkthrough just like we used to with our eight/eight on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the season. Players are fast pre-snap and then cautious after that."
He was also asked what affect the lockout will have on the incoming rookies this year.
"Well, it's going to be a catch up game for them. That's where your OTAs come in handy. It's equal opportunity all the way throughout the league. I'm not going to dwell on it, and we have a plan for that. We're going to go for it. I'm sure everyone else has their plan, and we have our ideas. I told you before that in that case and with new players coming in from other teams, it's going to test your teaching ability. As coaches, we made sure we went back and detailed things another inch so we get in there, there's not a lot of wasted words and time. We can get it to the players and make sure we give it to them to take these complex concepts and simplify them the best we can so that these guys can execute them quickly by the time they break the huddle and shout."
And finally, he talked about why he felt it was important to hold camp up at Lehigh rather than at the NovaCare complex?
"Well whoever asked the question about the continuity, I love coming up here because it puts everybody together so you're talking about players who don't know each other, haven't gone through mini camp, maybe this is even more important to come up here; they're housed together and they have to make it work. When you're up here there are not a lot of other things going on. And so you sit around after your meeting and you talk and socialize and review your playbooks. To do all those things that you do I think it brings the team together a little bit."
ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that there has been progress in the talks between the Eagles and Cardinals in the trade for Kevin Kolb and that a deal will be done within 48 hours. Schefter says the deal will include pro bowl corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a draft pick. The question is now is whether that will be a first or second round pick or whether it would be conditional depending on how Kolb plays or other factors.
Either way, the prevailing feeling around the league is now that the deal will get done. It makes sense with Matt Hasselbeck signing in Tennessee and Kyle Orton reportedly on the verge of a move to Miami. Really, the QB market has shrunk down to Kolb as the only viable QB left and the Cardinals as the only viable destination. So, if the two sides were playing a leverage game, it's basically over. The Cardinals can't sell Marc Bulger as their starter or the likes of John Skelton either. Kolb is the only real guy left and they are desperate for a QB.
For the Eagles, the deal fills their massive hole at corner with a 25 year old former pro bowler. DRC didn't have a great year last season, but is certainly still one of the best young corners in the NFL and is signed for two more years. They have to give up a guy who is at least a valuable backup and at best a franchise QB... but with Michael Vick making the position his own last year, Kolb is expendable. Plus, there's been rumors that the Eagles have been doing their diligence on other QBs as potential backups to Vick, with the most notable being Vince Young.
Last year, the Eagles let Jason Babin, who had been a disappointment here, leave for the Tennessee Titans. He went on to rack up 12.5 sacks and make his first pro bowl there. The Eagles then hired Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn away and the speculation began that Babin would be interested in following him back to Philadelphia. Speculation by the way, that Babin himself fueled earlier this offseason.
"[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."
This afternoon, PFT reported that the Eagles are one of the top three teams Babin is talking to.
There are a few issues however. Last year was Babin's first in which he had more than five sacks. He is 31 years old... What about either of those makes him sound like a typical Eagles free agent target? Not much... The Eagles need to decide whether last year was a fluke or Babin really did put it all together under Washburn? Also, if Babin's success was all a result of Jim Washburn's genius, wouldn't Washburn be just as likely to mine gold from one of the guys the Eagles already have like Juqua Parker, Darryl Tapp, Daniel Te'O-Nesheim, or Ricky Sapp? Plus, of course first round pick Brandon Graham when he's healthy?
Babin will certainly require good money to come here, but not as much as a guy like Ray Edwards would.
The Philadelphia Eagles announced today that they've agreed to terms with undrafted free agent running back Noel Devine from West Virginia. It had been rumored for most of the day that Devine had agreed to a deal with the Falcons, but that turned out to be completely erroneous. He becomes the third back out of the Big East that the Eagles have added to their roster in the last two years (LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis from Pitt being the others).
Devine is a small guy at 5-8, 180 pounds, but he had an incredibly productive college career rushing for 4,315 yards (only the 4th Big East player to rush for over 4,000 yards) and 29 TDs at 5.9 yards a clip. He also returned two punts for TDs and is a good pass catcher. He had a off senior season thanks to injuries (still pretty good), but he really is a bit of a physical freak. Despite his size, he's benched 435 pounds and run a 4.35 40.
He's led an almost impossibly tough life. Both of his parents died of AIDS when he was just a child. He bounced around from different family members and family friends, has seen friends murdered in front of him... However, his story caught the eye of Deion Sanders because he went to high school at Primetime's alma mater, North Fort Myers High. Sanders took him under his wing and even was the kids' legal guardian for a time. He's remained a mentor and an adviser to Devine ever since. I gotta say, reading about this made me like Deion quite a bit.
His size certainly makes him a question mark in the NFL, but he is absolutely a playmaker. You can never have enough guys that are flat out dangerous with the ball on your team and when you've got 90 roster spots to fill, high upside guys like Devine are a no brainer. His experience in punts and kickoffs could certainly help him find a spot on the roster.
Redskins’ OLB Brian Orapko spoke to the media in DC today and declared "This year we’re not going through all that Albert nonsense…" in reference to $100 million flop Albert Haynesworth. Certainly Orapko is not the only guy in the Skins organization to feel that way and the general thought is that the team will be happy to get rid of Albert.
But how do they that? According to Clark Judge, they will attempt to trade him, even if they can only get a 7th round pick. Why? Because Mike Shanahan is deathly afraid of Haynesworth going to Philadelphia to reunite with Jim Washburn, under whom he had so much success in Tennessee.
“They’ll give him away for a ham sandwich instead of cutting him and running the risk of his showing up in Philadelphia,” our source said.
Haynesworth is set to make about $13 million over the next two years, so while he’s still expensive, it’s not crazy money. That said, it’s far too much if a team thinks that Albert won’t give them much more than he gave Washington. So the real problem for the Skins is not what a team is willing to give up, rather what they’re willing to take on.
The Arizona Republic's Cardinals beat writer Kent Somers wrote an update this afternoon on the status of Arizona's search for a new starting QB. Somers says they've been engaged in some with basically every available QB on the market. They've discussed trades with the Eagles and Broncos for either Kevin Kolb or Kyle Orton as well as kicked the tires on free agents Matt Hasselbeck & Marc Bulger.
One way or the other, Arizona looks likely to find themselves a new starting quarterback in the near future. The question is who and when? In a press conference this afternoon head coach Ken Whisenhunt said that it was too complicated to pull off one of these deals in one day and therefore doesn't expect to acquire a QB today.
There will be some pressure to get a deal done soon however. Hasselbeck is reportedly drawing serious interest from the Titans, the Seahawks are pursuing a trade for Kolb and the Dolphins have been discussing Orton. So unless they want to get left with Marc Bulger, the Cardinals will have to strike soon if they want to get their #1 target, whoever that may be.
After hearing rumors all offseason, everyone assumed that Kevin Kolb would be traded minutes within the start of NFL free agency. Now that we're about two and half hours in, that has proven not to be the case and now several reports say that teams are in no rush to get a deal done. Clark Judge of CBS Sports reports "source close to cards, eagles told me reports that kolb trade imminent are 'very premature.'"
Kent Somers, Cardinals beat writer for the Arizona Republic, says he hears the same thing. NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora says that a reason a trade won't happen as fast as some thought was that any deal for Kolb could be contingent on a teams' ability to sign him to a new contract.
Any Kolb trade would have to include contract negotiations with his new team, and the market remains now as it was expected -- the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals have interest. Kolb also could end up remaining in Philadelphia as well if the Eagles cannot get what they deem to be fair value.
Don Banks of SI.com appeared on NFL Network and said that "it may take a few days" as the Eagles and Cardinals wrangle over a deal, but he expects one to get done and expects CB Dominique Rogers-Cromartie will be part of the deal.
With current punter Sav Rocca a free agent, the Eagles grabbed themselves a punter, Chas Henry from Florida. Henry won the 2010 Ray Guy award, given to the nation’s top punter and was a consensus first team All-American.
With the Eagles plans at punter unclear, Henry probably has a real shot at making the roster. While I would say that it is likely that Sav Rocca is at least brought back to camp, your job as an NFL punter can never be assumed to be safe. So if Henry does well at camp, he could absolutely win the job.
Should he win the job, the Eagles will enter the year with two rookies as kickers. The team drafted Alex Henery out of Nebraska in the fourth round of the draft this year to replace David Akers as placekicker.
So will we see Henery and Henry kicking at the Linc next season? Of course, as the Giants can attest, it can be risky going with a rookie punter.
Teams knocked him for his accuracy issues, but Michael Vick also had accuracy issues early in his career. That all changed last season, though. And at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, Johnson can take some heat in the pocket. Solid pickup for the Eagles.
The team had this to say about Johnson.
"Jerrod Johnson finished his collegiate career holding 24 Texas A&M school records including total offense (8,888 yards), passing yards (8,011), completions (650) and touchdown passes (67). He also holds two Big 12 and A&M records for passes without an interception in one season (225 in 2009) and an overall streak without an interception (242 from 2008-09). His best season came as a junior in 2009, when he set five school single-season records in passing yards (3,579), completions (296), attempts (497), touchdowns (30), and total offense (4,085 yards). In addition, Johnson ranked second on the team that season with eight rushing touchdowns. The Houston, TX, native attended Humble HS, where he was named the Houston Touchdown Club Offensive Player of the Year as a senior."
Brown is a BIG wide receiver and is listed at 6-foot-6, 230 pounds. Could this mean no Plaxico Burress? Possibly.
Brown was a former top recruit, but had problems with his leg and subsequently dropped off the radar. His nickname was "Touchdown Brown" and in his rookie season he amassed 1,117 yards and 12 touchdowns on 67 receptions.
While rookies and undrafted free agents can’t officially sign until Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET, contracts can be negotiated and essentially agreed upon this evening, and the Eagles have already been linked to several players, with TE Martell Webb being the latest undrafted rookie to agree to terms on a likely deal.
Posting on his Twitter account Monday evening that he’ll be “off to Philly in the morn,” Webb is a product of Michigan and will likely compete for the No. 3 tight end job on the Eagles’ roster with Brent Celek locked in as the starter and second-year man Clay Harbor slated to man the No. 2 role.
Webb visited the Jets among other teams prior to this year’s draft, and made two starts at the collegiate level in 2010. A four-year letterman, he primarily played a reserve/special teams role throughout his NCAA career, but arguably won’t hurt as camp competition on the Eagles’ expected 90-man offseason roster.
The Eagles are hard at work bringing in undrafted free agents in an attempt to fill out their 90 man roster that will be coming to camp this Friday. In the last hours they've reportedly agreed to terms with two more UDFAs. The most notable is Cedric Thornton, DT from Southern Arkansas. Thornton is a massive guy at 6-3, 309 and played college ball in division II. He had 8.5 sacks as a junior, but was slowed by an injury all last year. Still, some saw him as a mid round pick after his junior here.
He does have some character concerns stemming from some of the field stuff. Still, a big body with a nasty attitude that our own Tommy Lawlor had as his #4 UDFA target.
Big frame, which is something that Jim Washburn likes in his DTs. Thornton played DE in college. Impressed me at the Senior Bowl where I thought he had the quickest burst off the ball of any DT. Bill Parcells is a big fan of Thornton’s.
The other signing is Indiana WR Terrance Turner. at 6-3, 209 he has a good size and was pretty productive at Indiana. Likely just a camp body.
The NFL has officially opened the door for teams to begin negotiations with their own drafted rookies as well as undrafted rookie free agents. The deals won't become official until tomorrow, but essentially all rookies are free to agree to deals with teams.
The Eagles first signing according to several reports is Miami Hurricanes RB Graig Cooper. Cooper was a very highly touted prospect, but as is the case with a curious numbers of Eagles late round/UDFA targets, he tore up his knee late in 2009 which cost him part of last year and clearly limited his effectiveness last year.
He was really looking to be on his way to stardom after a big freshman year where he racked up the 3rd most rushing yards by a true freshman in Miami history (behind Clinton Portis). He does fit the mold of what the Eagles look for, as he's a very good pass catcher as well as runner.
So like they have several times in the past the Eagles are rolling the dice on a guy being undervalued coming off an injury. And really, with 90 roster spots this year, why not?
With the NFL's free agent frenzy kicking off tomorrow at 10am, it will be an interesting time for the NFC East. With rosters expanding to 90 players, teams will be adding on average about 50 new names to their squad. Included among those are teams re-signing their own free agents, signing other veteran free agents, draft picks and undrafted rookie free agents. The Eagles and Redskins will both have upwards of $20 million in cap space to play with. The Giants and Cowboys however, are in the red.
The Cowboys are currently $13.9 million over the cap, which is the second highest number in the league, behind only the Raiders, who are unbelievably $14.9 million over. Dallas is in a tough position because not only would this make it tough to pursue top free agents, it also hampers their ability to re-sign their own key free agents like RT Doug Free, who is set to get a major pay day.
Of course, there are things Dallas can do to get under the cap. Namely, releasing veterans like Marion Barber and Roy Williams, both of whom make pretty good money that their production doesn't really justify. Getting rid of Barber would save $4.75 million while cutting Williams would save a whopping $12.9 million. So, those two moves alone would at least get them back to even. They could also let go of guys like Terence Newman, Leonard Davis and Marc Colombo and recoup another $7-8 mil in cap space. That said, the Cowboys will not likely be major players in free agency this year and their likely standard of offseason success will be whether they can retain Free.
The Giants are $6.1 million over the cap but they can get under much easier. By cutting former Eagle Shawn Andrews and his $7.5 million cap figure, the Giants are back in the black. However, they also have several major decisions to make that could force several more cuts to make room. Starting RB Ahmad Bradshaw is an unrestricted free agent that will likely demand pretty big money to keep. WR Steve Smith is a free agent and despite coming off an injury filled year, could draw interest as well. The Giants will also have to figure out what to do with Osi Umenyiora, who has publicly criticized the team about their unwillingness to give him a new contract. In fact, in the lawsuit the player filed against the owners, Umenyiora was a named plaintiff and alleged in an affidavit that the Giants lied to him about negotiating a new deal. So whether to trade him or give him a big new contract will be another major issue.
All salary cap info comes from ESPN.
With the free agent and trade frenzy set to begin tomorrow at 10 am, nearly everyone expects Eagles QB Kevin Kolb to be traded. The only question is where and for what? According to Adam Caplan, the fight still appears to be on in the NFC West over who will win the race for Eagles QB Kevin Kolb.
Continue to hear the Seahawks' interest in Kolb has not regressed. KK still is expected to go to the Cards. But if things break down.....
The one good thing about the lockout ending so close to the start of the season is that there isn't a whole lot of time for stupid rumors to sit and marinate. Rumors nowadays should be taken with a slightly bigger grain of salt. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution is reporting that former Vikings' defensive end Ray Edwards is "expected to land in Philadelphia."
In 14 games last season, the 6-foot-5 Edwards recorded eight sacks and 28 solo tackles.
Apparently, the Falcons have cooled and will channel their resources to prevent their own players from departing via free agency. Per Ledbetter, Edwards is likely ticketed for the Philadelphia Eagles. That would make sense when you consider Brandon Graham, the club’s first-round draft pick a year ago, is in doubt for this season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his knee.
(H/T Philly Sports Daily)
Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals has been a recurring rumor all summer. Multiple Arizona based beat writers have reported on it, logically it makes total sense and the general consensus is that their interest is real. The latest rumor comes from XTRA 910-AM sports radio who cites a source that says the Cardinals have settled on Kevin Kolb as their QB of choice when the lockout ends and are prepared to offer cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie straight up in trade.
Makes sense for both teams... AZ desperately needs a QB; Kolb has the biggest upside of the QB that could be become available. They have ID Kolb as the guy.
Philly needs a corner Nnamdi Asomugha is the number one free agent (take QB's out of he mix), Ike Taylor is 31 yrs old and would like to cash in...DRC is under contract the next 2 yrs making over about a million per yr. So the Eagles won't have to pay any signing bonus.
For his part, Kolb seems very open to a trade to Arizona. As a guest of the Dan Patrick show today, Kolb was asked about the rumored trade.
"I hope," Kolb said. "Arizona would be a great place. I've obviously envisioned myself there."
This isn't the first time this offseason he's expressed an interest in the Cardinals. Back when Larry Fitzgerald kind of endorsed Kolb as the teams' next QB, Kolb said he was flattered and hoped the Cardinals would be in the mix if the Eagles decided to trade him.
"If he's not the best than he's one of the best WRs in the NFL, a superstar, for a guy like that to say something about me it means a lot. Awful flattering and if something happens I hope their name comes up," Kolb said.
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt also did a radio spot recently (with the same guy who reported Kolb for DRC rumor) and while he didn't address the Kolb rumors, he did say he was excited to get a QB.
"Absolutely. I don't know if anxious is the right word. I'm excited to do that, to get the opportunity. I feel confident that when we get the opportunity to do that we're gonna have success and we're gonna be excited about that just because I think we present a good opportunity for a quarterback. With our receivers and some of the things that we do. The one thing as a coach you want to have your team. You want to know what your team looks like, you want to know what challenges you face with that specific team going in and we're not there yet. We have a number of areas that we would like to address. We'd like to be aggressive and improve our football team and that's what we're going to do. You would certainly like for that to be happening right now because you're just excited about wanting to get started and wanting to get everyone up to speed."
So this tells us a couple things. For one, the Cardinals are absolutely 100% in the market for a QB and clearly don't see any of their in house guys as realistic options. Second, if he's "excited" and plans to be "aggressive" wouldn't you think that rules out guys like Marc Bulger and other re-treads? It sounds to me like Whisenhunt is going all out to find a franchise QB. And unless he thinks Kyle Orton is going to turn into a franchise QB on his third try, there's really only one guy on the market with that kind of potential...
The latest stop in Plaxico Burress’ post prison campaign to get signed by the Philadelphia Eagles was a trip to California to hang out with DeSean Jackson. The Eagles pro bowl WR was a guest of Stephen A Smith’s radio show yesterday to talk about meeting with Burress and the prospects of him coming to Philadelphia.
“Honestly, Plaxico just came out to California, me and him just catching up. You know, he was actually a good friend of mine, just looking up to him, playing with the Giants he was just always a phenomenal receiver. So that’s crazy everybody just talking about the Eagles, asking about other teams. But in my mind, I think he would love to come play for the Eagles, you know, he and Vick – he already kind of had a connection with Vick – with him being in prison and him kind of talking to him before. So it might be a connection, bro, I don’t know. But regardless, I wish the best for him, and if he was to come to Philadelphia I think it would be a dangerous combination.”
It should be interesting to see what happens when the lockout is lifted. Burress has made his desire to come to Philadelphia quite clear. Both Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson have endorsed the idea of him being an Eagle… The only thing we don’t really know is whether the Eagles management would have any interest?
Whether he’s telling ex teammates from prison, on twitter or on the radio Plaxico Burress has been telling anyone who will listen that he’d like to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. The latest came today when Burress was a guest of 97.5 The Fanatic. He was asked about the possibility of him playing in Philadelphia.
“It’s definitely attractive,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and say it’s not. I mean I just look at the pieces to the puzzle that’s already in place, and if I can just go out there and fill that void and just be that extra playmaker and go out and have a presence, have an impact, ya know, make the guys better around me, it’s a great opportunity.”
Further, he said that playing with Michael Vick would be a “dream come true.”“Oh, it would be a dream come true,” he said. "I have a lot of respect for Mike, not just as a quarterback but as a person — you know what he’s overcome and what he’s went through and just the way he bounced back. …
“And for me and him to be able to play together … you know we played against each other in high school, we’re pretty much from the same area — everybody back home would go absolutely bananas. And to just have me, him and DeSean (Jackson) and those guys lining up on the same offense on Sunday … it would really be exciting.”
We already knew that he was pals with Vick and he recently revealed that he’s been hanging out with DeSean Jackson… So clearly there wouldn’t be much trouble fitting him into the team from a personality standpoint. The question for the Eagles is simply about what they think he can do on the field and probably at what price will he sign? If he’s willing to do a one year, “prove it” kind of deal, then I expect the Eagles would certainly be interested. Then again, the Eagles will have cap space to burn…
Plaxico Burress was released from prison two weeks ago and professed his desire to resume his NFL career. Today, he took the first step toward that in much the same way that Michael Vick did. He joined up with Tony Dungy and promised to his mistake as a way to educated children. Dungy said today that his experience with Vick makes him think that Burress can have similar success.
"Plax told me, ‘I can be better. ... I was banged up my last year. I was not healthy. So I haven't been able to run and work the way I would, but I'm healed up so I can be better,'" Dungy said. "After what happened with Mike, I can't doubt it. There's something that, as a coach, tells me I don't believe that, but I'll have to let it play out and see."
Burress signed on with the National Urban League to promote gun safety and generally healthy lifestyles for kids and young adults. Plaxico says he's honored to have Dungy by his side.
"It's an honor. He's a man of great integrity, of great faith," Burress said of Dungy's reaching out to him. "I have a lot of respect for him, with everything he's accomplished in life. For him to reach out to me in a time and a situation where a lot of people shied away, it meant a lot to me."
Dungy was also asked about the rumors that Burress could potentially be heading to Philadelphia to join up with Vick. He didn't sound like he really knew either way.
"I don’t know that would be the case. He wants to be some place where he’s wanted, where he’s comfortable," Dungy said, throwing a bit of cold water on the possibility. "I don’t think playing football is the most important thing for him now. He wants to play very badly and feels like he had two years to rest his body up, so he’ll be able to play. But just like with Mike, I think it becomes important but not the most important thing."
That will certainly be the next question for Burress. He's attempting to follow in Vick's footsteps as far as rebuilding his life, but will he now follow Vick to Philadelphia to try and rebuild his career?
In the weeks leading up to Plaxico Burress' release from prison, speculation started to grow about the possibility of him ending up with Eagles. We heard a lot of speculation about why the Eagles might be interested and of course we heard that Plaxico is interested in coming here... But we never really heard a solid report coming from the Eagles about any interest.
Until now? The Inquirer's Jeff McLane tweeted this morning that after speaking to some team sources, there is "certainly interest."
Re: Plaxico Burress and the #Eagles. Spoke to several team sources and there's certainly interest there. But no decision will be made until they can meet face to face with him.
I would imagine that this is the sentiment a lot of teams share on Burress. He's not going to be one of these free agents snapped up on day one of free agency. Teams are going to have to have a serious discussion with him, they're going to have to work him out.... So there's really going to be no rush. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus will do his due diligence. So anyone that wants a chance at Burress will certainly have the opportunity.
Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said this week that they evaluate all players on the market and that if they considered signing Burress, the process would be similar to the one they went through with Michael Vick.
"It would be similar," Lurie said. "Any player, if there's issues off the field, we have to ascertain . . . are they going to represent the Eagles and the community that we serve? Are they going to be part of events like this? Michael has shown this. If a player is not willing to be part of the culture we have, then I don't think it's a good fit."
"You can evaluate his talent. You can evaluate his age. But you can't evaluate where his heart and his head are at the moment," Lurie said. "Until you can do that . . . it's far from enough information."
Lurie continued, "We've shown we'll take chances if it's warranted."
While it is important to decide whether he'll be productive and whether he'll fit on the team, the Eagles won't have to deal with the level of criticism in signing Burress as they did with Vick. There's no doubt that Burress accidentally shooting himself in the leg was an irresponsible and stupid act, but people will likely find that much easier to forgive than all the heinous things that Michael Vick did.
Drew Rosenhaus is a smart guy. He knows how the NFL works and he knows how to play the media. He's part shark, part carnival barker and his many skills were on full display as his client, Plaxico Burress was released from prison this morning. The former Giant sported a Phillies cap, a not so subtle nod to Burress' interest in playing for the Eagles when the lockout ends. Don't put it past Rosenhaus to have placed that cap on his head.
Rosenhaus says that Burress will be in demand when football returns.
"He will play in the NFL this year," Drew Rosenhaus, Burress' agent, said in an email to The Associated Press. "Many teams want him. He will be a top free agent. He is healthy and ready to go. He will be signed shortly after the lockout ends."
Of course, we know the problems here. He's 34 years old and just spent the better part of two years in prison. Neither conditions that make for a "top free agent." At best, Burress will get an incentive laden deal that a team can get out of any time. But will that be from the 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."
And now of course he waltzes out of prison with a Phillies cap on. You can expect to see plenty of stories over the coming weeks with "sources" speculating on the Eagles interest. Smart money says that half of those sources will simply be Drew Rosenhaus himself.
As of yet, the Eagles have expressed no interest and no reports have made any confirmation of any interest on their part. We've seen mostly just speculation. So the Rosenhaus campaign is underway, will the Eagles bite?
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 PhiladelphiaEagles.com) 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.
Of all the teams reported to have interest in trading for Eagles QB Kevin Kolb, the Arizona Cardinals seem to have the most rumors swirling around them. A number of national reporters like Sal Paolantonio and John Clayton have all but guaranteed that Kolb will be in Arizona next year. However, today we got some local confirmation of that from Kent Somers, the Cardinals beat writer for the Arizona Republic.
Whenever they are able, the Cardinals will pursue a trade for Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb. Kolb had highs and lows last season, but if you are looking for reasons to be excited about him, check out this highlight video of his game against the Falcons. He completed 23 of 29 for 326 yards and three touchdowns against good defense.
It’s nice to see someone take a reasonable approach in attempting to evaluate Kolb. All too often this offseason, we’ve seen lazy writers look up his career stats and either compare them to full time starters or try to draw conclusions from them.
Kevin Kolb has seven career starts, meaning he’s essentially a rookie in terms of in game experience. What he did in mop up duty in second year at the end of a game in Baltimore is not relevant. If you’re looking to evaluate Kevin Kolb and get some real picture of the QB he could be, look at the Eagles games against Atlanta, San Francisco and Tennessee from this year. He started all of those games with a week of preparation and actually played with the starters (unlike the last game against Dallas).
“We want to compete at every single opportunity. That’s one that’s been out there,” Carroll said. “Those kinds of discussions, it doesn’t matter where it’s coming from, we’re trying to be privy to all of it.” “Anybody coming through Andy’s program has been through a great system, great coaching and leadership,” Carroll said, referring to Eagles coach Andy Reid. “That adds to the value of a player rather than a guy who is coming fresh out of college.”
Carroll’s last point is what could really make Kolb such a hot commodity this offseason. Assuming the labor dispute drags on all summer, it’s going to mean a lost year for the rookie QBs. So if you’re a QB needy team, it could be a lost year for you as well if you take a rookie. However, with Kolb you’ve got a guy that is still young and can be your QB of the future, but also one that has some NFL game experience and has been trained in a good system.
But what if the labor dispute runs through the draft and Kolb can’t be traded? According to Andy, the Eagles could still deal Kolb later in the summer for future picks.
“A future pick, that doesn’t bother me,” Reid said. “Depends on what that pick is. Maybe there has to be something else involved with it, but that’s all right.”
Following yesterday's report that a mystery team has an offer of a first round pick on the table for Eagles QB Kevin Kolb, the rumor mill has really started to heat up. This is odd of course, because no player trades can be made during the work stoppage(which has no end in sight) and the draft is only a month away. That said, I suppose NFL GMs have to proceed as if business will be back to normal by the draft just in case it is.
Eagles president Joe Banner told the Inquirer today that the market for Kolb has been "more aggressive" than the market for Donovan McNabb was and that the teams who are pitching the Eagles are "the teams people are guessing they are." Banner says that the amount of teams interested in Kolb has grown since last year.
"the pool of teams interested in him is much bigger this year, by the dynamic of how many teams need a quarterback and how few other options there are to get one. There were a group of teams that last year tried to get by with OK quarterback situations and it didn't work out very well at all - all the West Coast teams, the Carolinas, the Miamis."
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