Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Frank Decides Who To Sign

This should be a “fun” off-season for Philadelphia- as they have a ton of extra draft picks (four I think- and three in the first five rounds) and they are a solid eight figures under the cap. Thus the campaign begins to maintain the Eagles' apparent astonishing nine game edge in NFC East. Philadelphia can even afford Coles and Gardner- young wideouts who are oh so weary of Gibbs 1960s passing attack. But they will have to accept Banner’s cap friendly number and recognize TO’s leadership. Psst.... watch the ‘skins offer Reese three years, six million.

A lot of the Eagles moves are semi-automatic. There is no long term deal out there for Westbrook- so you merely tender him for a year. Try real hard to bring Trotter in for a fair number.

They need to try and keep Adams. I hate spending on ‘backers, but he’s so young. Plus, I think he might be sort of affordable as teams are increasingly wary of spending on linebackers- and particularly spending on Eagles’ linebackers. But we all know how Banner loves paying linebackers. I'd hate to see a guy with six good years of solid productive play ahead of him walk. But I'd rather make mistakes with guys who are 25 than 30.

The one guy with leverage is Burgess- who was arguably the MVP of the defense in the play-offs. He brings every thing you want in an edge player- size, quickness, nastiness- so if the Eagles overspend, it’ll probably have to be here. With Burgess, the Freak, Kalu coming back, etc. defensive end joins the defensive backfield as the Eagles’ deepest position.

Blake showed nothing in numerous auditions; he’s out of here. Neither did Detmer by the way. I always sort of liked Detmer as a back-up. Until this year, the Eagles could probably squeeze some competent starts out of him- albeit with turnovers- in a pinch. But Detmer looks a little shot, a little arm-weary, and accordingly Philadelphia needs to get another quarterback in here real quick.

DT Corey Simon is an odd player. He is an okay-plus run stuffer, he’s sort of durable, he can kind of get after the passer. As they say, you have to block him. It is hard to point to a game and say “the Eagles lost because Simon was a negative.” And of course, in today’s NFL, guys who can contribute steadily in the trenches, are semi-young, and can stay on the field are hard to find. In fact, teams need to stockpile DTs in today’s professional game- to have a solid defensive front you need at least three who can contribute. Had Simon played the way he did the last half of the season all the time; he’d have hit the lottery in free agency. But in the past, Simon has gotten hurt, he’s maybe got two years of real prime left and he isn’t a truly great player. He’s the sort of guy you simply do not want to commit $20 million too. In short, he’s the sort of guy you franchise- make play a year at $5 million. Yes, that is probably too much for Simon- but it is only one year- which makes it bearable.

Now, I must be out of the loop on the wide out thing. I can't see the Eagles making any changes there. First, doesn't Greg Lewis looks real, real ready to contribute as a number two? Finally, it appears the Eagles have developed a solid NFL wide out. Second, this consensus that either Mitchell (probable) or Pinkston has to go; I am not so sure. Both Pink and FredEx are cheap. Like a lot of extensions given to draft picks, their contracts are so front-loaded. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but let's say their on some sort of four year, seven million deal. Figure a little less than three million of that was probably up front- so now they're at a million or so per annum.

So what do you gain by replacing them? You’re not saving that much money. Anybody you bring in here to be a third/fourth receiver- or really fourth and fifth with Westbrook around- is going to have similar holes and cost similar dollars- albeit a little less. Maybe the fifth wideout is cheap if you're developing a guy- but are the Eagles' really going to draft a WR?

I am convinced Mitchell is a pretty good slot guy. He frankly contributes. Pink, as a fifth receiver- behind Westbrook, probably actually is a plus. I just cannot see them releasing either of these guys to save a few hundred thousand- unless Mitchell does not come to camp or something, there is another real cheap wideout available who can play special teams at a high level, or they unlikely draft a wideout.

I have a sentimental spot for Ike. One good thing about the rash of defensive injuries last year was that Ike got to play some, and play effectively, as a sort of “nickel linebacker”- an unorthodox but ultimately very successful strategy. Wouldn’t he look good for a team that struggles with getting off the field on third down, featuring terrible special teams, and desperately needs a classy locker room presence: Dallas, Washington, Giants? Might they not overpay a little for such a player.

Mayberry is gone. Hurt too much- and our interior offensive line is a problem and he is a part of it. Parry gets on the field so much because Reid doesn’t trust the interior to pass protect consistently. Plus the rookie guard was honestly the best Eagles offensive linemen when the season started. He was a monster against the Giants. I am not saying that’ll continue- but I more confident in him and Hicks making sixteen quality starts than I am in Mayberry. Plus, it is offensive guard! The Eagles will be able to sign quality back-ups merely by flexing their cap muscle by a couple hundred thousand dollars. This isn't the brutally capped out 'skins, you know.

I have no use for Buckhalter or Hugh Douglas. I am sure they are going to draft a running back, and I never thought Buckhalter was that good in the first place. Ritchie better come in real cheap, and accept a special teams role- as one thing 2005 taught us was that Parry is a ferocious and effective NFL blocker/hitter.