Friday, March 07, 2008

Pack Your Things And Get Out

The Eagles gave Takeo Spikes his outright release yesterday- which serves as a sort of bookend to the Asante Samuels signing earlier in the week.

Now, I was neutral on the acquisition of Samuels- arguing it was a move made out of weakness and at a high cost/performance ratio, problematic in a capped league. But, fair is fair- and consequently, the dismissal of Spikes is a solid organizational move, a move made from strength, and will probably serve to make the Eagles better.

First, it means the Eagles drafted linebacker pretty well lately. Their linebacker situation is loaded with young guys on inexpensive first generation contracts- and the emerging Stewart Bradley needs to have a place to play. I doubt any of the three starting linebackers is guaranteed to be better than Spikes- but all won’t be much worse either, cost literally a small fraction of the $5M Spikes was due, and eliminate the injury-risk associated with a thirty-something player.

Second, it means the Eagles handed Spikes a contract of some intelligence. The contract is fully amortized; the Eagles owe no cap hit. The release generates a pure savings of a five million cap figure potentially due for 2008. Spikes was true free option- try him for a year, see if it works out. He had a nice year, he got the audition and one year payday he wanted; the Eagles got flexibility and a year to groom their young linebacker talent.

So if I was soft on the Samuel situation, almost be definition I have to be strong here. This is a move made from strength and lowers the cost/performance ratio- freeing up $5 million to deal with more pressing matters than retaining an risky linebacker with increasingly no place to play.