Some may say that its too early to make one of these since the season is far from over. Well, that may be the case but for one I was kinda bored on Turkey Day (couldn't go home since I had to work. I'm a med student), plus I'm just doing what 9/10 were thinking and probably going to do anyways during the off-season. So why not give it a start now?
After this season (Superbowl or not, hopefully though), many high profile names will be possibly hitting the free agent market. There appears to be a no cap year approaching us in 2010 and there are some spots we could heavily address FA. Besides re-signing Jason Avant and Leonard Weaver, here are some other players we could/should target.
DE: Now more than ever we need someone opposite of Trent. He is a man child right now and teams around the league are going to start planning against him. Cole is my favorite Eagle and the last thing I want to see is him slump. Darren and Babin are good change of pace guys. Juqua is older and about as useless as dirt, and Abiamiri...I don't even want to get into that. We need someone who can cause trouble every time he steps on the field.
We know how good he is. We've all seen it on Sportscenter. Imagine him on the otherside of Cole. This is a tough one though because he might want out of Carolina, but they may not let him go. And even if he is let go, he has expressed his desire to be an OLB in a 3-4. But the right contract and playing for a constant contender may change that attitude. (However, with us being the Eagles, I dont know if we will give him remotely what he wants).
Yeah so he was just traded. So what? That doesn't mean he's staying. Nobody wants to be in Oakland. Oakland doesn't want to be in Oakland. And unless Undead Al offers him a unreal contract, I don't see him staying. You might think well they could just franchise tag him. Well it works like this: Kirk Morrison, Thomas Howard, and Richard Seymour are all free agents in 2010. Someone's got to give. Matter fact, 2 people gotta give. I wouldn't hate seeing Seymour in midnight green.
I know he tore his ACL. And I'm a firm believer that when people come back from ACL tears, it takes them at least a year after the surgery till they get back up to there regular speed (which is why I'm not mad at Stacy Andrews). He is definitely not happy with the switch to the 3-4 scheme and he didn't hesistate to broadcast that. We could welcome him back to the 4-3 (46) in Philadelphia. He may not be the same person he was when he left (especially since he turns 30 this year). But he or Cole is going to demand attention leaving one of the 2 one-on-one and I'll take that matchup.
LB: Its no secret. And it definitely can't be disputed anymore, our linebacking core is bad. It is the weak point of our defense, mainly in covering backs and tight ends. We got better once we got Witherspoon (thank God), but its still a problem. Gocong, Gaither, and Akeem are all free agents (well Akeem is a RFA, but I digress) and the only reason I could see bringing any of them back is depth. (Some may say Akeem has been great. No he has been average, but his stats speak louder than his play. He has been caught out of position many times and in nickel situations he was being replaced by Tracy White. Not exactly the best sign. He could provide depth thought.)
I know I'm far from the only Eagles fan with my eye on him. As I said earlier, Oakland has 3 quality players leaving and 2 are mostly likely not to stay. Captain Kirk could be one. He is a good player, possibly great. They say he is a better strong side player than MLB. Thats fine with me because I think Gocong sealed his fate when he let Kellen Davis burn him for that TD. I've heard up and down things about him. Sometimes he shows up, sometimes he doesn't. In my opinion, if he just peaks into the party I'm fine with it. Barring injury he could move around the defense to play MLB or SLB for a few games. Seems worth it to me.
Yall might be saying, "What? For one they are probably going to resign him and two we have Stew." I'll be honest. I was never as impressed with Stew as everyone else. I'm not saying he was bad, but everyone was making him sound like he was already Urlacher. People were rating him based on his talent rather than his play. I believe he had alot of upside, but that ACL injury is going to slow him down. Hate it or love it. He is a prototype MLB, but thats about all I saw from him.
With that being said, Demeco has already established himself as one of the better if not best in the NFL. He needs no explanation. Which is probably why he will be re-signed or franchised. However, if somehow he is able to slip by either one of those options....I'll be waiting for him.
Yes, the Derrick Johnson dream still lives. I don't think I need to explain this since just about everyone on the board has heard about it. He's a free agent, he has talent, and KC is not bringing him back. He is not a 3-4 LB. He is a 4-3 SLB. Exactly what we need in place Chris "Houdini" Gocong. The reason he was benched was because Haley is a terrible coach and he wants DJ to kiss his shoes. Come on, Haley is the same guy who traded Gonzalez, put the best WR (Bowe) on the trading block, put a young and talented Glenn Dorsey on the trading block (after only 1 year), cut Larry Johnson, and cut Bernard Pollard (who now garnering Pro Bowl votes). Need I say more?
The last of fleeing trio of Raiders. He might be the most likely to stay based on his speed (and we know how much Al loves his fast black guys). The only problem that I have with Howard is he is like Michael Boley. He is great against the pass, but not as much against the run. I mean out of the stud duo of Kirk and Thomas someone should be amazing on all cylindars. Kirk's excuse is he is better at SLB, Thomas is a natural WLB. With that being said, our front 4 has been pretty good against the run so he might not have to worry as much. He isn't really a wish because if we decides to keep Witherspoon, then there really is no need for Howard. He can make game changing plays, but it doesn't seem like a need as of now. And I don't think he can play multiple positions so this situation with him doesn't really matter to me that much.
TE: I know we have Brent and as I've said before I am a big fan of Celek. I said when he was drafted I think he is going to be one of the best. (Don't mind what JIBTA says. He doesn't like Celek because he's not a big black guy which I've come to the conclusion JIBTA has a thing for.) But the lack of depth has me a little worried. Alex has been there, but nothing really special (but I guess that comes with being a back up) plus he's on a 1 year contract. I like Ingram but he is coming off his second ACL tear in the same knee and I can't imagine how hard its going to be for him. Especially since he has to come back in and immediately sub for Celek. How he responds has yet be seen, but until then....
The only reason he hasn't voiced his frustration is because he is not that type of person, plus his team has a winning record. But expect for when the season ends (unless he somehow is coaxed by a big contract) to vault to another team. He is an extremely good pass catcher and is starting to become a great blocker since he has been asked to do it more in the Bronco offense. Imagine him and Celek as our tight ends. I would crap my pants if it happened. So, God please let it happen.
Probably the more complete TE between him and Scheff. Bo doesn't possess the physical tools of Tony or Brent, but he can be every bit as effective. He is a better run blocker than both and could provide depth. Its not likely the Titans will let him go though unless they can bring in another effective TE. Alge isn't what he used to be, is a pretty hidden factor, and Jared Cook still has some growing to do. If Scheff is available then I prefer him, but if Bo is out there I don't see a reason not to pull the trigger on him.
I still think he could be available. Apparently has been no talk of an extension and nowadays you don't know what to expect from Belichek (check the Colts-Pats game 2 weeks ago). Ben is a freak athlete. He has been known for his inconsistant hands, but is a great player all in all. He can block well and has the speed to create match-up problems for defenses. If he escapes into free agency I will be keeping my eyes on him.
S: In my opinion, the jury is still out on Sean Jones. It took him till near mid season to win the starting job, but I still don't know about him. He plays hard-nosed, but I can't tell if he out of postition a lot, but he still seems to be a little off in my opinion. That could change (and hopefully will) as the season draws to a close. I like Sean and hope he picks up where he left off we he was playing at a near elite level with the Browns. But he is signed just for 1 year and I don't know how the coaching staff feels about him.
Oshiomogho Isaac "O.J." Atogwe
The other reason people watched the Rams. Him and Witherspoon were the only thing keeping the Ram defense alive. Witherspoon is gone now and OJ is a man standing on an island now. He wasn't quick to sign the one year contract and for good reason. He didn't want be there. But he did the professional thing and stayed. Hats off to him. He is a great FS and a natural one at that. He is a ball hawk and worth value in the FA market. If things don't go right with Jones, OJ will be on my radar.
I really like this guy. I've really liked this guy for awhile. But the only problem I've had with this jackass was the fact that I've had my eyes on him for awhile and suddenly he decides to become an All-Pro player two years before his contract goes up making it harder for the Packers to let him go. Bastard. Anyways, this is a stretch. This is a big stretch. The likelyhood of him lasting in free agency (if he even somehow makes it there) is about as long as a lit match lasting in a pool of water. In my opinion, he could be the best FS in the NFL (yes even better than Polamalu). He is a ball hawk, INT return master, and is great in run support. Even if he hits FA he is going to want a big contract and with Macho showing some promise (I like the kid but don't think he is ready) and pending how Sean is in the rest of the season (or even if we resign him) I don't like our chances of getting Nick. ****Sigh*****
You guys complain about the Andrews brothers jipping the Eagles out of there money? I don't think anyone has jipped any team as bad as Bob Sanders has the Colts. In the 96 games the Colts have played since Bob has been drafted, he has only played in 47 of them. Thats less than half!!! Which brings me to Antoine. He is the only consistent and healthy player in that secondary and he has shown his worth especially when Bobby has gone down. Unfortunately, that also means he recognizes his worth and is going to be looking for a contract that fits him. I don't know if he is spectacular, but I know he is at least solid. But, then again, it is hard to be spectacular when everyone around you keeps going down and you have to coach the replacements on what they are doing. If he is not offered a contract by the Colts (which would be retarded on their part) watch what his moves are in free agency.
Well those are my words. Again, this is just now. I'm not panicing against our players (except the LB core) I'm just keeping my eyes open. If Sean turns out to be phenomenol come the stretch of the season then no problem. More power to him, help bring us that ring. And if he wants to stay, I'll welcome him. If Alex Smith picks it up and Cornelius responds perfectly (highly unlikely) then more power to them. I'm just putting my thoughts out there and who I have my eyes on. If I missed anyone, be my guest and let me know or just leave comments. Brent Celek turned it on at the end of the season so there is no reason for me to doubt that anyone else on this team has those capabilites. The board is yours now.