Interesting article, thought I would share with all of you. Ill provide the link and the article.
PHILADELPHIA -- If the Eagles want to have an exciting offseason, and in the process get over their NFC Championship Game hurdle and back to a Super Bowl, all they have to do is follow these next few steps.
So get out of the way, Tom Heckert; move over, Howie Roseman, and get over here, Andy Reid. This is what you need to do before the start of the 2009 season.
Step 1: Place the franchise tag on left tackle Tra Thomas before the end of the week. The franchise tag has never been kind to you, I know. You used it, and later pulled it, from both Jeremiah Trotter and Corey Simon in the past, and then kind of wasted it on L.J. Smith last year.
Thomas is a different case altogether. You really only want to get another year out of him, so tag him, pay him a nice sum of $8 million and know you have the left tackle situation under control in a year when you're going for it all. The last thing you need is an unproven tackle (remember Winston Justice) protecting Donovan McNabb's blind side.
Step 2: Get on the phone with the new guy in Kansas City, Scott Pioli. Let Jeff Lurie or Joe Banner make the call and they can butter him up by talking about New England. Then ask him about that tight end he has, Tony Gonzalez. It makes perfect sense for the Chiefs to move Gonzalez, who has two years left on his contract and deserves a chance to play for a contender before he retires and heads off to Canton.
You almost made a move for Gonzalez at the trade deadline a year ago. Had it gotten done -- and we're going to blame former Chiefs boss Carl Peterson for that one -- you have to wonder if his presence wouldn't have made a difference against Arizona and then Pittsburgh. We'll never know. But there is always next season.
Gonzalez would solve your offense's major problem -- the red zone. It would also make your group of wide receivers better, make the seldom-used running game better and give young tight end Brent Celek the ideal player to watch and learn how to become a great tight end. A second-round pick would probably get it done, but offer a third-round pick plus one of your two fifth-round picks and a player. Cornerback Lito Sheppard, wide receiver Reggie Brown and linebacker Omar Gaither all appear expendable. Give KC its choice plus the picks.
Step 3: At the very least look into signing free agent running back Derrick Ward from the Giants. Since the Giants put the franchise tag on Brandon Jacobs, it's going to be very difficult for them to sign Ward. Add in the fact they also have another good back in Ahmad Bradshaw, and they probably won't sign Ward.
He's 28, which is a little older than you would like, but as the car salesmen tell you, "He doesn't have a lot of miles." Ward only carried the ball 35 times between 2004 and 2006, had 125 carries (for 602 yards) in 2007 and 182 carries (for 1,025 yards) last year. There is still a lot of tread on his tires. Put Ward and Brian Westbrook in the backfield and even you, Andy, would have to run the ball a little bit.
Step 4: All right, you spent enough money on Thomas, Gonzalez, Ward, plus whatever you decide to do about McNabb and his new deal, so it's time to fix the rest of the problems through the draft.
This year, how about actually using your first-round picks, both of them, and getting a player or two who comes in and plays. With the offense in much better shape, because of Gonzalez and Ward, use the 21st pick on the best defensive player left on the board.
Ideally, it would be a pass rusher. But a linebacker, especially any of the ones from USC, wouldn't hurt either. As long as he can get some pressure on the quarterback, it would be a good thing. Carolina's pick, the 28th overall, could be used on another need that isn't talked about as often -- center. If Cal's Alex Mack is still there, and he should be, he would certainly be an upgrade. I mean, c'mon, you got more than you ever thought possible out of Jamaal Jackson already. In the second round (hopefully, you still have the pick because KC took the other package of picks/players), take the best young tackle on the board to groom under Thomas for a year. There you have it, big fellow. See you in Miami, next February.