It's always disappointing when the Eagles lose in the playoffs, however, this time it actually didn't feel as bad as it did in the Mcnabb years. Most of us expected the Eagles to be in a transition year and expected a 9-7 kind of season. Playoffs if we were lucky. Instead we went 10-6, won the division and lost to a better team in the wild card round by less than a touchdown and oh yeah...discovered the Michael Vick we all expected out of VA Tech. We have big reasons to be optimistic for next year but this team still needs improvements.....badly.
This will be a 5 part series and I'll be covering the top 5 cornerbacks, guards, tackles, weakside linebackers and defensive ends on the FA market. All of which I believe are positions of need. This is all assuming the new CBA gets done and the years required for a player to be an unrestricted free agent reverts back to four. Also assuming the Eagles will retain Vick, Mikell, and Akers. Also assuming none of these players get tagged. Okay, that's a lot of assuming. Let's get down to business...
I will rate them according to the following rating system....
* Poor player
* * Average player
* * * Good, solid starter
* * * * Very good, pro-bowl caliber player
* * * * * Elite, all-pro caliber player
1. Nnamdi Asomugha * * * * * (Age 29)
Everyone knows how good he is so there is nothing I can say that you don't already know. By the way did you know?...
In 2007, opposing quarterbacks tested him only 31 times with 10 completions allowed the entire season.
In 2008, opposing quarterbacks tested him only 27 times with 8 completions allowed the entire season.
In 2009, opposing quarterbacks tested him only 27 times with 13 completions allowed the entire season.
In 2010, opposing quarterbacks tested him only 33 times with 13 completions allowed the entire season.
So yeah, he's good. The only arguments against him is he only played one side of the field in the Raiders' defense and didn't always face the best receivers. The other is he will be goddamn expensive at over 29 years old. Expect negotiations to start at $14+ mil, 4+ years thanks to his previous contract.
2. Brent Grimes * * * * (Age 27)
Has played oustanding ball the last two seasons. A former undrafted free agent is now one of the best ball-hawking corners in the league and an excellent tackler at 5'10 181 lbs. Finished the season with 87 tackles, 23 passes defended, and 5 INTs. He gives up his fair share of completions but pretty much everything is short and underneath. Named the NFC defensive player of the week for his week 15 performance vs the Seahawks.
3. Johnathan Joseph * * * * (Age 26)
Both him and his partner in crime, Leon Hall had down years in 2010 but he is still one of the better corners in the league. He is physical, aggressive, a ball hawk and a solid tackler. 76 passes defended and 14 INTs over the last 5 years.
4. Champ Bailey * * * * (Age 32)
Good 'ol Champ. That's right, key word "old". I was hesitant to give him a 4 star rating but a healthy Champ last season was still pretty good although he's not nearly the same player he was 2-3 years ago. He will be 33 when the 2011 season starts. He himself acknowledges he has lost a step and wants to convert to safety. He also has been dealing with some injuries. He injured his ankle early in the season and re-aggrevated it against the Texans a couple weeks ago. For a one year deal, I'd be glad to have him as our starter at RCB but some team will surely overpay for his declining skills.
5. Richard Marshall * * * (Age 26)
I've liked Marshall as a player for a couple years now. I really wanted the Eagles to sign him as a RFA last offseason but now they'll get a chance to get him in the open market. He doesn't excel at any one thing but does a solid job at everything. He can cover(16 passes defended and 7 INTs the last two seasons), good in run support(3 TFL), tackling(88 tackles), and blitzes well(3 QB hits and a sack). On top of that, he should be pretty inexpensive as well.
Eric Wright * * * (Age 25)
Carlos Rogers * * * (Age 29)
Antonio Cromartie * * * (Age 26)
All I know is, we better not see any more of this next season....