NFL free agency rumors: Eagles show interest in DL Ricky Jean-Francois

Chris Graythen

The quasi-free agency period that is the NFL's "negotiation period" has just about 48 hours to go before the frenzy begins for real on Tuesday at 4pm. The period has so far been very light on Eagles news, but that may be changing.

Matt Barrows, 49ers beat writer for the Sacramento Bee, is reporting the Eagles are among several teams that have expressed an interest in San Francisco DL Ricky Jean-Francois. He's a player the Eagles have been rumored to be targeting for weeks.

RJF (as we'll call him) will be entering his 4th season after being taken in the 7th round of the 2009 draft. Over his first 3 seasons he's been used largely as a rotation player and not a full time starter. With a number of 3/4 or hybrid teams interested in him now, it's likely that he's going to get paid closer to that starter level.

And at 26 he may be ready to make that jump. RJF doesn't offer a lot in the way of a pass rush, but is an excellent interior run defender. There are some around the league that wonder if he can make the jump to a 3 down guy or is best served as a rotational player

"Solid in-line run defender," an executive in personnel for an NFL team said last week. "Average pass rusher. He'd add good 3-4 defensive end depth and potential base-down starter as a five-technique 'dirty work' player. I'd prefer him more in the rotation than as a (starter)."

Even as a regular part of the rotation, RJF could add value the Eagles front 7 as they transition to this new system. After the departures of Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson, the team is certainly in need of capable bodies up front and RJF would certainly fit that bill. Plus, his lack of pass rush ability would be less of a concern here where the team has a number of pass rushers but several question marks as to where the run defense will come from.

The question is at what price can RJF be had? And if that price is high, can he develop into an every down type of player that would justify it?

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