This is my first FanPost, so let me just take a few seconds, or sentences, to introduce myself. My name is Anthony DiBona, I'm 20-years old and have lived in Brooklyn, New York my entire life. I've been an Eagles fan for as long as I could remember and that's pretty much it. For my first post, I just wanted to publish what I would do if I was Howie Roseman, heading into this upcoming week, the beginning of free agency. Here goes nothing! :)
Prior to Free Agency:
Cut Nnamdi Asomugha, this free agent pool and draft class is loaded with solid players in the secondary and freeing up $10+ million is huge for the team moving forward. It really is a no-brainer in my opinion. Also, I believe the only free agents the Eagles should re-sign are Colt Anderson, John Dorenbos and Jake Scott.
Safety is a HUGE need for the Eagles and I believe they will address it by snatching up by signing arguably the biggest name on the market. The name that Eagles' fans have asked and wondered about is safety Dashon Goldson, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers. Now there has been a ton of questions about how much money he wants and if he's worth it, rumors have said he wants $8 million a year, which the Eagles could easily afford but do they really want to? Having made the pro bowl the past two seasons, Goldson would immediately give the Eagles a player with the physicality and toughness that they've been lacking since Brian Dawkins left. I personally believe that the Eagles should sign Goldson to a 4 to 5 year deal, $7-$8 million a year, and finally fill one of the huge holeson the defense with a proven player.
Next up is addressing the cornerback position. After cutting Asomugha and allowing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to walk away, the Eagles will need 2 starting caliber corners heading into next season. Although I absolutely love Brandon Boykin's game, I truly do not believe he can be anything more than a slot corner. Billy Davis already said that he wants physical players on his defense. Chip Kelly also said that he loves "long players" on defense which makes Sean Smith a perfect fit for Philadelphia. The Eagles have been rumored to have interest in Smith and I can see why after watching some tape of him. Now I know Smith gave up the most 1st-down completions, touchdowns, etc.
All that being said, there is no doubting the 25 years-old corner has potential. He is a huge corner, 6'3" and 218-pounds that loves to be physical. But at times, he is too physical and gets burned or lost in coverage. Philadelphia has gotten all too familiar with their corners getting burned the past few years and I can understand the concerns with Smith. He has the potential to be a star cornerback in this league, but does he have the drive to want to do so? There are a bunch of questions with Sean Smith, but I think the Eagles should sign him to a 3 to 4 year deal, paying $5-$6 million a year. I know Smith is rumored to want $8 million a year and $24 million guaranteed, I believe the market will send him back down to reality and more of a reasonable price for him will be had.
Until yesterday, I believed the Eagles would address their need on the offensive line through the draft in either the first or second round but with the release of right tackle Eric Winston from the Chiefs, I believe the Eagles should make him a primary target. One of the top right tackles in the NFL, Winston would fill a void on the right side allowing Herremans to shift back inside to the guard spot. This all really depends on if Jason Peters is completely recovered from his achilles injury, if he is not ready for the regular season, I believe the Eagles should then look at Jake Long. It is still a strong possibility the Eagles could draft an offensive linemen with their first or second round pick, but I believe with the release of Winston, it gives me reason to believe the Chiefs will take Luke Joeckel with the first overall pick.
Switching to a 3-4, or what's assumed to at least be a 3-4 hybrid defense, outside linebacker is an extremely important position. I believe the inside linebackers will be DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks but there is a hole at OLB for Philadelphia. The Eagles do not currently have a player on their roster with NFL experience playing 3-4 outside linebacker. Now Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Trent Cole all could translate into solid outside linebackers but I believe the Eagles need more of a sure thing at the position. I don't think the Eagles will address the OLB position through free agency, but they definitely should take a look at a player like Paul Kruger, who will probably land a huge contract after a great performance down the stretch for the Ravens. I'd absolutely love if the Eagles landed a player like Kruger but I think they should draft a certain player with their first round pick that would fill one of the voids at OLB, which I will discuss in my next FanPost focussing on the Eagles' draft.
Switching to a 3-4 means a lot of change on the defensive line. Fletcher Cox will now be on the outside, playing more of a defensive end role which means the Eagles have a huge need at nose tackle. Although will most likely address their need for a nose tackle in the draft, I believe they will find a few proven defensive linemen in free agency. A hot name, which has been linked to the Eagles is Ricky Jean-Francois. The 6'3", 295-pound lineman can play almost everywhere on the defensive line and is only 26-years old. I believe the Eagles could land him for a reasonable price and give them a potential starter opposite of Fletcher Cox or a very good rotational lineman. Staying in San Francisco, I believe another name the Eagles should take a look at is Isaac Sopoaga. Yes, I know he is a bit up there in age, 31 to be exact, and was phased out of his starting job for the Niners. But I believe Sopoaga can bring a veteran presence to an otherwise young defensive line, and be a solid starter at nose tackle for Philadelphia.
Although it may not be a glaring need for the Eagles, there is a ton of interest surrounding former Titans tight end Jared Cook. Standing at 6'5" and close to 250-pounds, Cook has the speed to line-up almost anywhere on the field and could be a matchup nightmare. Chip Kelly has stated that he likes to have a vertical threat at the tight end position and Cook could be exactly that. The problem may be that Cook could be a bit too high-priced for the Eagles, they do have the cap space but other much higher needs. Another problem with Cook is that his numbers don't really match his potential, looking at his previous combine numbers, size and weight, he should be a dominant force but he has yet to do so. It could just be that he was misused in Tennessee but I think the team should fill their other needs before taking a look at Jared Cook.
Another name to look out for is James Casey. The former Texan was used mainly as a blocker in Houston but many people believe he has the skillet to become a "Swiss-army knife" of sorts and could be a dangerous H-back that I definitely believe Chip Kelly could put to great use.
Other players to watch for: Ed Dickson
So there you have it, that is what I would do if I was in charge of the Eagles for the beginning of free agency. Addressing their primary needs with proven veterans as well as a couple of upcoming studs with loads of potential. Please leave any comments you may have, and I'd love to see what you want the Eagles to do this offseason. Also, be on the look out for my next FanPost with my opinion on what Philadelphia should do in the draft!
Thanks for reading!
- Anthony DiBona