The Linc - The Eagles Quietly Thrived in Free Agency

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 3/15/2014.

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Chip Kelly collects award, talks to reporters on a variety of topics - JimmyK, Philly.com
And finally, Kelly was asked about the rumors surrounding DeSean Jackson, and his importance to the team. Kelly replied, "He's a priority at receiver, before Maclin, behind Cooper, or is it Cooper before Maclin, or Maclin before Cooper? So I'll check what you write, and I'll tell you how we feel about it."
[...]
The Eagles have had plenty of opportunities to simply say, "DeSean Jackson is an Eagle and will remain an Eagle, end of story." But they haven't.

More Help for the Defense? - Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz
The Eagles have had a busy week so far, adding 5 new players and re-signing Donnie Jones. There is still more work to be done. I know some of you would still like impact additions, but I’m just not sure those players are available, if they ever were. The players that are available are more of the "solid" variety than the star variety. That’s not bad news, though. The right "solid" player can still offer impact. Think back to last year. Was Danny Woodhead coveted? He had a huge year for the Chargers. Even King Dunlap played well for them. The Eagles got a steal in Connor Barwin, who I think was disappointed in how little interest he drew. Mike Mitchell turned out to be a great signing for the Panthers. I don’t think anyone made a fuss over Karlos Dansby going back to Arizona. He had a monster year for them.

Chip Kelly's Eagles Quietly Thriving In Free Agency - Football Nation
Despite the great start to free agency, fans still held out hope that Jairus Byrd would come to Philadelphia, considering T.J. Ward had just been locked up by the Broncos. Unfortunately, he would sign with the Saints later that evening. In the end though, was it really that unfortunate? Byrd signed a six-year contract worth a jaw-dropping $56 million. The Eagles could have infact aforded it, but Kelly was smart to not pull the trigger. It would have instantly killed their cap space and limited the amount of FA's they brought in, not to mention drastically affected how future contracts would be handled (Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Nick Foles, etc).

QB Velocity Rankings: Nick Foles has an objectively strong arm - Bird Breakdown
Arm strength for NFL quarterbacks is typically a relatively subjective assessment. Without hard data, it’s tough to say definitively who has strong arms and who doesn’t. Personally, I’ve always wondered why they don’t have QBs do a long distance toss or throw for a radar gun at the combine. Perhaps they fear it would hurt the players’ arms? Well, apparently there’ve been speed guns at the combine for years, and Ourlads.com has the results for 2008-2014, which I’ve compiled into a chart below.

Chip Talks Free Agency, Eagles Issues - Tim McManus, Birds 24/7
"Free agency I think is just additions to your teams. I think the best thing we did as an organization is we signed Jason Peters, we signed Jason Kelce, we signed Coop, we signed Donnie Jones, we signed our good players back before they had an opportunity to go to free agency," he said. "You look at free agency as a way to complement. We’ve been here a year now, we still have some holes in terms of being a complete football team, and you can fill some of them in free agency. But we still have a ways to go."

NFL Free Agency 2014: Why Teams Are Suddenly Spending Like Mad - WSJ.com
Those unintended consequences stem from a confluence of factors. They include a quickly rising salary cap—the league-mandated limit on what teams can spend on their roster—and a little-discussed clause in the league's 2011 collective bargaining agreement with the players association, which said teams must spend 89% of the salary cap in cash over a four-year period.

NFL Free Agency, Day 3: Breakin’ Up
Jason Hatcher continued Washington’s long-running fascination with defensive linemen from the rest of the NFC East, as it signed the 31-year-old to a four-year, $27.5 million contract. It’s a classic Washington overpay. Hatcher was a competent 3-4 end for most of his career in Dallas, but he broke out last year once Dallas moved to the 4-3 and played him as a penetrating defensive tackle. Under the tutelage of All-World defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, Hatcher had 11 sacks, nearly doubling his career total in the process. The Washington signing naturally takes him away from Marinelli, but it also moves him back into the 3-4, which hardly plays to his strengths

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