CB Lito Sheppard, a two time pro bowl corner signed an 8 year $26 million dollar deal with a nearly $9 million bonus with the Eagles. CB Nate Clements, another two time pro bowler just became the highest paid NFL defensive player in history, an eight-year, $80 million contract with $22 million guaranteed. Maybe Nate Clements is considered by some as a better player than Lito, but is he $64 million better? Not a chance. Does anyone think Lito wouldn't have at least gotten twice what he got from the Eagles had he been a free agent?
These are just two examples. I could go on... In the coming years could we be saying the same things about Reggie Brown, Herremans, Cole, Patterson?
Frankly, I already look at Reggie Brown as a steal. Last year the Seahawks gave Nate Burleson a 7 year $49 million contract. On November 9, 2006, Brown agreed to a 5-year contract extension with the Eagles, basically giving him a 7 year deal which locks him up through 2014. That deal can be worth up to $27 million max if he reaches certain incentives. Nate Burleson caught 18 passes last year for 2 TDs. Brown caught 46 for 8 TDs.
I'm not saying that Eagles should never sign free agents. In fact, I'd love for this team to sign a linebacker right now. I am saying however, that free agency is not where you build your team. You do that through the draft and holding onto your players. Free agency should be used to cover up draft mistakes, like the Eagles did in 04 when signed Kearse and traded for TO after several DE and WRs they drafted didn't pan out.