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The future of LJ Smith

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LJ is gonna get paid
A few days ago I wrote about how some contracts being handed out this offseason are making the Eagles look smart. The contracts to Lito, Andrews, Brown, and even guys like Herremans look like steals right now. The kind of money guys that play their position but have accomplished less or as much as them are getting much bigger deals. If these guys hit the market in a year or two, they'd be getting even more massive deals. Luckily, they won't hit the market.

That brings us to LJ Smith... LJ has been the one guy lately that has not accepted one of the Eagles long term deals presented to him over the past couple seasons. Barring an injury next year, he's looking pretty smart for doing so. He'll be a free agent after this coming season.

The Broncos and TE Daniel Graham agreed to terms on a five-year, $30 million contract, with $15 million guaranteed this week. A quick peek at Graham's stats the past few years shows nothing special. He's only caught over 30 balls twice. and has never played a full season. Over his last 2 years he's played 11 & 12 games respectively and caught just 37 balls for 470 yds and 5 TDs over that time. Over those same 2 years, LJ has never missed a game and has 111 receptions for 8 TDs and over 1,300 yards. For even further proof that LJ is going to cash in, ex-Giant tight end Visanthe Shiancoe was signed by the Minnesota Vikings for $18 million over 5 years with $7 million guaranteed. Shiancoe has a whopping 35 catches in his four-year career.

LJ is a flat out better and more productive player, meaning it's going to take alot more than five-years at $30 million, with $15 million guaranteed to have LJ Smith on your team at the start of the 08/09 season.

This puts the Eagles in an interesting position. Tight End is a very important part of thier offense and LJ Smith has developed into one of the better ones in the leauge. He's not in the elite tier of Gates & Gonzalez, but he's definetly in the next tier below. So do the Eagles risk losing him or do they give him The monster deal he wants and that someone will give him if they don't? Or do they look to spend a high pick on a TE this year?