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The Linc - Eagles Pegged As Free Agency Winners

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 3/17/2014.

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NFC East free agency roundup, Giants edition - Jimmy Kempski,
It's easy to look at the losses of Justin Tuck, Hakeem Nicks and Linval Joseph, and come to the quick conclusion that the Giants got worse as a football team this offseason. All three of those players were instrumental in the Giants' Super Bowl run in 2011, but have not maintained that same level of play. Nicks is rarely 100% healthy, Tuck is a player clearly in decline, and Joseph, while still an effective starter, was not worth the high price tag paid by the Vikings. The Giants are indeed not as good a team without Nicks and Tuck in their primes, but that would have been the case whether the Giants lost them or not. Teams will often fall into the trap of either paying players on past accomplishments, or hanging on to false hope that they will once again become the players they once were. The Giants were willing to move on from players who are unlikely to help much in the long-term, which is what good front offices do.

Chip Speaks - Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz
I am fine with the focus on STs. That’s not the sexiest part of team building, but it can be really important. Kelly placed emphasis there last year, but only got mixed results. The STs did improve from 2012, but not nearly as much as Kelly wanted. Part of that is due to Jason Phillips getting hurt. The Eagles signed him last year to be a backup ILB and key STer. He g0t hurt and missed the season. Phillips was going to be a focal point of the coverage teams. Colt Anderson missed a couple of games due to injury and that didn’t help. The return game was a major disappointment. The Eagles will likely add another player or two with return skills (in the draft/as UDFAs). They want some competition for the PR and KOR spots.

NFL free agency: Raiders' woes continue; Broncos, Patriots all-in - Judy Battista,
The Eagles coach gets a new toy in Darren Sproles. And while that toy might not be very shiny anymore -- Sproles' production has begun to decline -- it's still a powerful one in terms of Sproles' ability as a receiver, running back and returner. Kelly, who might be close to matching Sean Payton's reputation as an offensive designer, could deploy Sproles in a limited role as running back LeSean McCoy's best buddy on an offense that also includes DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and Brent Celek. Did you like the pinball offense on cleats that Kelly ran at Oregon? He might be getting closer to unleashing it with the dual-threat Sproles in the fold. This is not good news for the rest of the NFC East, which was already struggling to contain Philadelphia

Free-agency winners and losers - John Clayton, ESPN
Philadelphia Eagles: Playoff teams with good starting quarterbacks on their first contracts can be strategic players in free agency and in personnel. That's what the Eagles are. Nick Foles is in the third year of his rookie contract, and the Eagles had plenty of cap room available. Like Seattle last year, they are grabbing at available opportunities. The New Orleans Saints shopped Darren Sproles and the Eagles had no problem putting his $3.5 million salary in their backfield with LeSean McCoy. They locked up key offensive linemen with contracts through 2016. Last year, they were in a rush to revamp their secondary. This year, they had the luxury to strategically make it better with the additions of safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback Nolan Carroll, who might be a good third corner.

What about Vick? - Zach Berman, Inquirer
There is little significant buzz about Michael Vick, although two quarterback-needy teams remain possibilities: the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders. Neither team has addressed its quarterback situation this offseason, and both teams have head coaches who need to win in 2014 - Rex Ryan in New York and Dennis Allen with the Raiders.

How Do New Eagles Fit Roster? - Dave Spadaro,
We are so early in the process and, of course, the picture will change as the roster grows and, certainly, when the pads go on, but why not project a bit on how the newest Eagles project for 2014?

NFL free agency 2014: The best and worst moves so far - Jeff Gray, SB Nation NFL
Some teams have landed major targets at bargain prices. Others have blown big money on mediocre talent. We take a look at the best and the worst of free agency's first week.

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