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The Linc - Are the Eagles Reluctant to Spend their Cap Space?

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 3/9/2014.

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Eagles free agency 'best bets,' offense edition - JimmyK,
Technically, Sproles is not yet a free agent, but the Saints are reportedly poised to release him if they can't find a trade partner. I'm not sure who would trade for a player they know is going to be released. In theory, you could trade for a player so you don't have to compete with other teams in the free agent market. However, you could probably get Sproles on the open market for lower than his current cap number ($4.25 million), so don't expect the Saints to find a suitor sucker. The Eagles have not had a good kick returner in a long time. Sproles would be an interesting fit in the return game and as a situational receiving threat out of the backfield, but obviously, signing a running back is not an urgent matter.

Eagles' offseason plans: Upgrading the pass rush - Zach Berman, Inquirer
Among the intriguing options are Green Bay's Mike Neal (6-foot-3, 285) and Seattle's O'Brien Schofield (6-3, 242). Neal is a 26-year-old former second-round pick who was actually a 3-4 lineman before converting last season. He's versatile, although he has limited experience dropping into coverage. Schofield, also 26, played outside linebacker for Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis in Arizona. Both players have mostly been reserves in their careers.

Free Agency Philosophy - Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz
I fully acknowledge that you have to overpay for most players in free agency. That’s just how things work. I also understand that top flight players are going to cost a lot of money. The point I’ve tried to make is that you need to spend wisely. If you think a player is a slam dunk fit, go pay huge money for him. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the top free agent at a certain position is definitely worth big money. I agree with many of you that the Eagles should be a championship contender and that they need to make aggressive moves to help push the team to the next level. That doesn’t mean going after free agents at a position of need no matter what. I happen to believe that the best teams are choosy. They are very specific about which players they want to draft and/or sign.

Five Questions: Eagles Free Agency Primer - Sheil Kapadia, Birds 24/7
I don't think I agree with the argument that Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward would be bad scheme fits. Byrd can play in a number of schemes and allows defensive coordinators to play with a single high safety. That's a luxury a lot of teams don't have. The guess here is that the Eagles are not willing to make him the highest-paid safety in the league (if in fact that's what he is seeking), so chances are he ends up elsewhere. But it will be more about the price tag not matching their evaluation than anything else. I also don't see Ward as strictly a box safety. That's his strength, but from what I saw, he's more versatile than he gets credit for and has the ability to match up with tight ends or play deep. If Ward doesn't see the market some expect and teams see him as one-dimensional, the Eagles could pounce. But again, the price has to be right.

Fan-Demonium: Free Agency Primer - Tommy Lawlor,
Everson Griffen is a player some people think the Eagles could target. I've got my doubts. He hasn't been a full-time starter in the NFL. He hasn't played in the 3-4. He hasn't played linebacker. That is a lot of unknowns in terms of a free agent target. Can you really offer him big money? If he was willing to sign a mid-level deal, then Griffen could absolutely be of interest. Let him come here and compete for a job.

Eagles have cash but are reluctant to spend - Geoff Mosher, CSN Philly
By "other things going forward," Roseman dropped a big hint about the team’s free-agent strategy and revealed why the Eagles aren’t likely to land Byrd -- who’s seeking upwards of $9 million annually -- or any other free agent seeking to capitalize on Jeffrey Lurie’s prior habit of stretching the pocketbook. Looking forward -- say, one year from now -- several pieces of the Eagles’ nucleus will be eligible for contract extensions. Among them are Nick Foles, Brandon Boykin, Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks and potentially Jeremy Maclin. Roseman has talked all offseason about the team’s newer model of building from within, of manicuring home-grown talent, of stockpiling draft picks and farming them through the system the way Green Bay and Pittsburgh do.

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