Bleeding Green Nation ran a poll last week asking users to grade the Philadelphia Eagles moves in free agency. With over 5,800 votes cast, 55% voted for a "B" grade, 20% voted "A", and 18% voted "C". It just so turns out that ESPN tends to agree with the assessment made by Eagles fans. Philadelphia was given a "B" in Mike Sando's In$ider column grading all 32 team's free agency moves. Here's the explanation:
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Key re-signings/additions: RB DeMarco Murray, CB Walter Thurmond, RB Ryan Mathews, CB Byron Maxwell, LB Kiko Alonso, QB Sam Bradford, ILB Brad Jones
Key subtractions: WR Brad Smith, CB Bradley Fletcher, CB Cary Williams, OLB Casey Matthews, DE Cedric Thornton, RB Chris Polk, TE James Casey, WR Jeremy Maclin, S Nate Allen, G Todd Herremans, DE Trent Cole, RB LeSean McCoy, QB Nick Foles
The Eagles have been one of the more fascinating teams in free agency. For that reason, I was eager to solicit opinions on them from all our analysts.
Riddick: "You can say Philadelphia paid through the nose for Byron Maxwell, who I am a fan of, and for Murray. I cannot say I do not like the moves. It is price more than anything. I'm more interested in how Chip Kelly is going to protect Sam [Bradford]. If I am an opposing defensive coordinator, I am saying knock the crap out of Sam every time there is a zone-read play, regardless of whether he keeps the ball, which obviously he is not going to do."
Polian: "If Bradford plays well, then they did awfully well. If he does not, then it is a different story altogether. I thought the McCoy trade was a good move with what they needed to do defensively. Murray dropped into their laps. Good move."
Williamson: "They want to be fast, young and aggressive on defense. Keeping Graham, adding Alonso and overpaying for Maxwell helped them do that. Bradford has a chance to be quite good. I cannot think of anyone who had less run game/offensive line/receivers than Bradford had when he was on the field in St. Louis. Bradford is better than Foles. As much as I like McCoy, Chip robbed the Bills. Alonso is a really good linebacker. One place where Chip might have some hubris and he might be right because it worked for two years is the idea that his sport science team will keep guys healthier. Mathews, Bradford and Alonso have all been hurt."
Yates: "The hard part with Philadelphia is people are trying to assess all of the moves they have made and weave them into one big plan as if they were all a byproduct of something that had taken place or was going to take place. At the same time, the McCoy trade seemed to be about two things. Chip likes a one-cut runner, and then Alonso is a big-time add on the cheap. That was impressive to add Alonso.""
I think B is a pretty safe grade. It's really a "wait-and-see" situation based on what the Eagles did so it's really hard to rush to judgement. The team lost some key players but also added some. The Eagles are definitely different. But are they better?
Around the NFC East, the Washington Redskins earned an "A-" under new GM Scot McCloughan. Like the Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys also earned a "B". Meanwhile, the New York Giants finished last in the division with a "C".