It's no secret that the Philadelphia Eagles have cleared a lot of cap space recently. It's also no secret that they made those moves for a reason with free agency looming: they're going to spend.
CBS NFL insider Jason La Canfora recently published a column about the Eagles-Bills trade involving LeSean McCoy and Kiko Alonso and what it means for the future. Here's what he had to say about Philadelphia. Bold emphasis mine:
"So, what does it mean for the Eagles? Well, this decision, coupled with cutting guys like Trent Cole, Todd Herremans and Cary Williams, has created ample cash room. Not cap room – they already had plenty of that – but cap room in which to invest heavily in this year's budget with the cash out-lays earmarked for those veterans now gone. It sets the stage for Kelly to rebuild his secondary – he is very fond of Bill Belichick and watched Belichick take a revamped secondary to another Lombardi a few weeks back – and sources continue to tell me that corner Byron Maxwell and safety Devin McCourty are top targets for Philly.
They may go ahead and risk overspending on a pass rusher, particularly Pittsburgh's Jason Worilds, who sources say the Eagles have particular interest in and fits their scheme. The Eagles will likely continue to try to make efforts to keep receiver Jeremy Maclin prior to the market opening next week."
The Eagles have already been linked to Maxwell and Worilds (mutliple times each) but they haven't been officially linked to McCourty yet. But it's no surprise Kelly wants to revamp the Philadelphia secondary considering that's been a major weakness for the team in recent years. With Cary Williams released and both Bradley Fletcher and Nate Allen scheduled to be free agents, it's likely that safety Malcolm Jenkins will be the only member of the Eagles 2014 starting secondary to return.
The Eagles went on a big spending spree in the 2011 offseason ("DREAM TEAM") and it didn't work out so great. But that doesn't seem to be scaring off "Big Balls" Chip in this case. Especially because the team has holes to fill and they might not be able to do that with draft picks. Which leads us to this:
"They are primed to splurge, with Kelly miffed about missing the playoffs last year and someone who I suspect will dangle no shortage of future draft picks to move up and draft Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Kelly ain't worried about tomorrow and if he decides he's not long for this pro stuff he can always go back to the college ranks at anytime and cash in big time there.
People in contact with Kelly through his initial NFL coaching interviews say he gushed about Mariota even way back then, calling him the most talented player he had ever worked with, a tremendous kid and glowing quarterback whom Kelly believed "would win multiple Super Bowls." So shipping Nick Foles and a bunch of high picks won't scare him in the least and it's fair to say he would see Mariota as a day one starter and not a developmental guy. Grab Mariota, find your running back in the mid-rounds and away you go. If he still had Jackson and McCoy counting close to $20M, the reshaping wouldn't be possible."
This offseason is going to be CRAZY.