How The Eagles Spending Spree Impacts The Rest Of The Offseason
By Scott Daniels
Free agency in the NFL has become an all-out circus with players seeking huge deals and the usual suspects overpaying for talent. In the first few days of this high stakes flea market, teams are so overzealous they make more bad deals than Fannie Mae.
Did the Miami Dolphins really give Mike Wallace $60 million over five years with $27 million guaranteed? I’m not saying that he’s a bad receiver, but this deal is a perfect example of how a team overreacts in the wee hours of free agency. The Dolphins immediately upgraded their wide receiver core, but they paid a hefty price. Anyone remember the deal that Larry Fitzgerald got?
Now let’s take a look at what the Eagles have done since free agency has begun. Connor Barwin received what looked like to be a megadeal but, upon closer inspection, only a small amount was guaranteed money. This kind of frugality is why the Eagles brass has such a solid reputation for being smart yet thrifty. And while it's nice to have this reputation, they still don't have a Super Bowl championship.
They’ve also inked an entirely new secondary that could either reinvent the Eagles pass defense or could be a major disaster. The signings of S Kenny Phillips, S Patrick Chung, CB Cary Williams and CB Bradley Fletcher were well needed, but these guys have never played together. Who knows if they will gel on the field or not? Corners and safeties love to point the finger at each other after giving up a big play, so here’s to hoping they just all get along.
Interestingly enough, while it appeared the Eagles secondary got burnt week in and week out last season, they actually ranked ninth against the pass, giving up an average of 217 yards per game. However, this stat is flawed because teams were so successful against the Eagles on the ground. In short, the Eagles defense was miserable.
Now that the Eagles have hopefully addressed their secondary concerns, they now need to focus their attention on a beleaguered offensive line that provided zero protection last season. Michael Vick may hold onto the ball a little longer than he should, but he took a pounding due in part to his O-line’s inability to block anything.
With the host of picks they have in next month’s draft, the Eagles could be gambling hard on selecting young, quick lineman who can able to get downfield in a hurry. This type of style suits Kelly’s high speed offense and, frankly, the line can’t possibly perform worse than it did last year.
The Eagles still have $23 million to spend this offseason, so they are likely not finished acquiring talent. There are plenty of guys still on the market, and the Eagles have the cash to attract them. OT Ryan Clady is still out there, but he’s been franchised, so the Eagles will likely pass on him. G Brandon Moore, OT Sebastian Volmer and OT Andre Smith are also available, and they would be solid additions to the Eagles’ offensive line.
What made the Eagles so frustrating last season was their offensive talent was wasted by poor line play. LeSean McCoy would be a scary back on a team with a competent line. The Eagles can still go after some solid prospects to solidify their line, but their patience could cost them in the end.