If I Was the Eagles’ GM

Oh, how we enjoy second-guessing the brain trusts of our favorite sports teams after they fall flat on their faces and fail to win a championship. We would like to believe we have all the answers and we hold the magic key to unlocking that elusive door to glory. Since I’ve been a loyal follower of the Eagles for over twenty-five years, I’m of the notion that I know what’s best for the guys in green. I feel it’s my right as a long suffering fan to don the GM cap for an afternoon and use my infinite knowledge of all things Eagles to transform the Birds into the 2009 Super Bowl Champions. How will I accomplish this seemingly impossible feat? Sit back and I’ll tell you.

1) Give Donovan McNabb a new deal – Don is still upset over the “benching,” not to mention the deplorable treatment he has received since being drafted ten long years ago. He wants guarantees that he’s the man here, so I’m going to let my checkbook do the talking and restructure his current deal which expires in 201o. I’ll tack on two more years, hand him a generous signing bonus which will lower his 2009 cap figure, thus freeing up more cash for free agency. I’ll also reassure him that barring an injury, Kevin Kolb will be restricted to the following duties: hat wearing and clipboard holding.

2) Sign UFA T.J. Houshmandzadeh – Of course, I can only do this if the Bengals don’t franchise him. I anticipate they will, but we are talking about the Bengals, so they could allow their best player to walk. If this happens, I swoop in and scoop him into the Eagles Nest at the stroke of midnight on Free Agency eve. Housh, DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis and Jason Avant should give Don plenty of toys to play with.

3) If not T.J., I sign FA Julius Peppers – By all accounts, Peppers wants out of Carolina. Not sure if I believe these reports, but if they are accurate and Peppers wants a change of scenery, Jim Johnson‘s attack-style defense would be a great place to call home. Bookend Peppers with Trent Cole and we have one of the top defensive end duos in the NFL.

4) Draft Ohio State running back Chris Wells – Armed with two first round picks and disgruntled cornerback Lito Sheppard, I have more than enough ammunition to acquire Wells, even if I have to trade-up (gasp!) to do it. Notice I wrote “trade up” not trade down. Wells is a cross between Adrian Peterson and Jonathan Stewart: Big, fast, and strong between the tackles. He will be a perfect complement to Brian Westbrook who at 30 is beginning to show signs of wear and tear.

5) Resign Tra Thomas – Protecting McNabb’s blind spot is crucial, especially considering his history of injury. Thomas is still serviceable. I’ll give him a two-year deal ensuring he retires as an Eagle. Then I’ll do my homework and draft his replacement in round two or three.

6) Draft Brandon Pettigrew – I love this kid’s attitude and skill set. He is a punishing blocker, and he can catch and run. His talents were wasted in Oklahoma State’s spread offense, so his stats don’t do him justice. Combine him with Brent Celek and we have two quality red zone threats.

7) Dump Reggie Brown and L.J. Smith – Talk about disappointments. Both of these guys regressed the last two seasons. I need guys who get better, not worse. I’ll try to salvage a low round draft pick for Brown but I wouldn’t get your hopes up. His suspect hands probably won’t attract many takers.

8: Draft a pocket-collapsing defensive tackle – Bunkley and Patterson are great versus the run, but neither can get to the quarterback. Remember the name Vance Walker out of Georgia Tech.

9) Resign Brian Dawkins – He can still play, unless he ages significantly from now until training camp. Dawk is the unquestioned leader of the Eagles. If this team is poised to make a serious Super Bowl run, Dawkins must be a part of it. I’ll give him an incentive-laden one year deal worth his while.

See, that was easy. All fixed. I’ve solved the Birds’ problems in one post. In all seriousness, I don’t think Andy Reid and Co. will change their philosophy one bit. They won’t draft wide receiver early and they won’t pursue Housh if he comes free. But running back must be and will be addressed, but probably not in the first round.

However, the move for Peppers is possible and would follow a pattern. Jevon Kearse, Darren Howard and Asante Samuel are evidence that the Eagles are not afraid to open the wallet and pay top dollar for FA defensive players. A new deal for McNabb is also probable if for no other reason than to appease the star quarterback.

What will actually happen this off-season? Who knows. What I do know is Jeff Lurie is tired of losing NFC title games. It takes skilled playmakers to get to Super Bowls and win them. Clearly the Eagles don’t have enough of these players. It’s up to Lurie, Reid and Joe Banner to change this.

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  • Tracer Bullet

    I’d rather spend the money on Owen Daniels or even Haynesworth than Houshmanzadeh, and Wells can’t catch so he’s not coming (Moreno or McCoy? Maybe) and I’d draft an OT regardless of what happens in free agency. Otherwise I can’t find much to disagree with.

  • Jason

    1) Agreed. He has earned it.  I’m not high on spread college QBs either(Kolb) but with a couple more years to study and learn the offense I think he will be fine.  Think Arron Rodgers with Green Bay.

    2) Hard to say until FA begins.  I think Cincinnati tags him.  One thing I hope they stop doing next year is rotating receivers like defensive lineman.  Greg Lewis and Hank Baskett suck and should not be playing hardly ever.  If getting someone(Hous,Boldin) would stop this that would be great.

    3)I’d be stunned if he isn’t tagged.  Great defensive ends are just too valuable to let walk.  It would cost a shitload to get him though.  Jared Allen got 6 years for $72million with $15 million guaranteed.  It would take something like that to sign him.

    4)I’m higher on Moreno and McCoy mostly because they can catch the ball out of the backfield.  The 2 knocks I have on Wells is he kept getting hurt playing against the little girls of the Big10 and he isn’t a receiving threat at all.  It worries me that we really need a running back but they suck at drafting them. 

    5)Agreed.  I don’t want to go into next season with 2 new tackles.  Its gonna be interesting to see what they do with the oline this offseason.  They have a lot of options at their disposal here.

    6)He should be there at 21.  He is an outstanding blocker from everything I have read on him and was really owning guys at the senior bowl.  He reminds me of Health Miller.

    7)L.J. will probably be out of the league next year unless Chilly scoops him up.  They would have to eat alot to dump Reggie but I think they will.

    8)Meh not that big a concern imo.  With the way coaches rotate now I think Abirmi and Howard will be fine on passing downs playing inside.

    9)Agreed.  Once Johnson realized he can’t cover tight ends anymore he was fine.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott

    Tracer Bullet – I like Owen Daniels too, but the Texans won’t let him go. He’s a restricted free agent, so it would cost the Birds a lot to get him. Haynesworth has too many character issues. Reid will never sign him.

    Jason – I’m in the minority on Wells. However, we don’t know if he can catch because Ohio State never throws to its running backs. As for injuries, I’m not worried. Adrian Peterson got hurt in college too, but he turned out okay. I like McCoy as well. He may be the guy they’re targeting. Two more names to consider: Andre Brown and Marlon Lucky. Both can catch the ball and could be had in round 2 or 3.

  • Mr. Ace

    Wells won’t be picked up by the Eagles.  He can’t catch, can’t pass block, and is a huge pussy…but I’m a Michigan fan, so I inherently hate him. I would move up to get Moreno.

    Pettigrew is a bad idea.  The kid has a TERRIBLE attitude.  Think cross between TO, Winslow jr., and Shockey.  A ton of talent, but I don’t know if I want to risk a first round pick on him.  Especially if we pick up a top WR in free agency or by trade.

    After we let Runyan go, we should give him another look.  Teams aren’t going to be lining up to sign him and we might be able to get him back at a bargain price if his knee tests out properly.

  • furti

    Peppers wants to play for a 3-4 team.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott

    Wells gets a bad rap. All he needs is an NFL trainer to get him set straight.

    Pettigrew is nowhere near a TO or a Shockey. The stuff about him has been overblown big time. He’s had some problems, but he’s not a problem kid.

    Don’t count on a receiver being picked up. Boldin isn’t coming to the Birds. And I doubt they will dish out the $6-8 million per year it will take to land Houshmandzadeh.

    As for Runyan. I think he’s done. Microfracture surgery is the same thing that ended Terrell Davis’ career, and he was five years younger.

  • Scott

    Peppers wants a big payday. The Eagles can give him that.

  • Ian

    I don’t think I would like you as GM Scott lol

    TJ Whosurmomma is 32, and he wants a major deal. I like the group of WRs the team has. I think Curtis, Jackson, Avant, Brown, and Baskett are a good group. The only thing I think they should do, is cut Greg Lewis already.

    I don’t think Chris Wells makes sense for the Eagles. I wonder if he can catch the ball out of the backfield, and I don’t see him as a good fit in the offense. You would have to spend a first round pick on a RB who may get 2-6 carries a game behind Brian Westbrook, and he may not even be able to catch the football. Reid does not believe in spending a first round pick on a RB, and if he did, that player would most likely be a wasted pick. I kinda like this kid from Iowa Shonn Greene.

    Julius Peppers I would be on board with, but I am pretty sure he will get franchised. I really think they should go after the other Carolina FA OT Jordan Gross who can’t be tagged. He’s young, he’s played both left and right tackle, and just made the pro bowl. Tra Thomas should be the backup plan if they can not land Gross first.

    Pettigrew is a great tight end, but like RB I don’t see the Eagles going there in the first round. They value lineman more in round 1 than they do RB or TE. A guy who could slip into round 2 that I love is Chase Coffman. Needs work on his blocking, but he is the total package with his receiving ability. He reminds me of Jason Witten.

    LJ Smith is already packing his bags, but Heckert recently said that Brown will be back. They would have to take a 3 mill cap hit to release or trade him.

    I do agree that one more DT could be nice, but in fairness to Bunk and Patterson, they are off the field in almost every ideal sack situation. That is a big reason Darren Howard was able to get 10 sacks.

    I may be in the minority here, but I say it’s time to let Dawkins go. He is 35 now, and he can’t play forever. As much as I love Dawkins for being one of the greatest Eagles ever, I think it’s time. I feel they should move Sheldon Brown to free safety, and take Lito Sheppard out of the dog house.

    Even though I disagreed with a lot here, I still think your doing a great job Scott.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott

    Ian – This is probably why I’m not GM :o)

    At any rate, I know the Eagles won’t sign Housh. However, they still need a guy who can get into the endzone 8-10 times.

    Which is why I like Pettigrew. He may not catch 80 passes, but I’ll take 8 TDs.

    Wells represents a philosophical change. Big, bruising back. I don’t care if he can catch. Isn’t that what the receivers are for? If they are so good, they should be able to get the job done. One of the problems I see with the Birds now is too much of a reliance on Westbrook catching the ball. Running backs should run first and foremost. Wells can do that. Plus I think he would get at LEAST 10 carries a game. Just my opinion.

    If there was a guy ready to step in and replace Dawkins, I say let him go. There isn’t. I don’t like moving Brown to safety because Sheppard obviously can’t play right cornerback. He sucked all season. I want him GONE. Demps has promise, but not yet.

    Thanks for the props. The one thing we can all agree on is wanting the Eagles to improve. As they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat.

  • Tracer Bullet

    When will Eagles’ fans get over their fetish for a big back? It ain’t happenin’. Reid could have signed any number of bruisers at some point the past decade. He doesn’t want one. He certainly doesn’t want a back who can’t catch and a back who can’t pass block is entirely worthless in this offense.

    This team already has Chase Coffman. His name is L.J. Smith, an athletic TE who can’t block. Blech.

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  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott

    Tracer Bullet – You are correct in your belief that Reid won’t draft a big back. The point of my post was what “I” would do, not Reid. Like you said, we already know what he wants. Another smallish back who can catch. Don’t you agree that’s not the right way to “fix” the Eagles running problems??

    A big back like Jacobs or LeRon McClain would help in the red zone and in short yardage. Do you not want the Eagles to change their philosophy? As a fan, I would hope Reid and Co. would be as tired as I am of losing NFC title games and tying the Bengals. Do you want another Lorenzo Booker? Chris Wells would help. Will they draft him? Doubtful. But a guy can still hope.

    By the way, I agree with you on Coffman. Get a guy who can least block.

  • Ian

    The thing about Coffman is he has tremendous hands, and very good size. LJ Smith really is just a big slow WR who doesn’t have tight end skills. Coffman has the size, speed, hands, route running, and big play ability you want. The only thing he has to really improve on is his blocking, and that could be more technique then anything. He also was not asked to block very much in that offense, because he was the best option they had in the passing game. I’m telling you right now he will be an impact player like Jason Witten or Dallas Clark.

    They can work with him on the blocking aspects, and I think really the Eagles need two tight ends. They should also bring somebody in to replace Matt Schobel. So if I was GM, I would draft Chase Coffman, and sign a vet tight end who is a great blocker.

    I kinda like Daniel Wilcox from the Ravens. He can play an hback role, and bring what they thought they were going to get out of Kris Wilson last year.

  • Harley

    First of all, I couldn’t agree more with giving McNabb a new deal.  Philly fans take him for granted, and while he did not win the NFC championship game for us, he didn’t lose it either – the defense did.  Giving him a new deal and lowering our cap at the same time is a winner.

    Second of all, I say no to Housh, no to Peppers, no to Wells, and no to Tra Thomas. 
    -Housh is getting older and will not be worth the money we will need to spend to get him.  He largely benefits from laying opposite Chad Johnson, and I would rather let Jackson and Avant develop than sign him.  Housh has been at the bottom of the league at YPC the last few years, and our offense is based around YAC.  If you want a WR, trade for Boldin, who leads the league in YAC despite missing a few games. 
    -While it would be nice to pair Peppers with Cole, he has stated he wants to play in a 3-4, so he might not be willing to come to us.  Even if he is, he is getting old, and I’m not sure he is worth the money or years either.  I think we should see what we have in Abriamiri, and Clemons came on late in the year as a Joker.  We finished the year top 3 in sacks, I believe, and don’t think this is where our money is best spent.
    -Wells is not the back we need.  I don’t get the fascination with a RB who can run between the tackles.  WE DON”T CALL RUNS BETWEEN THE TACKLES.  Unless we plan on firing Reid, this makes no sense.  It would be a waste of a pick.  However, what we could use is a back similar to Westbrook, to limit his touches and keep him healthier.  In that case, I like Moreno.  However, I don’t think we will take him.  We have had success before with taking RBs later in the draft or undrafted (West and Buck) so we could do it again with Brown or someone like Ringer.
    -Finally, SIGN Gross, not Thomas.  That would be money well spent.  If not, draft a tackle, and move either Herramens or Andrews back to Tackle (their original positions) and use Giles or Cole who both impressed. 
    Third of all, we do not need another DT.  Patterson, Bunkley and Laws are fine, and Howard moved in there and provided all the pressure we need.  In addition, moving Klecko back there would provide a lot of help.
    Finally, we need to resign Dawkins.  I know our organization is against giving deals to players over 30, but this is Dawkins.  It needs to be done. 

  • Tracer Bullet

    The Eagles currently have three TEs who can’t block. Why would anyone think they are capable of developing that skill in TEs?

    Would a big back help? Meh. They’ve got a 240lb QB and they rarely call QB sneaks and 235lb Kyle Eckel got less  time at RB the longer he was here, so I doubt a big back would make much difference. What the Eagles need more than a big tailback is a better FB. McClain isn’t available, LoNeal is elderly and Weaver isn’t the hammer I’m looking for. I’ll be very pleased if instead of using a mid-round pick on yet another nice young Mormon fellow, they spend a pick on a fullback.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott

    You guys seem to missing the point. Yes, Reid doesn’t call run plays between the tackles. THIS IS A PROBLEM!! Maybe if he had a “big back” who can run between the tackles, he would. If they do not change their philosophy and adopt a more physical running game, we will be back here next February complaining about another exit from the playoffs. The same ol, same ol, will not get the job done. I’m hoping Reid and Co. realize this. Do they? Probably not :o(

    All due respect, comparing McNabb, a QB, and Eckel, a third-stringer, to a first-rate halfback is ridiculous. A legit fullback is needed, but a young runner is needed too. Hopefully, they will get both. Counting on Westbrook and Eckel/Klecko is just plain dumb.

  • Tracer Bullet

    According to FO, a full 48% of the Eagles’ running plays were between the guards this season and 74% were between the tackles. They don’t break out called runs vs. scrambles, but the idea that the Eagles don’t between the tackles is laughable. Looking at FO’s numbers, the Eagles were among the best in the league running up the middle and to the right tackle, but terrible going left end, left tackle and right end.

    My point with Eckel is that they had a big back who was pretty effective at converting in short-yardage, but Reid still chose not to use him. I didn’t even realize Eckel dressed against the Vikings until he downed a punt in the 4th quarter. Thus, all this bitching about a big back is pointless unless you’re also going to fire the coach.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com Scott

    It’s now how many runs are called, it’s how effective they are when called. Listen, I realize a “big back” isn’t the cure-all for this team. The offensive line was built to pass protect, which makes sense since Reid is the most pass-oriented head coach in league history. Maybe with Thomas and Runyan on the way out, they could make the effort to construct a more aggressive, physical line better suited to run block. Perhaps make a play for Gross.

    We all can agree Reid isn’t going anywhere. However, I would like to believe that Lurie and Banner are not sitting on their asses and letting Andy get a free pass for how he runs this team. If they are, then we can forget about winning a Super Bowl as long as Reid is coach and personnel man. Eckel, Buckhalter, Moats, Hunt and Booker are all Reid guys that have either failed or are not utilized properly.

    So, if were Lurie and Banner I would suggest to Andy that he look long and hard at his talent evaluations. Whether it’s Chris Wells or LeSean McCoy, Pettigrew or Coffman, Houshmandzadeh or Boldin, Gross or a draft pick, Reid had better hit some homeruns this offseason or he’ll be looking for work elsewhere in 2010.