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.