In a wild first day of free agent signings and firings, the Eagles decided to part ways with veteran safety Quintin Mikell – who as expected has already been signed by another organization (the Rams) with a long-term deal – and have reportedly decided NOT to resign any of their pending free agents, which would include David Akers, Stewart Bradley, Sav Rocco, and Jerome Harrison.
This raises some serious questions along the depth chart, tops among them being who will start at middle linebacker. Could rookie Casey Matthews be the odds-on favorite already, or is Jamar Chaney the guy to beat? These questions will obviously be answered throughout training camp and the preseason, so keep a good eye on the roster battles as things move along here.
With Mikell in St. Louis, strong safety is another area of concern for the Birds, and God knows if second-round draft pick Jaiquawn Jarrett will be ready in time to start in September. Second-year player Kurt Coleman and former Colt and permanent injured-reserve player Marlin Jackson might be in the mix as well. Too many questions at the moment to make any real predictions. Training camp will definitely be exciting.
As of now, it looks like kicking duties will fall to rookie Alex Henery, and the only punter in camp at the moment will be rookie free agent Chaz Henry. Look for the Birds to bring in some veteran competition at camp.
Aside from Mikell, the only player I really wished could have stuck around was Jerome Harrison, believe it or not. In limited duty the guy showed speed, power and toughness, and I really hope the guy ends up with a team where he really gets a chance to be a starter. His release from Philly obviously means Dion Lewis will enter the rotation at RB, and the coaching staff is counting on an early return from Pro Bowl fullback Leonard Weaver. Remember him?
The Eagles, as usual, have also signed a spate of undrafted rookies, most of which will probably be sent packing by the end of August. If any stick out in camp, however, I’ll be sure to let you know. I’ll be there Saturday to cover it all for you live.
In an unrelated (kind of) note, it seems Donovan McNabb is headed to Minnesota. Look for this to be a theme this year, as teams who were originally hoping to start their high-round rookie QBs scramble for veterans to start on day one after the longest work stoppage in NFL history. Here’s hoping McNabb finds a little more success with the Vikes than he did with the Redskins, but if Sidney Rice goes to Seattle he’s probably going to find himself in an eerily similar situation. At least he’ll have Adrian Peterson.
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