We are only two days away from the start of the 2014 free agency period. The negotiations between the NFL teams and the representatives of free agents have already begun. The Philadelphia Eagles will be looking to make additions as long as they find players that fit their plans.
Unfortunately, the Birds will have to wait until the draft or work out a trade to get a quality pass-rushing outside linebacker. The 2014 free agent pool offers poor choices at the position and no free agent looks better than Trent Cole and Connor Barwin, the team’s starting OLBs.
Originally, the only intriguing options were Brian Orakpo of the Washington Redskins and Jason Worilds of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Orakpo was franchise-tagged by Washington, while Worilds signed the trasition tag that the Steelers offered him. With Orakpo and Worilds off the market, there is no free-agent edge rusher that would be a clear-cut upgrade for the Eagles to go after.
Rotoworld keeps a list of players that will be available once the 2014 free agency period begins. Here what the outside linebacker spot looks like:
Shaun Phillips was great in Denver last year, but he’ll be 33 before the next season begins. The same applies to Calvin Pace of the New York Jets, who will be 34 in October. Their contract demans will likely be high and the Eagles won’t overpay someone who is so close to retirement.
After receiving the Dallas Cowboys’ franchise tag in two straight years, this time Anthony Spencer will hit the market. The 30-year old pass rusher had a monster season in 2012 with 55 solo tackles and 11 sacks in 14 games, but played only in one game last year. He is definitely a great player, but he will demand more money than the Eagles will be willing to pay.
Mike Neal of the Green Bay Packers and O’Brien Schofield of the Seattle Seahawks have shown promise, but remain unproven. They could be one of those “low risk – high reward” signings, but no guarantee that they would be more than rotational players.
A player that caught my eye is Lawrence Sidbury. The 28-year old played from 2009 to 2012 for the Atlanta Falcons, getting limited time on the field as a defensive end. Last year, he signed with the Indianapolis Colts but an injury ended a promosing season. It looks like Sidbury would be a legit option at 3-4 OLB at least as a rotational player. If you want to know more about him, you can read Josh Wilson’s article on Stampede Blue.
The remaining players are mostly outside linebackers that fit better in a 4-3 defense, as well as some largely unknown players that have not made an impact big enough to be recognised as notable names in 2014 free agency.