Free agency is quickly approaching and the Philadelphia Eagles are hoping they can add some pieces to fill the team’s needs. It seems like every free agency period, teams fall in love with players and hand out bloated contracts. Teams throw cash at players that might not warrant the actual value and skills necesary. The Eagles, as a result, were guilty of this in the 2011 off season. Guys were given big time money and simply didn’t perform. This crippled the team’s success and quickly changed the team’s approach to free agency. So the past two off seasons, the Eagles have taken a careful approach and signed players to medium sized contracts, and players who fit schematically. Philadelphia Eagles General Manager, Howie Roseman, has stated that the team won’t break the bank on a specific player unless the team absolutely feels sure about a player. So this off season there are free agents who the Eagles might want to stay away from.
The Safety position seems to be a need for almost every team in the NFL. Specifically for the Eagles, the Safety position has hurt the team immensely. Since the departure of future Hall of Famer, Brian Dawkins, this has been a huge sore spot for the Eagles. The good news is there’s a couple of Safeties hitting the market. The bad news is the one guy every Eagle fan has been clamoring for, Buffalo Bills’ Safety Jairus Byrd, is the one of the free agents the Eagles should not sign. Byrd is a pro bowl safety whose cover skills are fluid and has great instincts. The problem is not what Byrd can do on the field, it’s what he’s demanding for his services. Byrd has come out publically saying he wants to be the highest paid safety in the league. Howie Roseman probably cringed when hearing this. Byrd will likely demand a 10 million dollar a year contract. Not exactly what the team has in mind. This money can be used to address different areas and plug them with adequate players.
Another need for the team is a consistent pass rusher from the Outside Linebacker spot. This year’s pass rushing class is very thin, but reports have surfaced of the Eagles having interest in the Cincinnati Bengals Defensive End, Michael Johnson. Johnson will likely command around 9 million dollars a year, which is do-able for the Eagles, but Johnson is highly overrated. He finished last year with only 3.5 sacks, way below what 9 million dollars should be worth. Johnson is 6’7 270 lbs, but plays with his pads too high and has an inconsistent pass rush. Not to mention, the Eagles would be betting on him to make a smooth transition from a 4-3 Defensive End to a 3-4 Outside Linebacker, no easy task. Johnson’s production when he had success came from a loaded defensive line and scheme. The Eagles may like his physical attributes but he’s more name than game.
The Corner position for the Eagles isn’t an immediate need, but the teams needs to add depth. Former Denver Broncos Corner, Champ Bailey, is a 12 time pro bowler and a first ballot Hall of Famer, but the player today is a shell of what he once was. Speculation has started that the Eagles have interest in Bailey, but why sign a soon to be 36 year old whose play has dramatically declined? Bailey also has battled multiple injuries the past couple of years that have limited his production and playing time. At this point in Champ Bailey’s career he simply cant play. The Eagles need an injection of youth in their Secondary, not the opposite. Champ is a player to stay away from at this point in his career.
Cleveland Browns Safety T.J. Ward is just as coveted as Jairus Byrd by Eagle fans. Much like Byrd, Ward is looking to cash in on his 2013 season success. Ward made this years pro bowl and improved his coverage skills, and has always been a force in the box when it comes to stuffing the run. Ward and Byrd played their College ball at Oregon, so both have ties to Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach, Chip Kelly. So you’re wondering why the team should avoid T.J. Ward? It’s simple, the money. Granted Ward will be asking for less than Byrd, but 9 million dollars a year is steep. His play also might not warrant the money. Ward has gotten better in coverage, but at times still struggles. In todays game, teams are so Safety hungry teams will pony up crazy cash for players like Ward. Look for the Eagles to stay away from bidding wars and stay the course with their careful approach. Ward will more than likely not be a Philadelphia Eagle.
The Philadelphia Eagles team has needs and in this upcoming free agency period, the team will look to plug in those holes. However, there are certain players they need to stay away from.