The need for a veteran linebacker by the Eagles is so glaringly obvious, it’s hard to have any patience waiting for the team to sign one. Yes, we’ve only been in free agency for under a week, but in some respects it seems like an eternity. But the quiet on the linebacker front may prove to work in Philadelphia’s favor.
Though there seems to have been relatively little activity by the Eagles on the free agency front, the team did make a move to get a veteran LB, offering a one-year deal to former Panther Dan Connor. Not a very good one, though, per the Inquirer. That’s not too upsetting, because most Eagles fans weren’t too keen on Connor. If we’re going to do this (i.e., make a significant upgrade at the position), we need to do it right.
After the first big moves in free agency by other teams in the opening hours and days of free agency, highly touted free agents like Stephen Tulloch and Curtis Lofton have found that the level of interest from the market is not what they anticipated.
This could work very well in Philadelphia’s favor, as early indications of the price tag being sought by Tulloch in particular is simply too high to garner any interest. Per Anwar Richardson of MLive,
Tulloch is seeking a long-term deal worth more than Cleveland’s D’Qwell Jackson’s five-year deal, which is worth $42.5 million ($19 million in guarantees and bonuses). He is seeking a contract that will pay no less than $6 million a year, with no less than 40 percent of his deal guaranteed.
36-year old London Fletcher may come with a price tag more up the Eagles alley, but Philadelphia doesn’t like older players so I don’t see that happening.
The NFL is a business, and this is demonstrated so well during free agency. Demand for linebackers is lower than expected, which means that asking prices from free agent LBs will lessen if they want to find teams for next season. So maybe, just maybe, the demand from teams and the asking price from players will come together at a point that is reasonable for each. And it is at that point that the Eagles will swoop in (pun intended).
Philadelphia is doing the right thing by staying quiet and waiting for the market to settle a bit before making any big moves.
While it seems eerily quiet with the Eagles and the free agency front, just think back to last year, where the changes occurred at a dizzying pace and proved that throwing out everything old and familiar and bringing in everything new and exciting is not the recipe for success.
The Eagles got that message loud and clear. Philadelphia’s front office knows that it must get a linebacker in free agency because they saw what we saw continually happen to the defense last year. It’s really not an option.
They’d made important moves to hang on to veterans and create more cap room (the Herremans, Cole deals), and they got back Evan Mathis. The DeSean Jackson contract situation was resolved quickly and without further drama.
All told, I’d say it’s been a pretty productive and successful week for the Eagles. A lot of work still needs to be done, but a lot of important work was accomplished.
Let’s see what the coming week holds.