(Or, Hanukkah in July for Dave)
Man, I hope Mike Silver has some solid sources, because his latest column has got me feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve. According to Silver, the Eagles will be really aggressive in free agency, which obviously piques my interest. A source tells Silver “This is the year, we think we have a great shot to win it, and we’re loading up and going for it.” You had me at hello. The last time Andy Reid & company went balls out in free agency, they of course landed Terrell Owens and Javon Kearse and went to the Super Bowl. Neither did anything after that season except be a distraction, but in retrospect we shouldn’t have been surprised that a malcontent caused trouble and a guy who’s game relies entirely on athleticism fell apart as he aged and got injured. And anyways, man was that season awesome.
Jeffrey Lurie isn’t putting out any fires. “I know we’re going to be both aggressive and hopefully make the right decisions. It’s frustrating to be a team that’s poised to make some of the moves we want to make and not be able to. I think we’ll all be excited when the league year starts.” Don’t tease me Jeff.
But who is or will be out there? Silver drops three names:
Plaxico Burress. I’ve already written that I would have no problems with Burress joining the Eagles. But the more I think about it, the less I think he’ll be an Eagle. He just doesn’t fit the mold of what Reid wants from his receivers, and if the Eagles are going all in, then will they really want a reclamation project (from a physical stand point, remember, Vick didn’t look too sharp his first year) on their hands? I don’t think so. On the flip side though, there’s an added benefit to having a guy with the talents of Burress work his way into more playing time and better shape as the season progresses: as teams start to figure out how to slow down the Eagles, they’ll be adding a new dimension and thus put the opposition back to the drawing board. As Eagles fans, we keep clamoring for a tall WR who would be deadly in the red zone. But Reid never gets one, just like he never gets that complimentary power back we crave. And last night on Total Access, Jason LaCanfora pretty much shot this one down. Of course, we never thought they’d go out and get real life WRs and then they brought in TO, so Big Red has shown he can surprise us.
Albert Haynesworth. If he’s an Eagle, I’m on board. Yes, he’s a huge jackass and a big baby. Yes, he is the laziest player in the league. But things would obviously be different here for a few reasons. First, he would be playing the three technique he so vocally loves. Second, he would be on a new contract that would have all kinds of provisions and incentive bonuses. There’s no way the Eagles take him under his current contract (I don’t think anyone else will either though), they’re only going to take a bad apple like Haynesworth on their terms, not his. And if he doesn’t behave or perform, they’ll simply cut him. Which is why he probably won’t be an Eagle. Third, and this is the point the media loves to use as the primary reason the Eagles will go after him, is that his old line coach Jim Washburn is now the line coach for the Birds. I agree that if anyone can motivate Haynesworth, it’s Washburn, who has apparently been pretty gung ho about bringing him in. Then there’s the added bonus of he gets to play the Redskins twice a year. I think the likelihood of him being an Eagle is better than Burress.
Reggie Bush. This one came as a surprise. It makes sense from a schematic standpoint though. Reid likes his RBs to be pass catchers, agile, able to break big runs. He’s not overly concerned with running the ball between the tackles, and likes to occasionally put them out wide and try to get a match-up advantage. But Shady McCoy already fits the role perfectly and is better than Bush. He’s also not afraid to run between the tackles, something that apparently scares the living daylights out of Bush. And don’t forget that Leonard Weaver will be back next year, so the need for another runner isn’t there. Owen Schmidtt did a nice job filling in for the injured Weaver last year at fullback, it’s possible that they’ll go with Schmidtt as the starting fullback and McCoy and Weaver as a RB tandem, with 5th round pick Dion Lewis as the 3rd back. I’d prefer that, as it gives them much more depth and flexibility. If they go with Weaver at FB and McCoy, Lewis and someone else at RB, then Bush makes some sense, but that would give the Eagles nothing but a stable of undersized scatbacks at the RB position. I’m not seeing Bush being on the team.
Silver though only gives a passing mention of the prize free agent, who just happens to fill a need for the Eagles.
Nnamdi Asomugha. Yes, I typed that right the first time. Asomugha became a free agent when his statistical performance triggered an automatic voiding of his contract, putting the only true shutdown corner not named Darrell Revis on the market. I love Al Davis. Nnamdi is of course the guy every fan of every team wants. The Eagles have got to be on the short list of places he would like to go, right? It’s got everything he could want and has never had: good, stable organization. A team that is always in contention, and has shown a willingness to spend in free agency at his position. A place that players want to go. And from and tactical standpoint, man am I drooling over the thought of Asomugha and Asante Samuel on the field together. These two completely different but highly effective corners would give the opposition fits. Asomugha is a premiere man-to-man cover corner, only Revis does a better job of completely eliminating a WR. So what does an offense do, throw to Samuel’s side of the field? That’s fine with me. Go ahead and throw the ball to the best ball hawking CB in the league, who will now have some extra safety help too since the other side of the field is locked down. Have fun with that, we’ll gladly take the interception. There will be plenty of competition for his services, but Asomugha really doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would go somewhere just for the money. Yes, he got paid a boatload in Oakland, but that’s the only way Oakland is able to keep their players, and the Raiders operate so differently from everyone else that they are an outlier. So sorry Houston and Washington, you probably won’t get him if a team like the Eagles, Ravens or Jets makes a fair offer.
So, let’s get this damn lockout over with soon. I really want to unwrap those presents.