By all appearances, free agency will revert to pre-2010 rules, where 5th and 6th year players are eligible, flooding a thin and old market. Brian McIntyre has complied a list of previously tendered players who will now become free agents. While there’s a ton of players I’d love to see the Eagles sign that are on this list, it’s just not realistic that guys like DeAngelo Williams, Paul Posluszny, Sidney Rice or Eric Weddle will be an Eagle next year. You have to look at this list realistically. Most of these players will be re-signed by their teams, and the ones that aren’t will either be too high priced or will be gap fillers. It’s the latter that interest me. Next week I’ll look at players who were going to be free agents regardless of what rules may apply. Today, I’ll look at a few players who might fill some roles the Eagles have.
Back up QB: Tyler Thigpen
Assuming that Kevin Kolb is in fact traded, are you okay with Mike Kafka as the #2? I’m not, and I don’t think the Eagles will be either. After being drafted but then cut by Andy Reid’s old protege Brad Childress, Tyler Thigpen played well for an awful Chiefs team in 2008, with a respectable-for-a-backup line of 54.8 completion percentage, 18 TD and 12 INT. His only real target that year was Tony Gonzalez. Ignore the 1-10 record, Kansas City’s defense was horrible, 2nd worst in yards and 4th worst in points, sinking a ship with a mediocre offense. He then moved to Miami when they had a rash of injuries at QB and saw limited duty. Thigpen’s got the skill set to succeed as a back up in Andy Reid’s system. And with Michael Vick’s eternal fragility, he’ll see playing time. If you’re going to be a backup QB, the Eagles are a pretty attractive team: you’ll almost certainly get playing time, when you do you’ll have a bevy of weapons at your disposal and you’ll be in a system that you will do well in.
Backup TE: David Thomas, Jeff King, Dante Rosario.
Brent Celek could use a better backup. Clay Harbor and his 9 completed catches and 1 dropped TD do nothing for me. And is it me or did Andy Reid shown more creativity to his play designs last year? A second, respectable tight end would enable him to go with some 2 TE sets. Dave Thomas might be an option if he’s available. Considering they released Jeremy Shockey, I think New Orleans would like to have Thomas back. But if he’s available on the free agent market, the Eagles should at least kick the tires. King and Rosario are both scheduled to be free agents from Carolina, and likely both will be after the Panthers signed Shockey. Either one would be a depth fine addition as rotation guys who catch 20-30 passes a year, which is exactly the role they played in Carolina.
#2 CB: Eric Wright
Obviously Nnamdi Asomugha is the #1 target. But with seemingly every team after him, chances are he doesn’t land at the Linc. The Eagles are still going to need a plan B. Wright could be that guy. I’d rather have Jonathan Joseph or Antonio Cromartie, but I don’t see the Eagles willing to pay that kind of money for either of them. Star player no, but Wright’s a good corner lost on a bad team. At 5-11 he’d be the tallest CB on the Eagles (along with Dimitri Patterson), giving the secondary a slight height boost. Wright’s not a ball hawk, but he’s a physical CB with good athleticism. One of the big allures of having the excellent man-press Asomugha opposite zone ball hawking Asante Samuel is that it gives an offense two totally different CBs to worry about. Wright plays a similar style, physical at the line of scrimmage, which would enable the Eagles to have a more diverse toolbox to scheme with. If the bigger names can’t be had, I’d be perfectly fine with him in the Eagles secondary.