Eagles Free Agency – Day One Recap – Need More Meaningful Signings

Bradley Fletcher Patrick Chung

Bradley Fletcher and Patrick Chung headline newest Eagle Defenders

Well the first day of Offseason Christmas came and went. Though many teams got a lot of great gifts I can’t help feeling like Santa skipped Philadelphia entirely. This is what we all should have expected. The Eagles are going to do things the right way. There is no attainable Super Bowl run in the near future, so there is no reason to collect too many high priced players that satisfy immediate needs.

I can really understand the direction Howie Roseman is trying to go, but I can’t say that it is a terribly exciting direction. The Eagles spent the entire first day of free agency doing absolutely nothing. Maybe it just feels like that because I had to wait until 4pm only to wait a few more hours, only to be rewarded with a few adequate signings that have a chance to be solid role players. No big names, no real excitement, just ho hum collecting of okay players with some upside.

I’m sure I will grow to like these players in time, but to me, this slow approach from Howie Roseman speaks less about doing things the right way and more about being afraid to do them the wrong way, again. 

I know only one day has passed and Roseman may just be letting the market settle before going after a couple key role players who may now know what their actual market value is. I really hope that is the case, because Howie Roseman has never struck me as anything less than aggressive. There are still good players out there and the Eagles can’t just avoid signing them because they want to build through the draft. If the Eagles just sit on their hands and let all the good players go elsewhere because they are afraid of accidentally creating another “Dream Team” persona they are hurting their team.

Who is to say that any player you draft won’t be a bust? At least through free agency you have a very good idea the kind of player you’re getting, because you’ve seen them against NFL level competition. Did the Nnamdi-experiment scare everyone away from signing meaningful players?

Everyone has this perception that the teams that win Super Bowls aren’t the teams that go heavy into free agency, which is true, but when you get right down to it, talent is talent. The Eagles have very little talent, especially on defense. Now that the entire team is starting over with a new coach and new culture, it means that this experience will be new for everyone on the team. So how much does it really matter that you’ve collected these players through the draft or through free agency? Don’t get me wrong, in a few years you would prefer to rely more on the draft, but at this point it makes no difference. Why not build a kick ass foundation of players now, instill your culture into them and the new rookies and win some games while you’re at it? If there was ever a time to make your mark in free agency it is right now. Lay a solid foundation of proven veterans to mentor the future superstars of your franchise.

I’m not saying that the Eagles need to sign five pro-bowl players, but two or three wouldn’t be that bad, hell I’d even settle for one very good starter. I’m not saying it has to break the bank either, because the Eagles do have quite a few needs. If Howie Roseman can’t get me one new player to be legitimately excited about I’m afraid my brain will eat itself long before the NFL Draft can get here. At this point I really hope it’s someone like Laron Landry, any kind of more significant upgrade in the secondary would be great.

Here is a list of today’s free agent signings:

CB Bradley Fletcher – 6′-0″, 200(Age 26) Formerly on Rams. He apparently has the best pure coverage skills of any corner available in free agency.  He will most likely be one of the starting CBs, even though he was the 3rd CB on the Rams last year. If Chip and Howie think he’s good enough, it may very well be a step in the right, more humble, direction.

TE/HB James Casey – 6′-3″, 240 (Age 28) Formerly on Texans. He’s a very versatile player that enables Chip Kelly to do more from different offensive looks. This is in many ways the most interesting signing so far, probably because it’s the only offensive signing and that is where Chip Kelly makes his fame. The first new player Kelly plugs into his offense is one he can use in many different ways, to me that spells a long marriage between Kelly and Casey.

S Patrick Chung – 5′-11″, 210(Age 26) Formerly on Patriots. Chung played for Chip Kelly a couple years ago at Oregon and is obviously a player Kelly felt comfortable with. Chung could be either FS or SS for Eagles, I have a feeling he’ll end up being FS, especially if Eagles end up getting someone like Laron Landry to play alongside him. Nothing is certain yet. Chung is a quality player with a lot of upside, but it’s not quite enough to get me all that excited, at least not yet.

NT Isaac Sopoaga – 6′-2″, 330(Age 31) Formerly on 49ers. Sopoaga is the veteran NT the Eagles needed and will play a great role in stopping the run and eating up blocks, which will also make the linebackers more effective in space.

LB Jason Phillips – 6′-1″, 249(Age 27) Formerly on Panthers. Phillips is a good Special Teams player and backup ILB.  Nothing more, nothing less.

As disappointing as this day was for many Eagles fans, including myself, we really need to realize just how many available free agents are still out there, especially in the secondary. Take a look for yourself:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/freeagency/?year=2013&position=35

But I doubt most of these guys stay available through the weekend, let alone through tomorrow. Better get off your ass Howie. Talent is talent and we have none. Get it going.

What do you think of the Eagles signings from the first day of free agency? Who do you want next?

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