The Eagles have been making more moves than an MC Hammer dance video lately. With all of the recent signings it’s like Joe Banner and crew are saying: “You can’t touch this!”. And the Eagles’ NFC East foes better pray just to make it today! Okay okay, enough with the Hammer references.
Here is an up-to-date list of all the recent transactions by the Eagles. I’ve also offered my humble opinion and graded each of them. So let’s get to it, it’s Hammer Time!
DE Jason Babin: Signed for five years, $28 million with somewhere between $5 – 7 million guaranteed.
All during the lockout I seriously doubted that the Eagles would sign him. I believed that Babin had burned some bridges during his 2009 stint with the team. I’m still sure there were definitely “issues” but apparently he didn’t burn all of his bridges. I’m also sure that Jim Washburn is the only reason he’s here.
But, that’s neither here nor there. Babin came much cheaper than I thought he would and is an excellent choice to keep the LDE spot warm until Brandon Graham fully recovers from his injury (which may not be until 2012). He was not signed as a long term answer to the position.
The Eagles still believe they have their LDE of the future in Graham while Babin provides immediate…and less expensive…help this season for their Super Bowl run. Otherwise, the Eagles would have pursued Ray Edwards who is much younger.
I expect around 8 – 10 sacks from Babin this season.
Kevin Kolb traded for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC) and a 2nd round draft pick: Excellent move by the Eagles in getting great value for Kolb.
Ultimately the Eagles almost had to make this move. However, it could end up hurting them as well. The chances are high that Michael Vick will miss some time this season and Kolb was the best option at backup QB.
But, we can’t look at this trade through “what if” scenarios. Kolb was a backup and valuable trading chip. We cashed it in for a pro bowl level cornerback and premium draft pick. The front office deserves praise for this deal.
Nnamdi Asomugha: Signed for five years, $60 million with $25 million guaranteed. This was the real shocker so far. After landing DRC, nobody expected Nnamdi. I’m not sure Andy Reid even expected it.
This was another excellent move by the birds. The NFL is becoming a passing league and with all the rule changes that seem to benefit offenses, having the best cover guys possible is a must.
Last season the Eagles’ secondary was burnt like a piece of bread in a toaster for 3 hours. They have addressed this weakness by acquiring not only DRC, but the ultimate prize in this year’s free agency.
DT/DE Cullen Jenkins: Signed a five year, $25 million contract but it appears as though he is only guaranteed $4 million as the Eagles have an “out” after one year.
Jenkins played DE in a 3-4 for the past few years but before also played in a 4-3 before the Packers made the switch. He is a productive player (29 sacks in seven seasons) with a quick burst off the line to generate pressure in the backfield.
He is an ideal fit in Washburn’s scheme and also offers the Eagles some flexibility as far as lining him up. He can and will play both inside and outside along the line. The only negative to him is that he appears to be injury prone.
That’s why the Eagles negotiated an out after only one year with not much guaranteed money.
But again, this is another excellent signing by the birds. He will provide the pressure up the middle that this defense has lacked.
QB Vince Young: Signed a one year contract worth “up to” $5.5 million. That means his deal is incentive laden.
Personally, I’ve never liked Vince Young as a QB and viewed him as an immature baby with marginal skills (as an overall player). Sure, he’s a “name” and many folks are ecstatic with this signing.
I’m not as excited as the average fan. I view this move as a tentative “okay, I guess” mentality. The only reasons I can fathom why the Eagles chose him is because he is a mobile QB and there weren’t many other options.
I would have preferred Marc Bulger or Bruce Gradkowski. I have to honestly wonder though that if Vick goes down, will it be Young who steps in or Kafka? Especially if it’s early in the season.
Young doesn’t strike me as the kind of player who will pick up the Eagles offense quickly. If he has to play, expect a very limited play package and a lot of QB scrambles. Let’s hope we don’t have to see Young on the field this year (or Kafka for that matter).
G Evan Mathis: Signed a one year deal, terms unknown at this point. With 22 starts in the past seven years, Mathis brings at least some experience. At 6′ 5″ 300 lbs and athletic, he fits the Howard Mudd profile.
This move was most likely made as insurance since Danny Watkins is not in camp yet. However, Mathis isn’t exactly a nobody. He does have some skills and actually, many Bengals fans were hoping he would be re-signed and be the starter.
He offers versatility along the offensive line but will mainly compete and/or back up the LG and RG positions. This is a decent signing for a team that does need help in protecting Michael Vick.
TE Donald Lee: Signed for one year, terms unknown. He brings some experience with him as a veteran of eight seasons, the last six with the Packers.
He’s had some good years with the Packers but has been trending downwards for the past three seasons. Last year he only caught 11 passes for 73 yards although three were for TDs. After Jermichael Finley went down, Lee didn’t become the starter.
I’m not sure what he has left at this stage but he will fight several unheralded players for the third TE position on this team. Brent Celek and Clay Harbor are the top two and the Eagles usually keep three. Lee is not guaranteed a spot but his experience gives him an advantage.
WR Johnnie Lee Higgins: Signed a one year deal, terms unknown. This is an intriguing signing just based on his potential.
He is a four year veteran from Oakland and his best season was in 2008 when he had four receiving TDs and 3 return TDs. His stats have dwindled since then and his main value will be as a punt/kick returner.
He will have to show a lot in camp and preseason if he hopes to stick around. Although, his main competition for a roster spot are merely Chad Hall and Sinorice Moss which means he actually could stick.
RB Eldra Buckley: Re-signed for one year, $480,000. Buckley is a hard runner. He has no problem going head first into the line of scrimmage, which is what I like about him.
But, he is not to be confused with Marion Barber. He is an “okay” signing and will compete for the same role he has been in for the past two seasons with the Eagles. At this juncture he doesn’t exactly have any stiff competition so he could very well make the roster again.
LB Akeem Jordan: Re-signed to a one year deal, terms unknown. He has been with the team for the past four seasons after signing as a UDFA in 2007. The former starter has been a classic Andy Reid-esque example of the linebacking carousel.
He went from backup, to starter, to backup during his tenure in Philly. He brings experience and a little versatility as he can play on both the strong and weak side. Given the youth at linebacker this year, he could stick around just based on experience.
DT Brodrick Bunkley traded to Cleveland for a 2012 5th round draft pick: This happened immediately after the Jenkins signing and came as a surprise.
I didn’t view Bunkley as a bad player, but I did see him as a disappointment since he was the 14th overall pick in 2006. He just hasn’t lived up to that status. However, I was looking forward to see what he could do under Jim Washburn and felt that would tremendously help him.
I would have rather kept Bunkley over Trevor Laws or Antonio Dixon, at least until I had a chance to see him under Washburn’s tutelage. Giving him up that quickly for merely a 5th round pick was not exactly a good move in my opinion.
QB Jerrod Johnson
*LB Brandon Peguese – Said to be impressive so far
LB Terence Thomas
*DT Cedric Thornton – Keep an eye on
WR Terrance Turner
WR Gerald Jones
WR Keith Carlos
WR Jeremy LaFrance
WR Perry Baker
*WR DeAndre Brown – Keep an eye on
TE Martell Webb
RB Graig Cooper
RB Derrick Locke
RB Noel Devine – Has since been released because he wanted to leave
No sense in giving out grades on UDFAs. There might be a few that make it but most will not and some will go to the practice squad.
So far I give the Eagles an A for their overall offseason grade. It will be an A+ once DeSean Jackson gets an extension and Danny Watkins is signed.