As stated in an earlier article, the Jevon Kearse signing was the worst free agent signing of a defensive player in the entire Andy Reid era.
Kearse was signed to an eight-year, $65 million deal, yet lasted just four seasons, two of them completely ineffective. He collected just 22 sacks in four seasons and was released after the 2007 season.
A year after Kearse was released by the Eagles, another free agent signing was made by the Eagles that ranks among the worst by an NFL team in the last decade.
Before the 2009 season, the Philadelphia Eagles signed tackle Stacy Andrews, who had spent the previous five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. Andrews, 29, was expected to replace the great Jon Runyan, who was expected to leave through free agency. Runyan had spent the previous nine seasons with the Eagles, where he established himself as one of the league’s top right tackles.
Andrews was also signed to inspire his brother, Shawn, who had been drafted by the Eagles in the first round of the 2004 draft. From 2005 to 2007, Andrews earned Pro Bowl selections and a well-deserved reputation as one of the league’s best offensive linemen. But he missed 14 games in the 2008 season with a back injury. He also battled depression issues.
Andrews had been such a vital member of the team’s offense from 2005 to 2007 and his absence was greatly missed in 2008. The signing of his brother, Stacy, was not just to help the Eagles’ offensive line, but it was supposed to inspire Shawn to return to his old form. Andrews’ contract was a six-year, $38.9 million deal, showing just how much faith the Eagles placed in Andrews.
Quite simply, the Andrews brothers were expected to anchor the offensive line for the Eagles for the next five to six years (or longer).
It didn’t work that way. At all.
Shawn Andrews had surgery during the 2009 offseason, re-injured his back at the start of training camp, and missed the entire 2009 preseason and the first game of the 2009 season. He was placed on the injured reserve list before the second week of the season. After the season, he was released by the Eagles.
As for Stacy Andrews, he was benched in favor of guard Max Jean-Gilles in the second week of the season. The benching was because he was not fully healed from his knee injury the previous season. He also did not know the offense as well as he was supposed to.
Andrews ended up playing in 10 games during the 2009 season, starting just two of them (the first two games).
He restructured his contract with the Eagles during the offseason but was traded to the Seattle Seahawks on September 4th, 2010 for an undisclosed draft pick.
The Stacy Andrews signing was supposed to strengthen the offensive line for the Eagles, who lost both starting tackles–Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan–after the 2008 season. Instead, Stacy Andrews provided absolutely no help for the Eagles offensive line in 2009 (or any other years).
The lasting image of the 2009 Philadelphia Eagles season is one of quarterback Donovan McNabb running for his life against the Dallas Cowboys in the season’s final two games, both blowout losses. Imagine Shawn and Stacy Andrews protecting Donovan McNabb instead of Nick Cole and Max Jean-Gilles.
Had the Andrews boys been effective during the 2009 season, I predict the Eagles would have won at least 12 games (instead of 11), and maybe more. If they had been equally effective during the 2010 season, who knows? Maybe the Eagles could have taken down the Green Bay Packers in the postseason. The offensive line, after all, was the team’s biggest weakness.
Expectations remain high that new offensive line coach Howard Mudd, as well as first round draft pick Danny Watkins, can finally provide the Eagles with a respectable offensive line for the first time since before Stacy Andrews was signed.