When I think back to the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles, I’m going to think of a lot of things, mostly negative.
But the one thing that I will remember the most is the offseason signings by the Eagles, arguably the most exciting by any team in league history.
For months, teams couldn’t sign players because of the NFL lockout. The only NFL-related business was the draft in late April but even then, coaches couldn’t communicate with players.
When the lockout finally ended in late July, the Eagles set forth a plan of action that remains unequaled by any other NFL team in history.
It began when the Eagles executed a brilliant trade, sending fifth-year quarterback Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals for former Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie AND a second round draft pick.
The Rodgers-Cromartie signing helped the Eagles fill the void at right cornerback, arguably their weakest position in 2010.
So no one was prepared for the Eagles to also sign Nnamdi Asomugha, the league’s top free agent. But they did, inking Asomugha to a five-year, $60 million deal just two days later. Although the Eagles initially wouldn’t say who would start, everybody knew what would happen. Asomugha became the starting right cornerback and DRC moved to the slot.
The Eagles also signed former two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Vince Young to be their backup quarterback. They added 2010 Pro Bowler Jason Babin. They grabbed Cullen Jenkins, one of the league’s best pass-rushing defensive tackles. They grabbed journeyman offensive lineman Evan Mathis, who became an absolute stud in 2011. And they brought in former Pro Bowl running back Ronnie Brown to serve as the team’s backup running back.
They even signed a handful of players that made no production in 2011. Tackle Ryan Harris couldn’t stay healthy and was cut before the start of the season. Veteran tight end Donald Lee didn’t make the team either.
All of the signings resulted in the Eagles being dubbed the new team to beat in the NFL, and the Eagles even publicly stated their desire to overtake the Green Bay Packers by employing a three-cornerback system.
Vince Young made his comments public by calling the Eagles a Dream Team.
And we all know what happened after that.
16 games, eight losses, five in the fourth quarter after a lead. Disappointing seasons by Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, as well as Ronnie Brown and Vince Young.
And no playoffs, for the first time since 2007.