Many times in the past, the Philadelphia Eagles have ended up keeping themselves under the cap and saving money. Very few times have they gone all in and spent to make the team better through free agency. The most recent chance they took in this manner resulted in disaster, with the team spending like crazy and ending up with very little from the high profile stars they thought they were getting. The supposed “Dream Team” was a huge disappointment, and it seemed as though the players brought in had nothing but a negative effect in the locker room.
Now with free agency upon us and the Eagles in desperate need at the safety position, it would seem obvious that they would go and get the best available option. However, after listening to comments by GM Howie Roseman this past week, he seems unlikely to make the move that Philadelphia needs to get better immediately. Roseman, due to past failures, seems skeptical about bringing in a high profile name for lots of money to appease the needs of his defense. His fear of creating bad blood with other players due to the price and having the aforementioned effect on the locker room is understandable, but in no way similar to the previous go round.
If the Eagles enter free agency holding back and being cautious, the team and fanbase will end up extremely disappointed by the end of the week. The most touted free agent safety, Jairus Byrd, will come at a price, but the upside is more than worth the risk for Philadelphia. Assuming he is on the radar for head coach Chip Kelly as an option, Byrd’s locker room presence would be something the Eagles would already be strongly aware of. With Kelly having coached at Oregon when Byrd finished his college career there, he’d have a better idea than most about what he’d be getting. In addition, at this point it’s not real clear which defensive players Roseman would be worried about upsetting with a high salary. The Eagles don’t have any players who are being paid well below their value and they also have many who have been overpaid for less than mediocre production. There are young players currently coming into their own that will be up for raises in the coming years, but the Eagles have shown their good for taking care of their own.
In the end, Philadelphia needs to do everything in their power to upgrade at safety, both through free agency and in the draft. If that means spending a little extra to get the best available, so be it. Byrd or TJ Ward would instantly improve the Eagles’ secondary which will change the look of the defense. Taking into account the high impact offense the Eagles have already in place, a few drastic changes defensively could go a long way to making them a contender. Spending for a young player in their prime when the money’s available makes all the sense in the world.