The Philadelphia Eagles did not jump out of the free agency gate as many hoped they would. They did begin to take care of their greatest need at safety, but it wasn’t a splash. Signing Malcolm Jenkins while releasing Patrick Chung upgrades the position, but it does not instantly change the face of the defense enough.
With the offense they have in place and the opportunity to contend right now, there’s still plenty of work to do. But taking it slow, as long as they make the right moves in the coming days, may not be such a bad thing.
The price for Jairus Byrd proved to be unreasonable for what Philadelphia is looking to do. T.J. Ward didn’t fit into the picture for the type of safety that the Eagles need. While making the small calculated move of adding Jenkins and improving the position without breaking the bank seems ineffective based on what was available, it may end up working perfectly because of what they can still do.
The Eagles have an opportunity to still make the big splash that many were hoping for, demonstrating their not afraid of free agency. If handled correctly, the coming days could drastically improve the defense and show the commitment the Eagles have to winning now.
It seems that Darrelle Revis will become available sometime soon. Obviously, many teams will be lining up for their chance. The Eagles present a very unique option for Revis in that they are an up-and-coming contender and have the resources available to pay him, but they’ll have to strike fast.
Although Philadelphia should not be willing to meet the his current contract terms, they should be willing to pay him handsomely for his services. It would upgrade the secondary instantly and open up the opportunity for defensive coordinator Billy Davis to do what he enjoys most, blitz. Having the lockdown cover on the outside can open up a bevy of options that would improve the Eagles’ defense immensely and give them some of the swagger they’ve been missing.
Philadelphia can’t stop there though. Champ Bailey, although heading towards the end of his career, can provide help in a variety of ways. His versatility would allow them to play him at safety, reading the game and covering when necessary, while using newly-signed Jenkins to play the box and hitting role. He would be a quality addition in the locker room, one who gives the team another option at corner when necessary. On top of that, he can probably be signed at a bargain.
If they’re really willing to spend, DeMarcus Ware would provide the pass rusher that the Eagles need. He is the perfect fit for the 3-4 defense and still has enough in the tank to help. The price tag will be steep, but the reward could be great in the end. Although he’ll be highly coveted, it’s worth a conversation.
Offensively, the Eagles already have plenty to work with, but it’s still possible to imagine them becoming more potent. With the New Orleans Saints spending a boatload on getting Byrd, the possibility of players becoming available is greater. It seems as though a trade may be the only possibility, but Darren Sproles would be a quality addition to go along with LeSean McCoy. His ability to return as well as receive makes him a multi-dimensional player who Chip Kelly would salivate to work with.
Another receiver is probably still in the cards as well, but the Eagles will need to tread lightly to not overspend after re-upping both Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin prior to the opening of free agency. Overall, there are still plenty of options, but making the right choices will be the key to making sure the Eagles are contenders now.