Monday, January 15, 2007

Judging the Eagles Unrestricted Free Agents

AR didn't go gushing about his list of Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) but he did say:this yesterday: "You're going to keep most of your guys. Most of them are going to be here," Reid said. "There is probably an average between 5-10 guys that won't be here, so you have to bring in the right people, draft the right people, and so on, and re-sign the right people."

Over the next few weeks the Eagles front office will comb over the UFA crop, the draft, evaluate the team, etc etc etc....I don't think Andy wants a LOT of I don't think the Eagles are just going to let all their UFAs walk (for the record, we're talking about QBs Jeff Garcia and oy Detmer, WR Donte' Stallworth, RBs Correll Buckhalter and Reno Mahe, DE Juqua Thomas, LB Shawn Barber, DBs Rod Hood, Michael Lewis, Will James and Quintin Mikell)

To me, besides the two most obvious keepers, Garcia and Stallworth, there isn't anyone who is absolutely critical, just folks I would like to see stay. In that vein I think losing Juqua Thomas (who stepped up for us at DE) and Buckhalter (who came back strong from missing two straight seasons) would hurt...its just that I don't see them as irreplaceable.

Everyone will groan, but I think one player who is going to resign is Reno Mahe. Let's be honest, Philly is his only shot to make an NFL team. I think he comes relatively cheap for 1 year and provides the Eagles some insurance in case Jeremy Bloom proves he can't cut in the NFL. I don't think him signing in the off-season will guarantee he makes the team mind you, but I don't see him getting any other offers.

The same cannot be said for Jeff Garcia and Donte Stallworth...I think both players will receive attractive offer sheets from other teams across the NFL...but I also believe its very possible that both will re-up with the Birds if they get anything comparable...For Jeff, I believe he knows this is the perfect situation for him to succeed. I'm not saying he'll take chump change to do it, but that he would almost certainly take less money (so long as its not insulting) to remain here and be on a winner (realizing that the teams that would want to make him a starter would see him as a care-taker for a couple of seasons while they drafted and developed the QB of the future....
Stallworth's position is a bit different. This is his first, and possibly only, chance to cash-in on the free agent market, and it comes at a particularly good year with the salary cap rising so much this off-season. So hard-up team could easily break the bank for him, and then its probably ciao Donte, because I don't see the Eagles matching a mega-offer...matching a good offer, probably, but the Eagles don't have the cap space to fend off a big-time deal, and still address some more pressing defensive needs...We'll see though, if the Eagles can get creative enough to lure him back without breaking the bank...Donte wants to be here, and we want him here...all the elements are in place for a happy reunion and much joyous production next year. Cross you fingers...

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