Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Eagles Make a Trade


I was told the Eagles were shopping for a MLB. They just made a deal with the Rams to acquire Will Witherspoon. The Eagles give up WR Brandon Gibson and a 5th Rder in 2010.

Omar Gaither hurt his foot late in the Oakland game. That's why he wasn't on the field on the final series. I haven't heard anything definitive about him being out for extended time, but they must be worried if they made a deal.

Witherspoon played WLB for the Panthers early in his career. He's fast and athletic. He is a playmaking LB. The Rams signed him to a big FA deal and put him at MLB. He has played pretty well for them. Will isn't the kind of physical presence you ideally want at MLB, but he does bring speed and range to the defense.

I assume the Eagles will play him inside. That isn't a given. They could move Jordan to the middle and put 'Spoon at WLB. They could throw us a curveball and move Gocong inside and put Spoon at SAM. No matter where he plays, Will gives us a bona fide quality starting LB. Check out some of his career numbers:

19 sacks
8 INTs
8 FFs
53 Pass Break-ups
561 solo tackles (116 games)


Not too shabby, huh? You can see that he's a playmaker. He can drop back and cover. I've also seen him line up at DE and rush the passer. He's got good speed and flies to the ball.

We can thank the Andy Reid coaching tree for this deal. Who knows if the Eagles are able to pull off this deal without Steve Spagnuolo as the HC down in St Louis.

This moves works for the present and future. Will has played inside and outside. He can take over the middle right now, but move outside in the future. If Stewart Bradley is fully recovered next year, the MLB job is his. Will did get hurt last weekend and had to be carried off the field, but it turned out to be a hip/back injury and not a leg problem. He will need to pass a physical in order for the deal to go through.

He signed a 6-year deal back in 2006. He's now in year 4. I'm not sure if it can be voided or if he is our guy for the next 2 seasons (2010 & 2011).


My PE.com column is about Sunday's game, but also what the loss means. Right now it doesn't mean a thing. If we go and get back to winning, the loss is just an L in the standings. If the team goes mental on us and heads into a funk, then the loss definitely has meaning.

I'm still maintaining a positive outlook with this team. There is a lot of talent. This is a high character bunch. One game is just that...one game. Stop the bleeding and move on. I sure didn't see anything on Sunday that made me think we can't be a good team. There was no lack of talent. Sloppy play can be corrected.

Here's the article:

-- Link --

By the way...the title wasn't my doing. I titled it "Just One Game". They changed it to "Relax, It's Just One Game". That adds a note of softness that wasn't really intended on my part.


Dollar Brand said...

Real nice to see the team's aggressive approach with moves this year. This one seems to be very positive on the risk/reward scale. Very difficult to find a productive LB'er that a team will deal mid-season.
Also, I often wondered how much what you write is amended upon submission too PE. The unabridged version, with the music, movie and history references is always more enjoyable.

izzylangfan said...

The only Eagles linebackers that were signed for next year were Bradley and Fokou. So the Eagles needed to sign a bunch of linebackers anyway - resign their own or get some free agents. In that regard Witherspoon fits more than just this year. So Good Job!

Whether the Eagles really wanted him at $5 million next year is questionable. They did pay Trotter that much after getting chosen for the Pro Bowl in 2004. And I think they paid Spikes something like that for one season. But they did not tolerate him for long. So perhaps there was a bit of desperation in the trade. With Bradley down, Trotter not impressing, and now maybe Gaither down desperation may be appropriate.

The Eagles like a lot of teams in the league like to put their money in the line and the backfield on defense, not so much on linebackers. Although I believe they will gladly pay up for the home grown Bradley if he returns to his old form.

If they ever resign Bunkley it is going to be for big bucks and then won't they need to do something with Patterson? So the Eagles have some big pay outs coming.

Gaither is likely gone next year and Gocong probably should not get too comfortable. But who knows, maybe if they play Gocong in the middle he'll be great since he doesn't cover like a great SAM and uses his size and speed well to play the run. And Gocong does seem to be improving against the pass. Akeem Jordan is probably a keeper.

Next year is going to be weird and who knows what the Eagles will do in 2010 which looks like it is going to be an uncapped year. They could let salaries go below the old minimum to rake in extra high profits for one year before operating under a new agreement in 2011. Or they could try and lock in some good players with front loaded long term deals. Although the special uncapped year rules make it pretty tough. Or they could play it pretty straight.

Don't even think strike or lockout in 2011.

T_S_O_P said...

I hope they try 'Cong at MIKE with Will to SAM.

With this signing, how long before we let Trotter go? It is awful to see a hero so incredibly rusty and exposed.

Mark H. said...

Good move. I think the hole in the middle of the defense was getting too obvious to ignore.

rick said...

We had to do something to get a linebacker...I wonder if we offered Kevin Curtis straight up for Spoon? Michael Lombardi said last week that Curtis was on the trading block. I hate to lose Gibson who really impressed in PS.