Friday, March 5, 2010

Eagles Make 2 Moves

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The Eagles caught me off guard by cutting WLB Will Witherspoon.  Talk about a move that really came out of left field. 

I was happy to see the deal with FB Leonard Weaver get finalized.  Leonard Part 6 was great for us last year and I'm ecstatic that we got that situation right.  He's too good a fit to let him hit the open market. 

What do we make of dumping Spoon?  Hard to say really.  You do wonder if this move was made to open up the WLB spot for another player.  The Eagles were counting on getting Julius Peppers.  Maybe now they are looking elsewhere for an impact player (and they have the money to spend on him). 

The first thought is Karlos Dansby, but I'm not sure we'll get into the bidding for a guy like him.  Most good LBs are RFAs.  I just glanced at the list of UFAs again and it isn't real compelling.  Keith Bulluck tore an ACL in late December.  Danny Clark is a good role player / spot starter.  If the Eagles did go after an RFA they could like Derrick Johnson, Nick Roach, Rocky McIntosh, or Thomas Howard. 

Spoon was solid in his time as an Eagle.  He looked like a playmaker in the WAS game, but never got back to that level the rest of the season.  Akeem Jordan now is the leader at WLB.  That could be a temporary promotion or long term.  He did play well at times last year, but also made some mistakes that really bothered the coaching staff and led to diminished playing time even before his injury. 

There are some good LBs in the draft that could take the spot, but we have holes at CB, DE, and FS that must be filled.  WLB falls in line after those spots on the offseason priority list. 
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27 comments:

Eddie said...

right away when i saw that we released witherspoon, my only thought was (Sean) Weatherspoon

Jay said...

Hey Tommy, Great write up as usual...But, while shocking, because of how much PT he got last year, I can't say I was surprised by Witherspoon getting cut. I think I had said to you last year, that after watching him on the different camera angles available on SNF he looked lost. Constantly out of position, covering the wrong guy and consistently unable to shed blocks.

That was at least my over the top/way to hard on a guy switching teams and switching positions evaluation of a guy ... but given his price tag and the fact that I think Jordan was the better player, I can't say I was surprised.

That being said ... how do you see the LB position unfolding next year? And, can you elaborate on your statement that the Eagles were expecting that they would land Peppers? Is this something you know for sure or is this just speculation? And, if you do know for sure, what caused them to lose out? Did he get much more money from Chicago than we were willing to give?

Adam S. said...

Maybe they didn't want any confusion on the field after they draft Weatherspoon. Maybe they are freeing up cap space to sign a rookie after they move up in the draft to get Berry. I'm clearly grasping at straws here, BUT I'm definitely going to say "I told you so" if either happen.

I'm disappointed in the release of W.W. for two reasons. One, I liked him, nothing philosophical about it, I just thought he was our best option at WLB. Two, He essentially became a rent-a-player at too high a cost for my liking. 5th rnd pick I can handle but losing Gibson hurts, especially if Curtis or Brown are not on the roster come opening day. Gibson could have been valuable.

Adam S. said...

For the record there were no comments here when i wrote ^^^^ that one

Cliff said...

Shocked as everyone else, but I'm fine with going in to the season with Jordan at WLB. He started really well before getting hurt.

I almost feel silly trying to analyze what the Eagles are doing. We're only 1 day in to free agency!We know the Eagles wanted to upgrade DE. We don't know much else.

Kudos for locking up FB, though. I thought for sure Reid & Co. would balk at spending money on such an obscure position. Weaver's play last season really opened Reid's eyes, I believe.

Adam S. said...

I think when they sat down and looked at what to do with weaver they realized they had more than just the best FB they've had in years but also a very valuable short yardage and change of pace RB. With Westbrook gone it made Weaver that much more valuable to the team. No brainer that they lock him up. Glad they didn't screw this one up.

Cliff said...

Wow! Did you guys see Boldin was traded to Baltimore for 3rd and 4th round picks? Yeesh.

geoff said...

Hey Tommy,
Have you heard anything about this?
"Eagles talking to Browns about McNabb trade?, Source: Lane Adkins of OBR Report" This is a title of a thread over on EMB. Someone said
McNabb and Gocong to Cleveland for D'Qwell Jackson and a second round pick, plus conditional choice 2011 That makes some sense but it's just conjecture. can tell you I am going nuts, I wish something would happen, but I can't believe I am every web site there looking for something, I need to get a life.

Cliff said...

I'd be all over D'Qwell Jackson like a snuggie on a bookworm.

I think he played ILB in their 3-4, though. How would he translate to the 4-3?

Cliff said...

And now Kampman might visit Philly afterall? Huh?

geoff said...

WLB, maybe MLB and move Bradley over to SLB? Eagles do like MLBs over on the weakside. Good question though. There might be something to this, reprots are he's upset at the tender, Eagles aren't all that happy with Gocong so...

frankfurtler said...

As always, Just keep doing what you do, you are great.

I liked the nugget in your Offseason Wish list Misc items about B. April and D. Jaron(sp?). Since we're in wait and see mode, any thoughts on Phil Savage's role in FA and draft?

Brian said...

"The Eagles were counting on getting Julius Peppers."

You've said this more than once, Tommy. What do you base it on?

Tommy Lawlor said...

I hear certain things, but I can't always share them before stories break. Eagles really, really wanted JP.

Dan said...

Damn, that's a lot scratch Rolle got from NYG. Any signs the Birds are sniffing around a safety?

T_S_O_P said...

Your ideal off-season already awash, starting now what plans would you have at LB?

Edward said...

Its kinda hard to feel that the Eagles have done anything but get worse in the last day or so. We signed Weaver which is a maintenance move (one i'm all aboard with mind) and then cut our starting WLB who cost us a great prospect in Brandon Gibson and a 5th Rounder (which the Eagles have nailed recently).

If the Eagles 'really, really wanted JP.' it suggests their backup plans aren't so promising.

We now need some genuine talent at S, CB, At least 2 LB's, LDE, RB and OG. Where is that all gonna come from?

Edward said...

Weaver made a booboo and talked about "New Guys" on the O-line during his press conference. Pretty funny, he got grilled after it! Probably just a slip of the tongue.

Cliff said...

I can see why the Eagles didn't want to counter-offer the Bears at the end: $95 million, $42 guaranteed? Lord.

Netherman said...

Still a chance this thing could turn out OK, but I think a higher priority must be placed on trading DMac. Let's say we could get a very high 2nd for him, you could land someone like McCourty maybe at that spot and use your 1st on a DE. If you snag Atogwe and Burgess in free agency, you hedge your bets on the young guys coming through. I really wanted Weatherspoon, but without landing one of the better DE's I think that is too high a priority now.

Stephen said...

Hmmm, cutting Witherspoon kinda sucks, we aren't supposed to be the team that makes the half season bandaid move for a player and give up a lot for him. A 5th and Brandon Gibson for a guy we cut after 10 games? Unusual for us. I didn't think Witherspoon played poorly but he wasn't awesome either. Regardless it makes no sense depth wise to me.

mcud77 said...

I think an answer here would involve one of the guys on your offseason plan, Trevor Laws.

I'd get KC on the phone and offer Laws straight up for another miscast talent, Derrick Johnson. Johnson has the higher pedigree, but Laws is younger, fits their system better as a 3-4 End, and most importantly, is under an affordable contract.

With regard to Will Witherspoon, his release reads to me that they were simply desperate last year to make a playoff run, and didn't want our situation at MLB to be our achilles' heel for the rest of the season. That they moved him around so much says to me that they never really felt comfortable with him anywhere. Remember, this is a guy who was an UFA a couple of years earlier, and we didn't even give him a sniff.

As far as the future goes, I really would be fine taking three LBs in April, if nobody is added between here and then, and especially if we start losing guys like MJG and Gocong on RFAgency.

2nd - D Washington, WILL
3rd/4th - AJ Edds, SAM
6th - Micah Johnson, MIKE

As far as the rest of free agency goes, its seems like if the Eagles really wanted Kampman or Atogwe, they would already have them coming in for a visit. Now, its possible that they want the market to settle down to get those players for less, but that means (to me, anyway) that they're not terribly excited about them in the first place.

Cliff said...

Well let's be honest, this group of free agents wasn't anything to be excited about anyway.

We should all probably just settle down and see what unfolds. For example, what if we sign Kampman today and Otogwe next week? That turns out to be a really good off-season, in my opinion. We have to remember it's only been 1 day.

Cliff said...

I wonder what the market will be for Witherspoon. He was schedule to make $5 million in base salary. He sounds like he was happy playing in Philly. It might not be out of the realm of possibility if he comes back on a reduced contract. Would he earn more than $5 million on the open market?

Kevin said...

When I look at JP's contract, I fully understand why we balked. That's a lot of coin for a DE who has a history of not showing up. We got what, 2 good years out of Jevon Kearse? I'd rather take that money and extend Bunkley/Avant/Bradley/DSJ long-term.

Luckily, there are still tier2 guys who can potentially help us.
1) Kampmann (assuming we can check his knee out)
2) Mike Bell (RFA with no compensation)
3) Thomas Jones (if we can convince him to play for only 10 carries, max, a game)

I don't think it's that doom and gloom. We agreed before the off-season that the majority of improvements would come from trades and the draft

mcud77 said...

Extensions and FA signings (even huge ones) are not mutually exclusive for this club. Make no mistake, we can afford to extend every single player on the roster AND afford a guy like JP. One has nothing to do with the other, based on the current salary structure of our roster.

IMO, this was likely a case of some front office arrogance, or lack of effort. The front office probably thought that JP would give them a shot. Andy knows JP pretty well from prior Pro Bowls, and Peppers/Peppers' agent both knew the Eagles had a big need at DE. I can't believe their interest was a secret. Its possible that Philadelphia isn't any more desirable to FAs than the average city. They've come up short on Bentley, on Randy Moss, on Haynesworth, and now on Peppers, and I think they had serious interest in all four. If it is, in fact, a lack of hustle that is costing them these big time FAs, then I hope this serves as a wakeup call.

Give credit to Chicago. They knew without a 1st or 2nd round pick, that they needed to make a splash in FA. They did just that, and whatever got them JP's 1st visit was more than the Eagles did.

I say this with the utmost respect for our front office. They put plans into place, and stick with them, and generally execute said plans very, very well. It just seems like their approach to FA may need a bit of tweaking.

Kevin said...

I respectfully disagree witb your assesment of extensions and signings being. It's a cash issue. If we sign JP to THAT contract, it means we have to find cash flow right away for the signing bonuses. The Eagles don't generate any siginificant forms of revenue in the off-season. So you want them to give all their player roster bonuses (like Vick's 1.5M), give JP the largest contract for a non-QB in NFL History AND resign young players. Good luck to you sir.

Also, the Eagles compete with 31 other teams for free agents. In 2007 and 2004, we got the BEST devfensive player available (Samuel, Kearse). So basically, over the past decade, we're batting 20% while the vast majority of NFL teams are batting 0%. Only Washington can say they've done something similar. To say the Eagles don't get the player they want is false. They simply won't fork over ridiculous contracts. I wouldn't have paid that much to JP or Haynesworth either.

I have issues with this FO, but not being aggresive in FA clearly shouldn't be one of them.