We are in a state of suspension with regards to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement as the players review the proposal agreed upon by the Owners on Thursday night in Atlanta, but barring a disaster of epic sports proportions there is going to be football, and very soon.
On a day when the temperature inside my car as I started it at the NovaCare Complex parking lot showed 113 degrees, the mind wanders to cool fall days and Eagles football at Lincoln Financial Field. Here are some thoughts about what is ahead ...
- I believe the Eagles are well positioned to move decisively and wisely into the bold present. They have several people within the organization who can negotiate contracts, a must during a period of time when players -- draft picks, non-drafted rookies, veterans -- are going to have to be signed quickly and whisked into training camp. Joe Banner and Howie Roseman lead the way here, and the Eagles are in fine hands.
- Speaking of signing veterans, the old way to sign a veteran free agent was to fly him into town and show him around, let him meet various people in the organization and talk about a deal. Sometimes the player would leave the facility and go to another team, just to get a feel. I don't see that happening this time around. I see players agreeing to terms over the phone, visiting for a physical, signing a contract and heading off to training camp to practice.
- Does that mean we're going to see more one-year contracts than ever before?
- Under the rules of the CBA agreed to by the Owners, teams can use both the Franchise tag and the Transition tag, just not in the same year. The Eagles have Michael Vick as their Franchise player, and they have until September 20 to reach a contract extension with him, or he would become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2011 campaign. It appears, then, that placekicker David Akers will test free agency until the Eagles are able to sign him during what is expected to be an exclusive window for teams to negotiate with players on their current rosters. I never say never, but the writing seems pretty clear here for Akers and the Eagles. You look back at the decision to take Alex Henery in the fourth round of the draft and give the Eagles credit for thinking ahead and understanding the landscape.
- Aren't you excited about the idea of training camp opening on the same day as free agency? Will this be the craziest week or two in the history of an NFL offseason?
- I like the idea that 46 players will be active for game day, rather than 45 plus an emergency quarterback. I think I would use that 46th player more often than not on someone other than a quarterback, someone who can help on special teams or fill a specialty role within the offense or defense. The loss here is that the third quarterback is usually a young player who misses out on the opportunity be in uniform to better experience the view of the game from the position. But unless the starting quarterback or the backup is injured slightly entering the game, I'm keeping the third quarterback inactive. Heck, I'd like to see all 53 players active. I still don't get the idea that all 53 aren't eligible to play on game day. Makes no sense to me.
- I'm not commenting on who is right and who is wrong in the labor talks. It's business. I don't know all the facts. It will get worked out soon. Very soon.
- All of a sudden, I'm really into the idea of building my Twitter following. Sign up for me @EaglesInsider and let's have some fun.
- All of these potential new rules regarding no two-a-day practices and more days off and no pads during the season in practice ... it is not going to greatly affect the way Andy Reid does things. He takes care of his players. That's why they love playing for him.
- What to expect if the Eagles have training camp? I don't know. It may not be exactly the same as in the past, but it's always a great, great experience. And this year, with all of the new faces, it's going to be awesome.
- Stay tuned throughout the weekend as we cover whatever happens in the NFL and update you on Eagles news. We will be live at Noon with Eagles Live! from the NovaCare Complex, regardless of what happens with the players as they review the CBA proposal.