There is a whole lot of buzz coming from the NFL Scouting Combine, but the Eagles are saying nothing. Seems like every reporter in the country has an opinion of what the team will do with its quarterback picture, but nobody knows. Rather, nobody who *really *knows is saying anything. So I'm like you: On the edge of my seat waiting for some clue of what the Eagles really, truly, honestly are going to do in the coming weeks.
We know a lot of things are brewing behind the scenes. The Eagles, according to one report, are negotiating a new contract with fullback Leonard Weaver. It seems safe to believe that the Eagles aren't going to lose their Pro Bowl fullback, a restricted free agent starting Friday. Who else they may be talking to -- and rest assured, the Eagles are doing a lot of talking behind closed doors, we don't know. I say that the team knows how valuable restricted free agents like Jason Avant and Nick Cole are, and they have no intention of losing either player.
Free agency? Your guess is as good as mine. The top of the list of potential unrestricted free agents looks pretty good to me, with defensive end Julius Peppers, cornerback Dunta Robinson, linebacker Karlos Dansby and running backs like Darren Sproles and Chester Taylor about to hit the market. I didn't think the front of the line in the talent pool would be so intriguing, so if the Eagles have plans on making a splash in free agency, they have the opportunity to do so.
But will they? I think the Eagles really like this roster, and they are pleased that it should return relatively intact, and they think they have a good, young core of players around whom to build. At the same time, they have to challenge the roster and address key needs -- pass rush, free safety, running back, offensive line -- to put the roster in line for training camp.
The front office has evaluated the successes and the failures of 2009 very critically, and be confident knowing the team has a very specific plan on what to do next. I don't know the plan. Jeffrey Lurie, Joe Banner, Andy Reid and Howie Roseman know the plan. I'm not sure anybody else -- including the coaching staff -- has a direct understanding of the next steps the team will take.
Certainly, though, the Eagles have a lot of work to do. They have a list of restricted free agents to tender in the week ahead. They have to determine what they want to do with Michael Vick, who is reportedly due a $1.5 million bonus on Friday. They have to figure out how and if the Andrews brothers fit into the plans. Stacy is reportedly due a large bonus and there have been reports that the Eagles are interested in negotiating a new contract with him and that he is open to a negotiation. The next several days are spent in Indianapolis at the Combine, where the team meets with agents and gets a lot of the legwork done that doesn't involve scouting potential draft picks.
And then there is the headliner -- free agency. It is likely the Eagles have mapped out a strategy and have made internal plans to approach free agency in the most aggressive manner that makes sense. Will they jump right in and go after some of the big fish on Friday? Will they stand back and see how the market plays early?
Or will the Eagles do what it sounds like many teams are doing and observe from the sidelines and focus instead of some of the middle-level talent?
I'd like to know. I'm just like you in that sense. I'm scanning the Internet constantly. I talk to reporters and speculate on what might happen. I talk to coaches to try to get a hint. And each day, it seems, I'm back at square one. Will the Eagles trade a quarterback? I have said this from the start, and I still believe it: It's going to be highly unusual for the Eagles to bring all three quarterbacks back on the final year of their contracts. Something has to give, either via a trade or a new contract or something.
Will the Eagles be players in free agency? I think they will operate as they always have: If they see somebody who is a difference-making player, they will go after him with the full intention on making a huge deal. I just don't know if they see that kind of player on the market. I know I do, but my opinion means nothing. The upper echelon of players on the way to free agency looks pretty potent to me.
What else? I've got my thoughts. The Eagles have clear needs. They have to be creative and aggressive and intelligent about what they do next, and then what they do after that. I see this off-season as a marathon, and not a sprint. How the Eagles look at the end of March and how they look at the end of June are going to be two different pictures, with significant change taking place.
I'm anxious. I'm excited. I'm unsure of what the Eagles are going to do next, just like you. The waiting at this time of the year is so difficult, and thank goodness we have the Internet to satisfy the hourly urge to check and search for clues on what the Eagles intend to do.