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Philadelphia Eagles News

Eagles Moving Behind The Scenes

It's time to catch you up on the goings-on here, making sense of the moves and to speculate, just a little bit, on what the Eagles have as their next action item during this frenzied period of time ...

  • The Trent Cole contract extension follows the lines of the one a day earlier with Todd Herremans, both from the Draft Class of 2005. The Eagles want to take care of their own players first and foremost and have done so with Herremans and Cole. Cole benefits moving forward from a defensive end rotation that includes Jason Babin, Darryl Tapp, Phillip Hunt and, of course Brandon Graham. Look for Cullen Jenkins to play end in short-yardage situations. It's a good group, one that could be among the best in the league (if it isn't already) with the development of Hunt (up to 260 pounds) and Graham. Obviously, Graham is under huge pressure this season. The Eagles, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the Eagles will not address defensive end in this offseason. Unless they have someone fall in their laps who they absolutely have rated as a superstar, they are going to go with what they have, which is certainly good enough to win a Super Bowl.
  • What to make of the Winston Justice trade that sent him to Indianapolis along with an exchange of 2012 sixth-round draft picks? It's a salary-cap thing for the Eagles, who needed some relief. Justice is due to earn more than $4 million in 2012, which makes no sense for a backup offensive tackle. The Colts see him as a potential starter. The Eagles get cap relief and they move up 15 spots in the sixth round of April's draft. Good luck to Justice, who just wasn't the same after suffering a knee injury late in the 2010 season and then did not mesh at all with line coach Howard Mudd.
  • I saw Jamaal Jackson in the hallways of the NovaCare Complex last week and wished him good luck. Everyone here knew what was coming. He didn't fit here with the emergence of Jason Kelce. Jackson will find a job and he will have a chance to start. The Eagles clearly felt he couldn't help at any of the three interior linemen positions, so he is moving on. Great career here for a player who was not drafted and who was the picture of professionalism. Said Jackson in a Tweet after his release: "I want to thank the fans for their everlasting support of me and my family during my tenure here. I wish you all & the eagles the very best!"
  • The roster from Super Bowl 38 is officially washed away. No player remains from that team. Amazing how quickly things change in this league.
  • Suddenly, though, the Eagles lack depth along the offensive line. They have no proven backup tackle on the roster with Justice traded and King Dunlap an unrestricted free agent. Guard Evan Mathis is still an unrestricted free agent and it is hard to tell what kind of interest he is receiving out there. Jackson is gone. Second-year man Julian Vandervelde and Dallas Reynolds will get looks at guard, and Zane Taylor will have a chance to make it at guard and center. Maybe the Eagles really like D.J. Jones, who they signed the day after the Super Bowl. Jones spent last year with Baltimore.
  • Defensive tackle Antonio Dixon is signed, sealed and delivered with a one-year contract. So the Eagles have Jenkins, Mike Patterson, Dixon and Cedric Thornton as the top four tackles on defense right now. Derek Landri and Trevor Laws remain unrestricted free agents. Haven't heard much about where they might go, or whether they will return here.
  • There are no visits scheduled for unrestricted free agents as I write this. The rumor is that the Eagles are one of four teams interested in safety LaRon Landry, who is coming off a torn Achilles tendon injury. I have nothing to substantiate those rumors. Doesn't seem like the kind of fit the Eagles are looking for at this time.
  • It has been, through the first 24 hours, a very slow market in free agency for the unrestricted linebackers on the market. I'm sure we will hear in the next two days about some players gaining interest, but it validates the idea that only very special linebackers are valued as such in the NFL. Teams that play a 3-4 and want rush linebackers who pile up the sacks get the big bucks. Linebackers who play in the 4-3 and don't garner big numbers are rarely first-day signees in free agency.
  • Wide receiver DeSean Jackson is expected to sign his one-year contract at any moment, so that isn't a worry. I wonder what the true numbers are from these big deals signed by wide receivers the last couple of days, and how those contracts impact Jackson's ability to get a long-term deal done with the Eagles. I don't often believe the reported contract numbers. They are often inflated by agents.
  • I still miss the Midnight Madness of past free agency years, but these first couple of days have been quite enjoyable. Let me say that I'm jaded from years of going "Oooh," and "Aaahh" by big names moving and then not making big impacts. For the life of me, I can't understand why Washington would go out and sign two wide receivers on the first day of free agency with a rookie quarterback soon to be in the fold. What about that offensive line?
  • I've told you for many weeks what to expect in free agency and so far I'm on course: The Eagles want to extend their own players -- LeSean McCoy has to be a conversation prior to the opening kickoff of the season -- and dip judiciously into free agency. Look for the team to get involved on Thursday, maybe Friday.
  • Which of the team's unrestricted free agents will return? Other than Mathis, I'm not sure if any will. Maybe Dunlap, if he gets no great offers out there. Fullback Owen Schmitt seems destined to find a new home. Perhaps either Landri or Laws, should free agency not yield the kind of offers they desire. 
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