Yesterday, we took a lot at an off-season preview for the other three NFC East teams as the start of a new league year draws near. Now, on the eve of free agency, we take a look at what the Eagles might do this off-season.
Sean McCormick of Football Outsiders begins his Eagles preview by touching on the position that has drawn the most scrutiny since the season ended - quarterback. He says that there is a real possibility this off-season that Donovan McNabb could be moving elsewhere if the Eagles get an offer they can't refuse for the veteran signal caller. Of course, the possibility of McNabb moving on is predicated on the Eagles' faith in Kevin Kolb.
McCormick says that perceived faith in Kolb is justified, as he posted a 15.9% DVOA rating in his two starts last season, a higher number than McNabb and comparable young quarterbacks like Joe Flacco and Chad Henne.
The third quarterback, Michael Vick, could also be heading elsewhere, according to McCormick. Vick is reportedly due a $1.5 million bonus on March 9 and the Eagles have been rumored to be willing to trade Vick for the right offer either before or after March 9. Another veteran whom McCormick thinks could be finished in Philadelphia is wide receiver Kevin Curtis. Curtis was injured for much of last season and he's fallen behind promising young receiver DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant on the depth chart.
As for whom the Eagles could look to add to their already talented roster, defensive end seems to make sense as a prime target. McCormick says that both Julius Peppers and Aaron Kampman could be great fits at defensive end opposite Pro Bowler Trent Cole, though the price will have to be right for both. Though supremely talented, Peppers, 30, is a question mark because of inconsistency and his age - production for defensive ends has traditionally tailed off after the age of 30. Kampman, 30, also faces major questions after coming off a torn ACL, but if he checks out medically then he's thought to be interested in returning to his natural position of defensive end after an unimpressive stint as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
The secondary is another area that needs to be addressed for the Eagles, and McCormick highlights two potential fits at cornerback, including one familiar face. Roderick Hood began his career with the Eagles in 2003 and played four seasons as a versatile contributor. A special teamer as a rookie, Hood worked his way into the rotation at cornerback, contributing as a nickel corner and stepping in for an injured Lito Sheppard in the starting lineup. Hood is an unrestricted free agent after a tumultuous season that saw him released three different times before he found a home in Tennessee with the Titans. Though Hood will hit the open market, the Titans are reportedly interested in retaining his services.
Nate Jones, 27, is another veteran cornerback who could present similar value, although his former team, the Miami Dolphins, is reportedly willing to let him move on. Jones was a special teams demon who led the Dolphins in special teams tackles last season and contributed as a nickel cornerback. McCormick says that Jones is a "prototypical nickel corner" and would be a good fit for the Eagles to add depth to cornerback stable that includes Asante Samuel, Sheldon Brown and Joselio Hanson - all of who are older than Jones.
The interior offensive line is another position that could be addressed through free agency as center Jamaal Jackson recovers from a late-season torn ACL and guards Nick Cole and Max Jean-Gilles enter restricted free agency. Anything can happen once the new league year starts tomorrow at 12:01 a.m., so make sure to come back to Bloghead for a live chat as we follow all the news and rumors when free agency officially begins.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 11:58 a.m., March 4