Your guess is as good as mine as far as predicting the team's intentions in A) Free agency and then B) The NFL draft in late April. The Eagles are pushed into no corners and in fact have positioned themselves to have as much flexibility as any team for this offseason.
How much of their substantial cap room will they actually use? What is the approach for the draft? How does head coach Chip Kelly blend the schemes he has in mind with the talent on the roster?
All are valid questions. I know you have a bunch of them, so let's try to tackle some now ...
What Is This Defense Going To Look Like In September?
There have been some significant changes already, of course, and there are bound to be more. The Eagles some starters from last year who are bound for unrestricted free agency -- linebacker Akeem Jordan and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- and they have Nnamdi Asomugha's contract situation -- he is reportedly set to earn $15 million this season -- to potentially address.
Yeah, the defense is going to look a lot different in 2013. We know that. We anticipate that. Just how different remains to be seen.
The defensive scheme is not set in stone. Everyone who is talking -- reporters, fans, not coaches -- thinks the Eagles are going to run some kind of hybrid scheme that allows the front to change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 within the course of a game. The truth is, we don't know.
It's likely that the coaches aren't sure, either, because they don't know what players they're going to have on the roster. It's probable that Bill Davis has his scheme in mind, understanding that he is going to have to be flexible, and he'll tweak the system once he gets a better handle on the players he has.
We know the defensive personnel is going to include some new names, maybe even quite a few new names. But this side of the ball is much more of a work in progress than it appears the offense is at this stage.
How Will Eagles Approach Free Agency?
The Eagles have ample room within the confines of the salary cap, but that doesn't mean they are going to go on a spending spree. How much top-shelf talent will be on the market when March 12 arrives, anyway?
Adding good players and developing strong locker-room chemistry is the emphasis of this offseason. If that means signing a couple of strong players in free agency, great. If the Eagles want to take a pass on free agency and instead devote their energies toward the draft, that's understandable.
The Eagles want to build a foundation here for Kelly and his coaching staff. The quick-fix approach from 2011 applies no more. There are some good players on this roster, some young talent, and so the Eagles want to build around those players -- good offensive skill players, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and linebacker Mychal Kendricks and others -- and get this team back on the winning track. Nobody pretends it is going to happen overnight.
Are The Eagles In Love With A Player In The Draft?
This is the question that fans ask all the time: Would the Eagles consider so-and-so player at No. 4 in the first round? The answer is, yeah, they'll consider just about any player worthy of being selected. There are a lot of talented players in the draft. The Eagles going to think about all of their options.
But are they in love with a single player? That's unlikely. No doubt general manager Howie Roseman has his draft board in place and that he looks at it and manages it every day, probably many times each day. The Eagles have too many needs to fall head over heels with one player or one position. This team needs impact on defense and it needs a couple of large question marks -- offensive line and quarterback for two -- to be answered on offense.
There is a ton of depth and talent in this draft, the draftniks say. The Eagles have a real chance to get some impact help at No. 4, or wherever they eventually choose in the first round. Same with rounds two and three. The draft is, they say, that deep.
So, I don't have the sense that the Eagles are targeting a single player. They know the variables that exist in this draft.
What Happens Between Now And March 12?
A lot, actually, even if we see none of it. Draft strategies are finalized, roster decisions are made, players who are about to become free agents are signed. It's a very important time in the year, even if it is quiet to the public.
Which of the team's potential UFA's will sign with the Eagles before free agency begins? The list is this: offensive guard Jake Scott, long snapper Jon Dorenbos, defensive end Darryl Tapp, defensive tackle Derek Landri, Rodgers-Cromartie, Jordan and offensive tackle King Dunlap. Safety Colt Anderson is due to become a restricted free agent.
We're two weeks away from the action. How active will it be early for the Eagles? Hey, we all want to get in on the fun right away, but that's not necessarily how it works. The Eagles have their work cut out for them, and soon we'll find out pieces of the plan and how Kelly envisions his roster coming together.