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Judge Eagles Later, Not Now

Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's great. No doubt Herremans deserves his new deal, one that keeps him an Eagle through 2016. But I mean, what are they doing about now about the 2012 team. I figured if they didn't have three or four guys signed 30 minutes after free agency opened, they just weren't demonstrating the urgency they need to show.

Now for something serious ... Above is the reaction of some fans who want the work to be done now, no questions asked. They think that if a plan is in place, the Eagles must act quickly. They've done it in the past, so why not do it again?

There are reasons, people. The Eagles don't have a lot of room within the $120.6 million salary cap. They are going to have to be creative if they are looking for a big splash at some point in this market. It isn't happening right away.

I think what you are going to see is a piece-by-piece approach to free agency, and then the draft, as the Eagles build their 2012 roster. When 4 p.m. rolled around on Tuesday, the doors swung open at the NovaCare Complex and huge limousine pulled up and ...

No, it didn't. It was quiet. I'm sure Andy Reid and Howie Roseman were busy upstairs working the phones and getting a feel for the market and the climate. They are doing their homework for down the line, because the way the Eagles are going to do things, it's not going to be a huge bang like it was last year.

The message here, above all else you will hear in the offseason: Judge the Eagles in September, when the games begin and the roster is complete. Not now. The Eagles aren't there yet. They have three of the top 51 picks in April's draft. They have some clearly defined needs, and we have talked about them too much since the 2011 season ended.

Here is a sampling of how I think it could work out for the Eagles ahead ...

  • I think the Eagles will continue to take care of their own players on the roster. They did a good job extending Herremans on Tuesday. Who is next? How about a guy like defensive end Trent Cole, who is worthy of a contract extension.
  • It wouldn't surprise me or alarm me if the Eagles don't have any free-agent visitors for at least a couple of days. They are going to let the market settle and see what happens once the initial big money is spent.
  • Offensive guard Evan Mathis is an unrestricted free agent and I think he is going to get some serious feelers. He has a chance to return to the Eagles, but if he is blown away by a team, he's as good as gone. This is Mathis' big chance to cash in on a fine season.
  • Will the Eagles make a hard push for notable free-agent linebackers Stephen Tulloch and Curtis Lofton? Again, I think the team's approach is to see how the market works early. Will the Eagles go after a linebacker at all in free agency? It is very possible.
  • Who are the Eagles targeting? I don't know. The security here is air tight. Fascinating approach.
  • If I were to guess, the Eagles will sign one or two free agents and continue to target needs in the draft.
  • How will the Eagles deal with Asante Samuel, the talented cornerback who carries a huge price tag this year? I'm sticking with the 50/50 approach as to whether he stays or goes.
  • Wide receiver Brandon Marshall goes to the Bears in a deal that nets Miami two third-round draft picks and some cap relief. Good move for both teams. Miami is going to sink to the bottom of the NFL and build back up, unless they are priming to sign quarterback Peyton Manning. The Bears are girding for a serious run in the NFC North. They have as well balanced an attack as any offense in the league.
  • I know you want a name, two names, any name to hang your hat on. I don't have one. I guess I would say that linebacker Dan Connor is a long shot, but I really don't know. I'm waiting here, just like you are waiting there.
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