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Now We're Seeing The Names, But ...

News alert: Antonio Pierce is available and wants to continue his football career and says he is recovering well from a neck injury that KO'd his Giants season in 2009. Would the Eagles? Could the Eagles? Linebacker is a position to watch for the team, yeah, but is Pierce the kind of player the Eagles would be interested in adding?

That remains to be seen. No question Louis Riddick and the team's pro personnel department no doubt have a grade on Pierce, who prior to his injury was a tremendous middle linebacker for New York. Could you imagine the Eagles signing Pierce to play middle linebacker and sliding Stewart Bradley to the strong side? ...

The mind wanders. Anything is possible in the off-season of dreams and, well, we can do nothing but dream right now. All of the rumors (psst ... did you hear the drivel about the Eagles not wanting DonovanMcNabbKevinKolbMichaelVick?) are becoming louder and more obnoxious and simply more outrageous. Ah, the fun of the off-season.

Seriously, though, there are going to be a lot of "names" on the streets. If there is no new collective bargaining agreement in place, and it sure looks like there won't be one set by March 5, then veterans can be released with no consequence to teams' salary caps. Players like wide receiver Reggie Brown, for example, who has played very little the last two years, are candidates here. These are players who have high salaries and who signed big contracts with hefty signing bonuses and with no cap in place, there would be no acceleration to hit to a team's salary cap should a player like this get released.

I don't know what will happen with Brown, or with anybody on this roster, but I know names are going to be on the streets. Rule No. 1 of the NFL: Don't fall in love with names. Fall in love with players.

Despite the lure of familiar faces on the streets, most of the players who are free are really not front-line talents any longer. Some of them are aging and, frankly, can't help a good football team like the Eagles.

But I do think this arena can be fertile for the savvy personnel teams, and this is one way to evaluate Howie Roseman's re-configured personnel department. There are going to be some gems out there, and some of these veterans could fill a very nice role here. Maybe a veteran who has started his entire career would fit in nicely here as a backup cornerback. Maybe a veteran who started at wide receiver for five years in one city can come to Philadelphia and become the fourth wide receiver and a strong special teams player.

Maybe the Eagles can help their return game in this phase of the off-season. Who knows? The point is, the Eagles have to be astute here. The Eagles have an opportunity to really help their roster with the assets they have -- a lot of draft picks, players to trade, the ability to spend in this market -- and one of the areas to consider is the large group of veterans -- a list that grows by the day -- who will be available.

Fascinating stuff. Antonio Pierce an Eagle? I'm not an expert and I don't even play one on TV, but the Eagles no doubt have done their homework and are considering every angle. That's the way I expect Roseman to approach his new gig. He's going to be aggressive and inventive and you can be sure the Eagles are pondering every possible method to improve the roster for 2010.

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