As NFL teams button up their plans for free agency and then the NFL draft, we're left to hope for these days to pass quickly to get on with the business of building a roster. Never has there been more unknown about the direction the Eagles will take as head coach Chip Kelly introduces us to some of the intentions he has to turn this team around.
What has Kelly done to this point? He's added to the quarterback position, making the decision to keep Michael Vick with a new contract. He's signed Dennis Dixon, who led the offense when Kelly was a coach at Oregon. He's brought in some long-shot players here and there -- linebacker/defensive end Chris McCoy and offensive lineman Ed Wang -- and has released a couple of veteran defensive linemen, Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson, to clear some room on the defensive roster for an anticipated makeover.
The major moves are coming, and I'm not convinced they are going be as significant in free agency. While the Eagles have a lot of room within the salary cap, they may not jump right out with big-dollar deals in a market that appears like it's going to have some talent, but perhaps not many difference-making players.
Then again, who knows how things are going to break in the next week as teams shed salaries to reach the maximum of the salary cap, reportedly $123 million? There may be a player not projected to hit the market who actually gets out there, giving the Eagles pause in their planned strategy.
By and large, though, I don't think we're going to see anything like the 2011 shopping spree when the Eagles thought they supplemented a young roster with prime free-agent talent. I think Kelly wants to see what he has first on his roster before bringing too many players in who have been schooled in other systems.
Where will the Eagles add in free agency? If there is a defensive back out there who is an upgrade, the Eagles need to consider him. It would be shocking if the Eagles didn't have significant change in the secondary, one that was so porous in 2012.
Help for the interior defensive line has to be on on the "must-have" list at some point, because the Eagles are thin there after releasing Jenkins and Patterson, and Derek Landri is a pending unrestricted free agent.
On the offensive side of the football, the Eagles will likely have options should they choose to add to the line of scrimmage. There are some veterans who could be on the market, and combined with what is considered a very strong group of linemen in the draft, make for a good situation for any team looking to address that group. The Eagles have four solid starters on paper in left tackle Jason Peters, left guard Evan Mathis, center Jason Kelce and guard/tackle Todd Herremans. Who is the fifth starter? Who even knows, given that the coaches haven't yet seen their players in any football situations?
Anything else the Eagles might look for on offense? Maybe, because we don't know how Kelly feels about his personnel. He may have an area or two that he thinks can be upgraded in free agency.
We'll know in a week. It's almost here!!
- Free agency begins on Tuesday, and then the next phase of the offseason starts on April 1, when teams can begin their offseason conditioning program and at some point in April the Eagles can hold a pre-draft minicamp -- teams with new head coaches are permitted one extra camp. The 2013 schedule should be released at some point before the April 25-27 draft, so we're about to get right into the thick of things.
- Nothing to report on the team using the franchise tag or on any contract extensions or restructurings. The latest on cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha? Nothing since the reports circulated a couple of weeks ago that the team approached Asomugha to talk about the contract. Slow few days leading into the fun of free agency ...
- Finally, your guess is as good as mine as it pertains to the draft. Are the Eagles looking offense or defense? They're likely looking at the "best player available" as is the case when you have a team coming off a 4-12 season. We're going to have a much better sense once we see what direction the Eagles will take in free agency.