Philadelphia Eagles News

Sensing Calm Before The ... What?

Oh, the excitement! I wish I could tell you what to expect, but I don't really know. A big burst out of the gates when free agency opens? Wouldn't surprise me either way, but I'm leaning toward a dip in the free-agency pool.

You know what I think about free agency: The Eagles are going to try to add a piece, maybe two. Nothing extraordinary. No 72-point headlines like last year. The Eagles like the core of the roster they have in place and they want to add just a bit in free agency before concentrating their efforts on the draft.

But I really don't know. Honestly and truly I don't know. There are enough questions here to make these next several weeks extremely intriguing, beginning with the approach in free agency. The hope is that the Eagles bring in a starter and then maybe another player or two for depth. They need to address all phases of the game, but the defense clearly needs prime attention.

There are questions in other areas, too. What happens with left guard Evan Mathis, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday at 4 p.m.? How about cornerback Asante Samuel, the subject of so many trade rumors since the 2011 season ended? Where do the Eagles go to help the needs identified here: Linebacker, back seven in general, fortification for the defensive line, depth along the offensive line, aid for the red-zone offense and a boost for the return game on special teams?

Fascinating.

I don't see the Eagles entering the high-stakes derby for players like defensive end Mario Williams or wide receiver Vincent Jackson. I see the Eagles working to keep as much of the current roster intact as they possibly can. I see the draft weekend as a wild ride, as it usually is.

There are some rumors out there, some names floating around, and those stories are going to increase in the coming days. Who are the players the Eagles want to target in free agency? Will they wait a few days to allow the market to settle? Do you really believe any of the names you've heard?

As tough as the months have been since the win over Washington, these last couple of days and the coming few are going to be even more difficult to handle. It is just too quiet.

I have been waiting for real, substantive action for so long. Oh, I thought Jeffrey Lurie's State of the Team address was honest and heartfelt. I applauded the decision to keep Juan Castillo and add defensive backs coach Todd Bowles. Andy Reid has said all the right things and has been forthcoming throughout the offseason. Howie Roseman is an optimistic, hard-working and earnest general manager. The whole approach has been to take the low-key, humble approach, to basically stay quiet and see what happens in September.

From a personnel standpoint, the Eagles have added some young veterans with nothing but upside. No risks taken. Using the franchise tag on DeSean Jackson was the right move, with the hope that a long-term deal can be had before too long.

The real fun begins next week when, well, when anything can happen. Signings. Trades. Far-reaching roster moves. The draft.

We have one long weekend to go, Eagles fans. And then it's time to see what Reid and Roseman and Co. have in mind, how they plan to take this team to the top in such a crucial 2012 campaign, one that has potentially as much impact on this franchise as any in recent seasons.

Are you ready? What do you expect? What is a realistic series of moves by this football team?

No way are they going to set the world on fire in free agency, as they did last summer. At the same time, the Eagles have a chance to add impact. Big names, maybe. Impact, definitely.

Let the games begin. Just in time for all of us after the longest, most painful offseason as far back as my Eagles mind goes.

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