As the Eagles' top brass -- including Jeffrey Lurie, Joe Banner, Howie Roseman and, of course, Andy Reid -- settle in for the NFL's Owners Meetings In New Orleans this week, they will be confronted with a series of agenda items, including votes on some proposed rules changes by the Competition Committee, which we discussed last week here.
There will be a host of other issues on the table, of course, very high-level stuff for the league's owners to consider. CBA talk will be a daily topic, I'm sure. From an Eagles standpoint, we're in a critical time. The draft is but five weeks away. The Eagles are beating the bushes doing their research for the draft.
Reid spent some time in our Xfinity Studio last week and talked about all that he can talk about -- the roster, his draft intentions, the new coaching staff and any feelings he has on quarterback Kevin Kolb. Let's start there and move on through a few issues on the Eagles' plate right now ...
ITEM: Will The Eagles Trade Kevin Kolb?
Reid values Kolb very much, for starters. He thinks the young man is already an excellent quarterback in this league, with an upside that not a whole lot out there have. He is, clearly, in no rush to embrace the notion of trading Kolb. Is there interest? Of course. You hear the chatter out there. Teams around the league need quarterbacks, and Kolb is one of the best of the young ones in the league.
There is no question that the Eagles are going to get a lot of inquiries and, likely, offers. If and when free agency begins, the river of opportunity will flow. And the Eagles will have to carefully make the right call, as they did last year with Donovan McNabb. To trade Kolb simply to trade him is the wrong decision. To trade him because you get an offer you can't refuse, and with a quarterback succession plan in place, makes more sense.
I'm not convinced at all that the Eagles are going to trade Kolb. It will take quite an offer to pry loose a backup quarterback who provides so much value for the 2011 season. Mike Kafka is a good prospect and all, but is he ready to be the No. 2 quarterback here should Kolb get traded?
Reid and the Eagles are "open," as he said, to conversation about Kolb. It is going to require something substantial -- I don't know what that means, other than a first-round draft pick would be worthy compensation to begin with -- for the Eagles to make a trade.
Let's see how it plays out. I trust that it will be an entertaining ride.
ITEM: Eagles Check Out Temple's Muhammad Wilkerson
Wilkerson is projected as a late first- or early second-round draft pick. He is a standout defensive tackle from Temple who is rising among the draft experts at this point in the pre-draft process. The Eagles reportedly sent a contingent to Temple's Pro Day last week, and Wilkerson was the main attraction there.
How would he fit in as a high draft pick? Well, the Eagles are always looking for quick, powerful penetrating defensive tackles who could also help them as ends in "heavy" packages. Wilkerson would be an intriguing option in the first couple of rounds. The defense needs impact players, no matter if he is a lineman, linebacker or defensive back.
No doubt new line coach Jim Washburn looks at a player like Wilkerson and imagines what he could do with him. At some point in free agency or the draft, the defensive line is going to be addressed. The Eagles want to provide Washburn all the talent they can accumulate.
ITEM: NFL Will Release Schedule In Mid-April
It's always a big day when the schedule comes out and Eagles fans can plan their road trips and imagine wins and losses for the season ahead. The only comment here is that I hope there has been some substantial progress between the Owners and the players and that we can look with some degree of confidence that there will be a full season in 2011.
I'm not sure anyone knows what to expect right now after nine days of a work stoppage.
ITEM: Free Agency, And The Eagles' Approach When It Opens
Reid said in his exclusive interview that the team is "ready" for whatever happens next in this offseason. The plan for free agency is in place. What that strategy is, I don't know. But I think the Eagles will be aggressive and that they have targeted their "need" positions and they have the resources to go out and make something happen if the opportunity is there.
What we don't know, because the new CBA and, thus, the new rules, are not in place, is what kind of free-agency field there will be. My wish list is for the Eagles to go out and get two starters and maybe another player for depth in free agency. One on offense, one on defense and the third for special teams.
The hope here is that free agency somehow happens before the draft. What happens this week in New Orleans, when the league's decision makers spend time together, could set the stage for a wild, crazy, and fun April. We all need it at this stage of the offseason.