One wild week down, many more to go in this off-season. The Eagles haven't gone out and signed a half-dozen free agents in what everyone agreed was a thin crop of talent, but they have addressed the positions they wanted to address. They have made trades and acquired draft picks. They have allowed veteran free agents to sign elsewhere, and in the process they have given this roster a younger appearance.
What's next? Your guess is as good as mine.
The holes on this team, as we have talked about for a couple of weeks, are becoming fewer. The defense is largely set, although the Eagles will probably add a safety and a cornerback at some point between now and the end of the draft. On offense, the Eagles need depth at tight end, at halfback, along the offensive line. I don't agree with the characterization of a "gaping hole" at left tackle, because the Eagles can use Todd Herremans or Shawn Andrews there and I trust coach Juan Castillo completely. Fullback? There are plenty of options in free agency and a couple of good ones in the draft should the Eagles feel the need. Wide receiver? Yeah, the Eagles are likely to add one or two, and the draft appears to be the way to go.
By signing Sean Jones, the Eagles added a quality player at safety, added to the depth there and gave themselves some options. Just to make the picture clear for everyone out there, Jones has to win a starting job. The Eagles have Quintin Mikell, who will either start at strong safety or free safety. They have Quintin Demps, a younger player in whom the Eagles have a great deal of confidence. So it is a good situation there.
There are still some "names" on the market, but the buying mood has definitely cooled in the league. The Eagles are choosy, and they have that ability with a good roster and 12 draft picks coming in April.
After a busy week, it's probably time to think the quiet times are here. I said the same thing last week, and then the Eagles traded Greg Lewis and signed Jones. As they say in the league, "You never know when the phone is going to ring."
The Eagles are still working it, still calling around and talking to teams, still testing the market. By and large, free agency is over. Is it time to think about the draft?
* NEWS, NOTES AND THIS AND THAT *
- I've seen the mock drafts and have to laugh to myself. The Eagles are in good position with the 21st and 28th draft picks in the first round, but after about 15 picks the names just kind of run together. It makes me wonder if the Eagles will try to move up and get inside the top 15 picks. What would it take to do that? The 21st pick and a second-round selection. Maybe the Eagles can then use a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick (they have four of 'em) to get that second-round selection back.
- In some of those mock drafts, the Eagles are taking an offensive tackle, which makes a lot of sense. But I am going to wonder here if taking the fourth or fifth tackle is better than taking the best running back or the second-best cornerback or something like that? I just don't want the Eagles to reach. Andy Reid has a very good track record on first-round draft picks, so I know I'll go in feeling confident.
- Terrell Owens in Buffalo. I just can't get used to that one. It is a move of desperation by the Bills, but what do they really have to lose? They aren't considered a playoff team, so they want to make a splash. They have done just that. Is Trent Edwards ready for what is ahead?
- So is what's up with the fullback position? Will the Eagles go out and get an established veteran? There are a couple of them on the market, but the Eagles have resisted so far. They have spoken highly of Dan Klecko, who should be much improved with a full season of dedication to fullback, and it's likely that Kyle Eckel will get a look at the position, too. Is it possible the Eagles are ready to move ahead at fullback with what they have?
- There are no visits scheduled in free agency.
- The team's off-season conditioning program begins in mid-March at the NovaCare Complex. A bunch of players have already been at the Complex on their own, including quarterback Donovan McNabb.