OK, so I've been thinking about what happened and what did not happen on Tuesday and after my emotions have calmed and I've talked to a lot of people and I've gained some perspective, this is what I have to say about a day when the Eagles did not make a trade, said goodbye to a highly-touted third-round draft pick and looked ahead to the rest of the season ...
First, the trade deadline. I was excited about the 4 p.m. deadline. I admit that. I felt that there were a lot of discussions happening and that the Eagles could have been one of the teams to pull the trigger and make a trade. Nobody told me to feel that way. Sometimes, you just feel it. Doors are closed. Words are hushed. You just know.
At the end of the day, and after I paced for 25 minutes leading up to 4 p.m., nothing happened on the trade front. Nothing on wide receiver Roy Williams, who went to Dallas (more on that later), and nothing on tight end Tony Gonzalez, a player in whom the Eagles were reported to have had interest.
The one move the Eagles did make was not a surprise: They signed linebacker Tracy White, somebody they think can help on special teams, and they waived running back/fullback/he didn't fit anywhere Tony Hunt. On White, all I can say is that the Eagles want to have more speed in their coverage units and they want to have more of a go-to guy they can count on and if this isn't a wakeup call for the core players on special teams like Akeem Jordan and Tank Daniels, then there is no such thing as a wakeup call.
All I know about White is that he worked out for the Eagles on Tuesday and that he obviously showed enough to earn a job. For now. If he doesn't produce on special teams, he won't be around here for long. Simple as that.
On Hunt, hey, in the end he goes down as a blown draft pick. There is no other way to look at it. The Eagles used a third-round draft pick on Hunt, who was just a tremendous player at Penn State, only two Aprils ago and after a good-looking rookie training camp in 2007, Hunt showed next to nothing until the Eagles moved him from halfback to fullback and he earned a spot on the 53-man roster as a fullback.
It was an act of semi-desperation for the Eagles at that point. I agree with that assessment. The Eagles did not replace Thomas Tapeh, the starter in the previous two seasons and not an overwhelming player at the position, in a step-forward manner. It was a scramble as the team signed Dan Klecko to play fullback to compete with Jason Davis and then traded for Luke Lawton and then moved Klecko to defensive tackle and then used rookie Jed Collins for a spell in the summer and then cut Lawton and then cut Davis and, finally, gave Hunt a shot and, six games into the season, have Klecko back at fullback.
I, frankly, don't know what the plan is for the fullback spot. I think Klecko played pretty well in San Francisco and is one of the greatest kids and winner-teammates I have ever been around but I can't for the life of me tell you if the Eagles plan to keep him at fullback for the next 10 games. Or 10 days. No idea. For now, he is the guy and he is going to give it every single ounce of blood, sweat and tears that he has.
On Trade Deadline Tuesday, the Eagles did not pull the trigger. I know how the fans reacted. From a public-relations standpoint, the initial impact was staggering: The Eagles stayed silent while the Cowboys traded for Williams, a young and talented receiver who is considered a really good player in the league.
My perspective here is not to tell you whether the Cowboys made the right move or the wrong move. Dallas gave up a first-round draft pick, a third-round draft pick and a sixth-round draft pick for Williams, and then they signed him to a long-term deal. It ended a busy day for the Cowboys, who learned shortly before the trade that cornerback Adam Jones was suspended by the NFL for at least the next four games. Dallas, in the last 48 hours, had lost punter Mat McBriar for likely the season, running back Felix Jones for at least the next couple of weeks and found out it would be without quarterback Tony Romo for four weeks, and maybe longer.
Dallas went out on a limb with a move to acquire Williams. If they win the Super Bowl with Williams, it was a good move. If not, Dallas paid a big price for the near future.
So the next question is, why didn't the Eagles do that deal? Hey, this is totally, totally, totally my perspective, but I'm saying this now: I would not have done that deal. I think Williams is a good player, but I don't think the Eagles have a problem at wide receiver. I like this group, and I'm going to like it more when Kevin Curtis is back in the lineup against Atlanta. Williams may have been an upgrade -- and if the Eagles were interested, as they reportedly were, that's understandable -- but wide receiver is not the focus for me.
Gonzalez, I admit, was the focus. You have to understand that in these kinds of cases the Eagles don't tell me a thing. They know I am emotional and that I write with a passion and that only when a deal is done or very close to being done do I get a sniff of things. The reports of the Eagles' interest in Gonzalez were what interested me, and I allowed myself to envision what he would have been like in this offense, in the red zone, as a safety net for quarterback Donovan McNabb.
The deal didn't happen, though. Kansas City didn't trade Gonzalez, and from what I heard from league insiders, the Chiefs never had the intention of trading Gonzales. One insider told me, in fact that the Chiefs used the Eagles as leverage for another team's interest in Gonzales.
I don't know what's true. I don't believe half the stuff I read, and I know what I know from the Eagles and in the end a deal didn't go down and I don't even know if the Eagles were truly interested in Gonzo and if they were, truth be told, I don't know how interested they truly were in the guy.
I do have the opinion that the Eagles need to be better at tight end, and that if L.J. Smith wants to be a factor on this team and especially in the red zone he needs to do something about it. The opportunity is there. Brent Celek, too. Make some plays, guys. Sixteen catches between the two of you is not enough. The Eagles need plays from the tight ends, plain and simple.
So in the end, a day of pre-trade hype was largely a dud. I know how the fans feel. I've been on the Discussion Boards and I know you wanted something to happen. Anything to happen. A big splash. A sign that the Eagles were really going to go for it.
All I can say is this: The Eagles think they have themselves a team that is as good as any team out there, and that if expectations are met the Eagles are going to play and are going to win in Tampa in February in the Super Bowl. Only time is going to tell if what the Eagles did on Trade Day, 2008 -- signing White and waiving Hunt -- will help them more than what they didn't do.