Even though the Eagles currently have 86 players on their roster - draft picks do not count towards the 83-man roster limit until they sign contracts - there is still a possibility that more players will be added between now and the start of the 2010 season.
Most viable rookie free agents have already been signed by teams across the league, so barring a potential trade, the only arena where talent can still be acquired is through veteran free agency. Of course the cream of the free agent crop has already been gobbled up, but there are still a number of useful veterans who can at the least provide quality depth.
NFL Fanhouse recently highlighted some of the best players still available at a number of positions, so with that in mind, what kind of player could still be on the Eagles' radar?
First, barring injury, the Eagles would appear to be pretty well-set in terms of depth at running back, wide receiver, defensive end and linebacker. So what kind of player could be attractive at the remaining positions?
Quarterback - The Eagles appear to be fine at quarterback, with Michael Vick on board as a unique backup and Mike Kafka likely to be the No. 2 quarterback of the future. There were rumors earlier this off-season that the Eagles were interested in acquiring veteran Jeff Garcia if Vick was traded, but general manager Howie Roseman recently ruled out Garcia as an option. If some team were to bowl the Eagles over with an offer for Vick, the premier name on the market is Marc Bulger, who has yet to find a home after being released by the St. Louis Rams. Other names to keep in mind include former Redskins backup Todd Collins and J.P. Losman, formerly of the Buffalo Bills and the United Football League.
Tight End - There already appears to be an overabundance of young talent at tight end with Brent Celek, rookie Clay Harbor, Cornelius Ingram and Martin Rucker. However, that group lacks a traditional "blocking tight end," so a possibility exists that the Eagles bring in a designated blocker of sorts. Unfortunately, the ranks of the free agent tight ends are pretty slim, and the best available players like Randy McMichael and Todd Yoder are more pass-catchers than blockers.
Offensive line - The Eagles made it clear during their 13-player draft class that they feel pretty confident in what they have along the offensive line. In addition to the projected starters - Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Nick Cole, Stacy Andrews and Winston Justice - there is also a lot of depth, albeit mostly unproven. On the interior, Mike McGlynn, Max Jean-Gilles, Dallas Reynolds, Fenuki Tupou and A.Q Shipley will all compete for jobs in the summer. And that's not even considering the eventually return of Jamaal Jackson. At tackle, King Dunlap is currently the primary backup, although Todd Herremans would swing over to tackle in the case of an injury, but he will be pushed in training camp by rookie free agents Austin Howard from Northern Iowa and Jeraill McCuller from North Carolina State.
The available veterans all have question marks of course, but perhaps the most attractive option would be guard Chester Pitts, formerly of the Houston Texans. But Pitts is coming off microfracture knee surgery, so he would have to check out physically. Also available are center Kevin Mawae, 39, guard Keydrick Vincent, tackle Mike Gandy and former Eagles' nemesis Flozell Adams.
Defensive tackle - Behind presumptive starters Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson, there is appears to be a three-man race for what will likely only be two spots. Rookie seventh-round pick Jeff Owens from Georgia, last season's diamond in the rough Antonio Dixon and 2008 second-round pick Trevor Laws will all be battling to make the roster. While that competition will likely be enough in the way of depth, there has been speculation that the Eagles might have interest in John Henderson, recently released by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Henderson, 6-foot-7, 335 pounds, is a two-time Pro-Bowler and could still be effective in a decreased role. Bill Barnwell of *Football Outsiders *recently wrote about the possibility of Henderson to Philadelphia: "He's slipped some from the Pro-Bowler of 2004 and 2006, but he'd get a boost from playing fewer snaps and alongside more talent up front. Philadelphia already has two excellent defensive tackles in Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson , but bringing in Henderson to compete with 2008 second-rounder Trevor Laws for the third defensive tackle spot could net them an impact situational player on the cheap."
Secondary - There have been several off-season additions to the ranks of the secondary, from rookies Nate Allen and Trevard Lindley to free agent addition Marlin Jackson, but there's always the possibility that the Eagles continue to add competition, especially at cornerback. With three players who Andy Reid has professed can play both safety and cornerback - Jackson, Allen and Macho Harris - there is plenty of flexibility. Ellis Hobbs is currently tabbed as the starting right cornerback, and he will be pushed by Lindley, Joselio Hanson and veterans like Dimitri Patterson and Geoffrey Pope, but there are also some available names that could add to that competition. Cornerbacks Anthony Henry, Dre Bly, Nick Harper and Ken Lucas are still on the street. Obviously none of those four could come in and start right away, but Henry and Bly especially could at least serve as insurance if an injury were to occur.
So it remains to be seen if the Eagles will further dip into free agency before the 2010 season gets underway, but if they do, who do you think they should go after?
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 6:00 p.m., May 6