When the 2014 season ended, most Eagles fans were possessed with the desire to run out and stock defensive backs like canned goods in 1999. It’s understandable, and with names like Darrell Revis, Byron Maxwell, and Devin McCourty, tempting as free agent options.
Those names come with big price tags, as did some others: Nnamdi Asomugha, Cary Williams.
If Williams is an Eagle next season, he will count $8 million against the salary cap. His counterpart, Bradley Fletcher, who almost certainly won’t be an Eagle next year, counted $3.6 million against the cap this year.
Since 2003, the Eagles have taken a total of four defensive backs in the first three rounds of the draft, none in the first round. In 2003 their first three selections were Lito Sheppard, Michael Lewis, and Sheldon Brown. Perhaps that’s what turned them off it.
Even Andy Reid’s much disregarded linebacker position saw more love. Is it any surprise the franchise is at where it is today?
With a relatively solid team everywhere else, it’s time for the Eagles to go all in on the secondary.
Insteadof dishing out a sizable contract to a free agent with deals still likely pending to JeremyMaclin and NickFoles, the Eagles should look into taking one of the alluring secondary candidates in the draft with their No. 20 pick (top among these is LSU’s JalenCollins). The team could also take a defensive back at pick No. 54.
It’s a terrible year for safeties, both in the draft and free agency, butMcCourty seems like the best option available. And we can all rest assured he didn’t only look good because he was playing next to Patrick Chung.
Maxwell is another reasonable signing for the Birds. His 2014 cap number was $670,000. It’s low because he was a recent draft pick by Seattle, and not an expensive free agent signing — coincidentally like every other member of the Seahawks elite secondary. But will Maxwell, who earned his stripes playing on the best secondary in football, become another Chung with the Eagles lackluster defensive backfield?
Here’s a look into the bargain bin of free agents:
Seahawks and Oregon alumnus Walter Thurmond signed for $3 million with the Giants on a one year deal last season. After getting injured in the second game and missing the season, the cornerback’s value probably hasn’t appreciated.
Jeromy Miles moved from special teams standout to starting safety for the Ravens last season, and locked down the position. He’ll likely be allowed to move on because the team is tied to recent draft picks.