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|Barwin was among the positives of last year's FA class.|
Photo Courtesy: philly.com
The Eagles 2013 free agent class, for the most part, was great. Depending on how you looked at it, the fact that they had such a good class was nothing short of a blessing considering the organization's terrible luck in FA during the previous several years. Connor Barwin, Cary Williams, and Bradley Fletcher were among the positives from the class. Kenny Phillips didn't work out, and Patrick Chung... well... you know. Anyway, the '13 class proved one thing: the Eagles don't need to pay large sums of money in order to be a contender. They signed mid-level FA's, and ended up finishing 10-6 with a division title to boot.
Bill Polian (the former Colts GM and current ESPN analyst) released his free agency do's and don'ts; check them out below.
Photo Courtesy: ESPN
Free Agent One: Steven Hauschka, K, Seattle Seahawks, 28 years old
Career Statistics: 96 games played, 161-164 XP (98.2 percent), 98-114 FG (86 percent), 27-29 FG 0-29 yards, 36-39 FG 30-39 yards, 28-33 FG 40-49 yards, 7-15 FG 50-plus yards
Last Season: 16 games played, 44-44 XP (100 percent), 33-35 FG (94.3 percent), 10-11 FG 0-29 yards, 9-9 FG 30-39 yards, 11-12 FG 40-49 yards, 3-3 FG 50-plus yards
|He could be the answer to the Eagles problems at K.|
Photo Courtesy: seahawks.com
Henery has shown that he is inconsistent no matter where he is, whether it be at the Linc or in New York or even in a dome. Hauschka has performed about as consistent as you can get in Seattle. Seattle. If he can convert field goals at a 94 percent clip in Seattle, he would do just fine in Philadelphia. Besides, look at the other kickers available: Phil Dawson, Adam Vinatieri, Josh Brown, and David Akers just to name a few. I wouldn't feel comfortable with any of them as my kicker. Besides, all of those kickers are older than 34. Hauschka is only 28. He could be with the Eagles for a while if the Eagles sign him. He'd have to beat out Alex Henery but, as any Eagles fan can tell you, that wouldn't be very hard.
Free Agent Two: Chris Clemons, S, Miami Dolphins, 28 years old
Career Statistics: 72 games played, 277 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, 17 passes defended
Last Season: 16 games played, 92 total tackles, one interception, eight passes defended
|He's not Byrd or Ward, but he's a solid option.|
Photo Courtesy: ESPN
Clemons is thought to be limited to one-year deals this offseason. That's perfect for the Eagles: let him prove that he can play here, and then let him go at the end of next season and let one of your young guys (who had more time to develop) take over. It seemed to work last season, and if he ends up deserving a contract extension for a second year, so be it. Clemons would be very cost-effective and, if he shows up with a chip on his shoulder, could end up being a steal. Besides, would your rather have Clemons or Chung?
Free Agent Three: Mike Mitchell, S, Carolina Panthers, 26 years old
Career Statistics: 76 games played, 207 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, six interceptions, three forced fumbles, 21 passes defended
Last Season: 15 games played, 67 total tackles, four sacks, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, nine passes defended
|Another good option at safety.|
Photo Courtesy: Huffington Post
With the safeties I have mentioned, it's really a pick-your-poison situation. With Clemons, you get reliable tackling at the expense of a true play-maker. With Mitchell, you get a young, perhaps up-and-coming play-maker that doesn't record as much tackles as Clemons. You could also get Clemons on a one year deal, while Mitchell would likely require a multi-year deal. The Eagles will look over all the preceding pros and cons that I have mentioned. When it comes down to it, they'll make the right decision.
Free Agent Four: Mike Neal, OLB/DL, Green Bay Packers, 26 years old
Career Statistics: 36 games played, 66 total tackles, 10.5 sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles
Last Season: 16 games played, 49 total tackles, five sacks, one interception, one forced fumble
|Maybe Neal could be a steal too.|
Photo Courtesy: packersnews.com
Neal's only 26, which is a big positive, and the Eagles could get him fairly cheap. He still has time to improve, and with the coaching staff that the Eagles have in place, who's to say that he can't become an effective pass rusher with some work? As with Mitchell, Neal's performance seemingly came out of nowhere, so it's only right to think about whether or not he can repeat it. Still, he can play anywhere on the front seven (literally), which is why he's such a great fit for the Eagles. If nothing else, he'd provide much needed depth on the defensive side of the ball.
Free Agent Five: Alex Carrington, DL, Buffalo Bills, 26 years old
Career Statistics: 41 games played, 52 total tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble
Last Season: three games played, 10 total tackles
|When healthy, Carrington can be a force on the line.|
Photo Courtesy: buffalobillsdraft.com
The Eagles are high on Bennie Logan to be the starter at the NT position, but Carrington could provide some much needed depth and perhaps even help Logan out, making the latter a better player. Carrington was the Bills starting LE when he went down, so the Eagles would be getting him for a bargain. Some other teams will be in on the Carrington sweepstakes as well, so it will be interesting to see how much a guy coming off of a quad injury can command. When healthy, he can be a key contributor and provide depth, two things the Eagles could definitely use.
As you can tell, I'm staying away from the best players that free agency has to offer. Instead, I'm looking to sign mid-level free agents to short deals, simply to fill the needs that this team has. Remember, the Eagles will have some important pieces (such as Nick Foles) to sign to extensions next offseason, so just because they have a lot of money to spend this offseason doesn't mean they have to use it all.
Thanks for reading; hope you all enjoyed. Be on the lookout for my first mock draft, which should be released at some point over the next two weeks.