Free Agency: Defensive Revamp

Sean Smith

Free Agency is less than a week away so it’s really time to start getting away from the draft for a bit and digging into some of the free agents that will be available.   I know you are probably hesitant about signing more free agents after the debacle we had with the “Dream Team” signings from the summer of 2011, but the Eagles have roughly 33.7 million dollars under the cap as of right now and could get to just under 44 million dollars if they release Nnamdi “I eat lunch in my car” Asomugha.   So needless to say, the Philadelphia Eagles will (there is a salary cap floor) be active in free agency and will probably be active early.

As I play this game of GM, I need to look for a few things this off-season.  I think we need to improve our right guard, both safety positions, both cornerback spots and get some depth at tight end.  We still need a nose tackle because I am not buying Antonio Dixon as a starting NT and another pass rusher on the outside wouldn’t hurt either.   I know we don’t have the ability to address all of these concerns in free agency, but at least three defensive positions need to be addressed in free agency and to be honest I would feel better if it we addressed 4 spots, but I don’t want to get players just to get them.  As a GM you need to be patient in a rebuilding stage.  Let me cover some players on defense I want the Eagles to acquire as I will go over the offensive side of the ball later this week.

Nitty-Gritty Time

As GM of the Eagles, if I don’t get a defensive back in this free agency class, I will resign my position because the fact of the matter is that there are at the LEAST 10 DBs in free agency that would be an improvement at what we have in our secondary and we have more resources to spend/use to get those players.  It’s also a buyers market in the secondary: Plenty of supply, average demand and as a team with plenty of money to spend,  I am willing to go above the given price point to acquire a top-tier safety or CB.  I need to be aggressive and come away with at least a safety and a CB next week.  I’ll worry about pass rusher in the draft as they can be very expensive on the open market.  In an ideal world, this is who I acquire for our defense:

Dashon Goldson, Strong Safety

If you want a guy who is going to punish the ball carrier and make players think twice about coming across the middle, Dashon is the type of guy you will love.  He isn’t great in coverage but he is an elite tackler and perfect for a 3-4 attacking defense.  He is a pillar on defense we could start to rebuild an identity with and he is only 28 years old.  Drastic upgrade over Kurt Coleman who can still be a solid depth player.

Sean Smith, Cornerback

At 6’3″, 215 lbs Sean Smith is the type of cornerback that is needed to cover these mammoth WRs.  He is only 25 years old so teams might really covet him. Problem is that Miami has a lot of cap space so there is a chance that the re-sign him before then.  Until then, he is on my target list.  He also isn’t the consensus best CB so his price shouldn’t be outrageous.  Definitely cheaper than Nnamdi.

Others that to look at:

Safety:

Glover Quin– Probably the best all around safety available. Just turned 27.

William Moore– Hard Hitting Strong Safety.  Real intimidator.  I’m guessing he returns to ATL though.

Louis Delmas– Solid in coverage and can tackle well.  His injury problems scare me though.

Charles Woodson– With his age and a large amount of supply you could get him for a nice price. Worth a look.

Ed Reed– Big name. Average game at this point, but better than what we got.  Wouldn’t pay much.

Cornerback:

Keenan Williams- Rising cover corner in the league so he might be expensive.  6 feet tall too.

Cary Williams- He won’t be a guy that locks down WRs, but is reliable as a #2 CB.

Sheldon Brown-  Just like Williams except much older.  Good leader too.

Brent Grimes-  I am interested to see at what price we can get Brent Grimes coming off his Achilles injury.

3-4 Outside Linebacker:

Connor Barwin- A pass rushing OLB with Houston who underperformed.  Cheap situation pass rusher with experience

Victor Butler-  He was stuck behind DeMarcus Ware in Dallas, but is someone who sticks out and should be cheap.

So regardless of what you think of the players listed above, you can’t argue that any combination of the above players wouldn’t be an upgrade over what we had.   If we sign Goldson (6.5 mil per year), Lou Delmas (5 mil per), and Cary Williams (7.5 mil) per I’d be a very happy man.  Go get Dee Milliner at #4  and the defensive backfield is rebuilt for about 23 million of the estimated 44 million dollars in cap space .  With 21 million dollars left over, we just allocate 5 million dollars to the remaining rookie draft picks and we got 16 million to add an offensive lineman and TE.

This defensive backfield needs to be rebuilt.  Everything else just needs re-tooling.  Howie MUST take advantage of the free agent market for DBs.  If he doesn’t I, along with the rest of Philly, will again start wondering if he has the ability.  If he doesn’t have it, I can give it a try Jeff.

Please following me on Twitter @TheFrankCap for more sports thoughts from me.

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