The Philadelphia Eagles have garnered a reputation for signing big free agents. Of course, the Eagles also have a reputation for signing the wrong ones, which they admitted by releasing Nnamdi Asomugha on March 12. But as Philadelphia cut this mega hyped and disappointing symbol, it used a different approach to bring on new people.
Instead of getting a splashy newcomer like Asomugha, the Eagles picked up five “under-the-wire players” on March 12, as the Philadelphia Inquirer put it. Philadelphia signed defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga, safety Patrick Chung, tight end James Casey, cornerback Bradley Fletcher and linebacker Jason Phillips within four hours after free agency started.
The Eagles need cornerback depth now that Asomugha is gone and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will likely follow, which makes Fletcher’s singing excellent timing. Chung has the benefit of being a former New England Patriot, despite suffering injuries over the years. Philadelphia also needed line depth and new tight ends, which is where Sopoaga, Phillips and Casey come in.
None of these players may make an immediate impact, although the Eagles’ recurring injury problems indicate that they could become rather necessary. In any case, the major issue raised right now is what this all means for Philadelphia’s free agent philosophy.
The Eagles went big in getting the likes of Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie, Michael Vick and more over the last few years, yet have paid the price for it. After getting burned so often by big name, big money free agents, will Philadelphia go smaller and start a new way of doing business? Or are the Eagles laying low until they can make another risky splash for a major star?
The biggest and most valuable player the Eagles can get is Darrelle Revis, especially in the wake of Asomugha’s release. But according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane on March 12, Philadelphia took itself “out of the running” for New York’s star cornerback.
Other than Revis, the free agency market looks weak or is filled with players the Eagles either don’t need or can’t afford. As such, Philadelphia might be more likely to make five more small moves than one big one over the next several weeks. Yet Philadelphia may not see that as a setback, considering its recent history.