The Eagles have signed fullback Leonard Weaver to a one-year deal, just when it seemed their interest in Weaver had cooled.
Weaver's agent, Harold Lewis, acknowledged as much after the signing was announced Friday -- Lewis said he thought he was concluding "a three-horse race" among Seattle, Tampa Bay and Houston, but Andrew Brandt, hired last month by the Birds' front office, called "and we started goofing around" with different ways to get Weaver to the Eagles, where Weaver and Lewis wanted to go all along, Lewis said.
The result was a sort of "prove-it" deal that will allow Weaver to make as much as $2.5 million this season, Lewis said, if he meets incentives pertaining to playing time, rushing yards and receptions.
Not to doubt Lewis' assertions about how badly Weaver wanted to be an Eagle, but the fact that he lasted three weeks into free agency would seem to mean that Lewis' attempts to market Weaver as more than a fullback -- a hybrid who can also run and catch -- didn't really resonate with NFL personnel people. Weaver can, indeed, gain a yard at the goalline or on third and 1, which might be cause for rejoicing in Eagles Nation, but with 30 Seattle carries last season for 130 yards, he's hardly the new Mike Alstott. The pass-catching part is a necessary in Andy Reid (and Mike Holmgren's) West Coast offense. I've heard some people question whether Weaver is all that great as a lead blocker, though, which would be kind of the main point of bringing him in.
"I have a hunch he's going to be an Eagle for a long, long time," said Lewis, who clearly is hoping his client will be such a good fit that the Birds will want to sign him long-term next fall.
Lewis said he and Weaver took less money just to get Weaver into an offense where they thought he could flourish.
"We're taking a little haircut now and hoping for a wonderful 'weave' later on," Lewis said.
So far, offensive tackle Stacy Andrews is the only free agent the Birds have inked to more than a one-year deal, which says something about their interest in the talent pool, but also probably says something about the looming uncapped year in 2010, which complicates contracts.
Stay tuned for more details.