Peyton Manning won't be an Eagle, but the second biggest prize in the free agency Crackerjack box sure would look good in midnight green. And given Andy Reid's penchant for defensive lineman, ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski would love to see the Birds make a run at d-end Mario Williams – even if Jaws knows it's a longshot.
"If I were the Eagles, I'd sign him tomorrow. I'd sign him today. I'd be with him right now," Jaworski said, his voice climbing excitedly with every sentence. "He's a tremendous player. But my gut feeling is the Chicago Bears are going to make a serious run at him. Can you imagine Julius Peppers on one side and Mario Williams on the other side? But it would not surprise me if the Eagles are working those channels right now. He's a terrific football player and, really, right in his prime."
Jaworski shares the common view that the Eagles most pressing need entering free agency is the back seven of the defense. Don't be fooled be the silence, he warned.
"It's been very, very quiet – eerily quiet – but that doesn't mean nothing is going on," he said. "We know the Eagles operate that way. When you look at the needs, I think it's clear that if you're going to play the type of defense they play, they need inside linebacker help. Safety is very important too; you need a defender entering the box with the style – the wide-9 – that they play. People might not like the wide-9, but it's a very good defense. You've got to have some stud inside linebackers and, as I looked at them last year, that was the problem. The inconsistent play at the middle linebacker spot."
Just before the Super Bowl, Jaworski had dinner with Peyton Manning while in Indianapolis. Last week, he spent time with Archie Manning at the Maxwell Club. Surely, Jaws has the inside scoop on where the future Hall of Famer is going to land.
"I have no clue," Jaworski said bluntly. "The one thing I've learned about Peyton is that he will evaluate everything. He wants to visit these teams, see their facility, know their commitment to fielding a winning football team. As far as where that's going to be, I'd just be guessing. But I think there's a darkhorse in there somewhere that's working the back channels trying to get Peyton Manning."
The Eagles? Not likely, Jaworski said.
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