Life Goes On Without Dawk

Where does Marvin Harrison rank in the top free agent wide receivers still available? Eagletarian lists the players the Eagles can still sign. (Jonathan Daniel / Allsport)

We’re just 5 days into the free agency signing period and Eagles fans once again are having their annual March panic attack.

Oh my God. Dawk is gone. What are we going to do for a free safety next season? Somebody call 911.

Oh my God. Correll Buckhalter is gone too. If Andy Reid thinks he can go into ’09 with Lorenzo Booker as his backup running back, he must be taking stupid pills.

Oh my God. These crazy SOBs also are letting left tackle Tra Thomas test free agency. What if they lose him too?

For crying out loud, calm down people. I understand your anger over the Eagles letting a beloved player like Dawkins leave. And while it certainly wasn’t one of their smarter public relations moves, the bottom line is his departure is going to have a minimal effect on one of the league’s best defenses.

Will he be missed in the locker room? Absolutely. Will they miss his leadership? Yes, but Jim Johnson’s talented unit has plenty of others who will step up and fill the leadership void, including cornerback Sheldon Brown, safety Quintin Mikell and linebacker Stewart Bradley.

If you’re an Eagles fan, you should be more concerned right now with the free agent reinforcements the Giants have brought in to strengthen an already potent defensive line. If you’re an Eagles fan, you should be more concerned that, for some inexplicable reason, they never went after the best offensive lineman in free agency – center/guard Jason Brown – than that they let Dawkins take a hike.

But it’s early. Too early to be making absolute judgments about this team. Too early to be suggesting, as some lunatic-fringe talk-show hosts have, that they’re in a rebuilding mode.

Let’s see what they do in the remaining months of free agency. Let’s see what they do in next month’s draft, particularly with those 2 first-round picks.

While many of the big names already have been plucked from the free agency market, there still are people out there that can help this team. There are some decent blocking fullbacks, including the Patriots’ Heath Evans and the Cardinals’ Terrelle Smith.

While there really isn’t a free agent left tackle worth signing, there still are some good interior linemen available, in case the Eagles plan to move one of their 2 starting guards – Todd Herremans or Shawn Andrews – outside to left tackle.
And there still are some pretty good unsigned safeties that can be either a starting replacement for Dawkins or a backup to Demps if they think he is ready.

As for a running back to share the load with Westbrook, who will turn 30 before next season, they’re going to have to address that in the draft, probably with one of those 2 first-round picks. Because there’s only dreck left.

Here’s a look at the best of what’s left right now:

Kurt Warner, Cardinals
Byron Leftwich, Steelers
Jeff Garcia, Bucs
J.P. Losman, Bills
Rex Grossman, Bears

LaMont Jordan, Patriots
Deuce McAllister, Saints
Michael Pittman, Broncos
Cedric Benson, Bears
Dominic Rhodes, Colts

Heath Evans, Patriots
Leonard Weaver, Seahawks
Terrelle Smith, Cardinals
Lorenzo Neal, Ravens
Tony Richardson, Jets

Laveranues Coles, Jets
Marvin Harrison, Colts
Reggie Williams, Jags
Michael Clayton, Bucs
Miles Austin, Cowboys

Jerramy Stevens, Bucs
L.J. Smith, Eagles
Justin Peelle, Falcons
Tony Curtis, Cowboys
Robert Royal, Bills

Tra Thomas, Eagles
Mark Tauscher, Packers
Jon Runyan, Eagles
Khalif Barnes, Jags
John St. Clair, Bears

Mike Goff, Chargers
Cooper Carlisle, Raiders
Pete Kendall, Redskins
Chris Naeole, Jags
Elton Brown, Cardinals

Jake Grove, Raiders
Matt Birk, Vikings
Eric Ghiaciuc, Bengals
Jeremy Newberry, Chargers
Cory Procter, Cowboys

Igor Olshansky, Chargers
Bertrand Berry, Cardinals
Demetric Evans, Redskins
Kalimba Edwards, Raiders
Anthony Weaver, Texans

Tank Johnson, Cowboys
Grady Jackson, Falcons
Dwan Edwards, Ravens
Shaun Cody, Lions
John Thornton, Bengals

Ray Lewis, Ravens
Mike Peterson, Jags
Kevin Burnett, Cowboys
Nate Webster, Broncos
Napoleon Harris, Vikings

Marcus Washington, Redskins
Cato June, Bucs
Derrick Brooks, Bucs
Angelo Crowell, Bills
Clark Haggans, Cardinals

Bryant McFadden, Steelers
Leigh Bodden, Lions
Chris McAlister, Ravens
Jabari Greer, Bills
Eric Green, Cardinals

Mike Brown, Bears
James Butler, Giants
Sean Jones, Browns
Will Demps, Texans
Josh Bullocks, Saints

Jermaine Phillips, Bucs
Jim Leonhard, Ravens
C.C. Brown, Texans
Darren Sharper, Vikings
Keith Davis, Cowboys