Roseman on LBs: 'We're looking'
The Philadelphia Inquirer Blog - Eagles
Roseman on LBs: 'We're looking'
Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
Howie Roseman met with reporters today to talk about the contract he and the Eagles hammered out with DeSean Jackson, but there are still a number of unresolved issues for the team with free agency just two days old.
No. 1: Why haven't they yet signed a linebacker -- a position they obviously need to upgrade at -- and do they plan on addressing that need through free agency?
"I think we're looking at some things," Roseman said. "We're probably being a little more patient, which has really been our M.O. in free agency. It just so happened that last year was such a different dynamic that we had to knock out a bunch of things quickly."
The way the market has unfolded for free agent linebackers hasn't necessarily forced the Eagles to get something done right away. The top inside 4-3 linebackers available -- Curtis Lofton, Stephen Tulloch and David Hawthorne -- remained unsigned.
There was some clatter about Lofton signing with Tampa Bay but that never came to fruition. Hawthorne is scheduled to visit the Saints. The Panthers' Dan Connor is in Dallas right now. (UPDATE: Connor signed a contract with the Cowboys Thursday afternoon.) The Redskins' London Fletcher hasn't gotten a sniff.
While teams are snatching up a number of wide receivers and cornerbacks, there are still a number of quality linebackers out there.
"It always goes that way in the free agent market," Roseman said. "You see a couple of positions get hot and then everybody jumps on them because they don't want lose out. And, I think, it'll be almost like the draft. Once one signs maybe you'll start seeing them all knocked out."
Issue No. 2 for the Eagles pertains to one of their own unrestricted free agents, Evan Mathis. The guard is currently visiting with the Ravens. The Redskins and Colts are reportedly also interested in the 30-year old. With former Ravens guard Ben Grubbs signing with the Saints, Baltimore may bolt their doors to keep Mathis from leaving without a signed deal.
"That's the dangers of free agency," Roseman said. "It's a big boy sport right there. You have that risk when players get to free agency that you're going to lose them. You're aware of that and we hope Evan Mathis remains a Philadelphia Eagle, but obviously when you're on the open market things happen."
Roseman was then asked if the Eagles were prepared to do whatever it took to keep Mathis, who helped solidify an offensive line that was collectively the team's best in years.
"Whatever it takes, that's a very powerful statement," Roseman said. "We like Evan back and we're in constant communication with his representatives."
Mathis left the Ravens’ facility this afternoon without a deal, but he's having dinner with team officials tonight, according to the Carroll County Times, and is staying in Baltimore until Friday. “It was a good meeting with the Ravens,” Mathis said to the paper. “I think it’s a good fit.”
Perhaps not Issue No. 3 -- the Eagles still need a backup running back, some safety help and maybe another reserve quarterback -- but whether the team will be able to work out an extension with running back LeSean McCoy has gone near the top of the list now that Jackson has his new contract.
Roseman was asked about The Inquirer report that the Eagles and McCoy are already negotiating.
"We don't talk about our contract negotiations with any player," Roseman said. "I'll just confirm our belief that he's a great player and we hope to have him in Philadelphia for a long time."