I was caught up in meetings all day, and while I was getting constant texts, Tweets and e-mails about the Eagles' roster moves, I didn't have a chance to comment on them.
Let's start with Shawn Andrews. I had grown tired of the whole He doesn't want to play football conversations that dominated sports-talk radio over the last few weeks.. I think some of the shots taken were a little over the top, given that Andrews is the only one who knows what's going on in his head and his body, but that's just my personal opinion.
My main focus during the entire ordeal has been: Can the Eagles count on this guy to play right tackle at a high level?
And while we have known for quite some time now that the answer to that question is no, today's news cements it.
So where do the Eagles go from here? The first thought is Winston Justice. He's made great strides in the offseason and preseason, and played well Sunday against the Panthers. As I detailed in a post earlier this week, it looked to me like the Eagles did a good job of game-planning and giving him help, although Andy Reid said yesterday Justice was on his own quite a bit. I only counted five or six plays in the passing game where that was the case.
Regardless, he certainly earned another start this week against the Saints. Maybe Sunday, Reid gives him less help, easing him into the role to see how much he can handle.
The other obvious option would be Jon Runyan, who the Eagles worked out last week. A source tells Birds' Eye View that the Eagles don't feel the need to add Runyan, given how Justice played last week. But then again, they also seemed to indicate they had no interest in Runyan before bringing him in for the initial workout.
They could also move Stacy Andrews to tackle, the position most assumed he'd be playing when they signed him in the offseason. In terms of depth, the other tackles on the roster are King Dunlap and Todd Herremans. Herremans has been playing guard, but certainly could play tackle, and I don't think the coaching staff feels Dunlap would be ready to step in, although I've been wrong before.
The other shoe that dropped was the release of Hank Baskett. The question here is: Why did they release Baskett instead of Reggie Brown? After all, the coaching staff activated Baskett over Brown (and rookie Brandon Gibson) on Sunday, so they obviously felt he had some value. Baskett was unique among the Eagles receivers because of his size. He also excelled as a blocker (which I mentioned earlier this week) and had a role on special teams.
Baskett has less than four years of service time so he has to pass through waivers before becoming a free agent.
Update: Adam Caplan of Scout.com does a good job of explaining the finances that would have been involved with cutting Brown.
I asked him for further explanation on Twitter, and he provided it (in 140 character increments):
The way it was explained to me by a league source, it's what it costs against the cap if he's dropped-$3.5. $2.7 in bonus acceleration actually plus the $769 K they owe him, comes to $3.5. It's essentially smarter for them to keep Brown on the roster, the bonus money that's left won't go against cap now.
So what happens now? It would appear that Brown could be active Sunday against the Saints unless the Eagles feel Gibson could give them more, which would make the Baskett move more puzzling.
And finally, if the Eagles decide not to add a right tackle, would they consider keeping four quarterbacks on the roster when Michael Vick is eligible to play and Donovan McNabb is healthy? That would be unorthodox, but at this point, not really surprising.
By the way, a report is making the rounds that Brian Westbrook will be a free agent after the 2010 season. Iggles Blog pointed out that they wrote about this last week. And they do a better job of explaining it than ESPN.com, in my opinion. Nice job by them. And bad job by the rest of us for not linking to them sooner.