Well, it looks like the chaos is about to ensue.
Multiple outlets are reporting that the owners and players have agreed to terms on a new CBA, and the voting process will begin Monday afternoon.
There are conflicting reports about when free agency could start. Earlier today, Mark Maske of The Washington Post and Albert Breer of NFL Network reported that the signing period would begin Friday at 6 p.m.
But ESPN's Adam Schefter says the festivities will begin sooner. Per Schefter, teams will be allowed to start signing their own free agents today. Teams can sign ANY unrestricted free agents beginning Tuesday at noon, although the contracts wouldn't take effect until Aug. 2. Teams can start talking trades this afternoon, although it's unclear when they could execute them. Per Schefter, trades would become official on Saturday.
So it finally seems safe and reassonable to look ahead at what the Eagles are going to do.
Even though this has been a relatively dead offseason with the lockout, the Birds have somehow managed to find themselves linked to several players who will be available via free agency or trade.
I've put together a recap of all the rumors, reports, speculation, etc. from the past several months. You'll find the name of the player, how he got linked to the Eagles and my take on whether the Eagles should/could pursue him.
Ray Edwards, DE, Vikings: D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Falcons won't pursue Edwards. Ledbetter says he's expected to land with the Eagles.
MY TAKE: If the Eagles have a deal in place for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, acquiring a pass rusher should become their primary focus. Edwards, Carolina's Charles Johnson and Jason Babin are all possibilities. Edwards is 26 and has 16.5 sacks in the last two seasons, but his numbers in terms of consistent pressure are better. He'll be attractive to a lot of teams, and the Eagles could very well be in the mix.
Jason Babin, DE, Titans: Not long after the Eagles hired Jim Washburn, Babin told Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean it would be hard for him not to contemplate a return to Philadelphia. Babin told Pro Football Focus more recently he has no bad feelings towards Andy Reid after the team chose not to bring him back in 2010.
MY TAKE: Adding Babin makes sense on many different levels. The fact that he'd be playing for Washburn in the same system as last year should alleviate concerns about Babin being a one-year wonder. He's 31, but had only 26 career starts in seven seasons prior to 2010. The Birds are built to win now, and Babin could give them the pass-rusher they've been seearching for opposite Trent Cole. Given the shortened preseason and the Eagles' supposed focus on winning now, Babin has extra value. He could potentially step in and have an impact right away, while also helping the other linemen pick up Washburn's techniques. I think they will certainly take a hard look at him, but I wouldn't be surprised if Babin gets a monster deal elsewhere, and the Eagles go in a different direction.
Albert Haynesworth, DT, Redskins: The Redskins will have to make a decision on Haynesworth, even though he's not yet a free agent. Not long after the Eagles hired Washburn, Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network Tweeted that Haynesworth would love to play for Washburn again. An Eagles source told Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports that Washburn wants Haynesworth badly. And La Canfora said earlier this month that the Redskins are worried about the Eagles landing Haynesworth if they release him.
MY TAKE: You're probably tired of hearing this, but if you're a regular MTC reader, you know I'm intrigued by the possibility of the Eagles adding Haynesworth. I don't think they (or any team) will trade for him. But if the Redskins release him, I think the Birds have to take a look. If they can sign him to a low-risk, high-reward contract (meaning they can cut him with little financial commitment), it would make sense. My main concern would be the lack of leadership on the Eagles' defense. Adding Haynesworth would carry less risk if the Birds had more veterans on that side of the ball.
Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Raiders: After the draft, ESPN's Adam Schefter said he thought the Eagles would be one of the teams bidding on Asomugha. In June, SI.com's Peter King tabbed the Eagles as the favorites to land Asomugha.
MY TAKE: Every team in the league would improve by adding Asomugha. And that rings even more true for a team like the Eagles that has Super Bowl aspirations and a gaping hole at right cornerback. If the Birds add Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the Kevin Kolb deal, they won't be looking to add Asomugha or any other free-agent corners. But if DRC is not part of the Kolb deal, they'll at least have to see what kind of money Asomugha is looking for. I'd say other teams are more likely to break the bank for him, but if the Eagles are in win-now mode, I'm not sure there's a player on this list that would help them more.
Plaxico Burress, WR, Giants: Gary Myers of the New York Daily News said back in May that he'd heard the Eagles would be first in line to pursue Plaxico Burress once he was released from prison. Earlier this month, Burress told 97.5 The Fanatic that the Eagles were an "attractive" team.
MY TAKE: If you told me the Eagles would be getting the pre-prison Burress, I'd agree that he could be an asset and is a better player than Riley Cooper. But the problem is, we don't know what Burress can offer at this point in his career. I'm sure the possibility of adding Burress intrigues Andy Reid, but ultimately, I think he'll find a team that can use him more and get him on the field more than the Eagles.
Carlos Rogers, CB, Redskins: He told 106.7 The Fan that it would be fun to play for the Eagles and face the Redskins twice a year.
MY TAKE: He would be an upgrade over what the Eagles have on their roster, but Rogers is 30 and doesn't have the upside of some of the other corner possibilities. If plans fall through with some of the other names on this list, maybe he's a guy they take a look at, but Rogers doesn't seem like a high-priority target.
Ike Taylor, CB, Steelers: Multiple sources told Adam Caplan of FoxSports.com that the Eagles were expected to show "strong interest" in Taylor once free agency begins.
MY TAKE: The Eagles could greatly benefit from a veteran in the secondary. Miscommunication has been an issue back there ever since Brian Dawkins left, and Taylor could provide experience. If the Eagles don't land Rodgers-Cromartie in the Kolb trade, I wouldn't be surprised to see them target Taylor, even though he turned 31 in May.
Johnathan Joseph, CB, Bengals: Caplan reported that Joseph could be one of the veteran cornerbacks on the Eagles' radar.
MY TAKE: He's another corner the Eagles could look at if they don't land Rodgers-Cromartie. Joseph, 27, is a younger option than Asomugha, Taylor and Rogers.
Reggie Bush, RB, Saints: A team source told Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports that the possibility of adding Bush piqued the Eagles' interest this offseason.
MY TAKE: As is the case with Burress, I'm sure Reid is intrigued by potentially adding Bush as another toy to his offense. But there's only one football to go around, and I don't see Bush being happy with a limited role here, especially when you consider how he might be used by other potential suitors. If Bush does land here, I think Reid and Marty Mornhinweg will have to get creative in how they use him. His potential as a return man is intriguing.
Brian Westbrook, RB, 49ers: In an interview with NBC10 in March, Westbrook said he talks to Andy Reid all the time and would love to return to Philadelphia.
MY TAKE: Ideally, the Eagles would be able to bring back Jerome Harrison, but since he's going to be an unrestricted free agent, Harrison will likely be looking to go somewhere where he can play a bigger role. Westbrook actually surprised with some impressive performances down the stretch last year. He knows the offense, is outstanding as a pass-blocker and has already served as a mentor to LeSean McCoy. But he'll turn 32 in September and is an injury risk. I'd expect the Eagles to go in a different direction.
Kirk Morrison, LB, Jaguars: According to Caplan, Morrison could be a fit with the Eagles, depending on what they decide to do at linebacker.
MY TAKE: This will be one of the most interesting free-agent storylines for the Eagles. Will they go after a veteran linebacker? The Birds have to make a decision on Stewart Bradley, and they have drafted five linebackers in the past two years. I'd guess they will probably not target a free agent here and will more likely try to develop the players they have. Jeff McLane and Jonathan Tamari of The Inquirer and Tommy Lawlor over at IgglesBlitz.com have mentioned Paul Posluszny's name too.
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