What they're saying about the Eagles

Veteran linebacker London Fletcher is scheduled to be a free agent. (AP Photo / Kathy Willens)

Here's a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles:

Football Outsiders details offseason needs for NFC East teams. Their numbers back what everyone watching saw: that the Eagles need a linebacker.

The stat pages at Football Outsiders make the holes in Philadelphia's defense very clear. First, the defensive line statistics, where we see Philadelphia ranked third in stuff rate but 29th in second-level yards and 22nd in open-field yards. In plain English, that means the defensive line was very good at hitting runners in the backfield, but when those runners made it across the line of scrimmage, they usually went for big gains.

Next, the team defense page, which shows that the Eagles were OK covering wide receivers and dominant against tight ends, but they ranked 29th when covering running backs in the passing game. You'd be hard-pressed to find a team in the league that got less value out of its linebackers.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com thinks veteran linebacker London Fletcher could be a good fit for the Eagles:

The Eagles had big problems at middle linebacker and Fletcher is coming off one of his best seasons. He is 37, so the contract would have to be team friendly. For a few years, it would make sense.

According to Brian McIntyre of Football Outsiders, the Eagles have $18M in cap room, but can make some moves to clear space:

Michael Vick has a fully guaranteed $12.5 million base salary that could be restructured to help lower his $13.9 million cap number for 2012. Two post-lockout free agents signings could also help free up some additional cap space for the Eagles. Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha did not receive a signing bonus, so his $11 million cap number is comprised solely by his $11 million base salary. Converting some of that into a signing bonus that is prorated over the four remaining years of his contract would reduce his cap number. Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins has a $5 million roster bonus that comes due on March 13. Converting that into a signing bonus would clear $3.75 million in cap space. Cornerback Asante Samuel has added $1 million to both his 2012 and 2013 base salaries, which now stand at $9.4 million and $11.4 million. Trading or releasing Samuel would clear $8 million from the Eagles' salary cap.

In an ESPN.com piece, Howard Bryant says the DeSean Jackson situation is an example of how the NFL Players Association still has a lot of work to do:

The Jackson case should be the latest example for the players of how football is an unpalatable business for them. They run the risk of career-threatening, even life-threatening, injury. Yet they have little financial certainty and a minimal amount of freedom. They are subject to a disciplinary system in which their appeals are heard by the same person -- Goodell -- who levies the original penalties. And after their careers are over, far too many of them die early, evidenced again this week by the death of former star wideout Freddie Solomon, who was only 59 years old.

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com isn't ready to rule out the possibility of Albert Haynesworth reuniting with Jim Washburn in Philly:

The Eagles don't need to invite discord into their locker room at this point, so it would behoove them to be sure Washburn can really draw out his talent and motivate him to perform. But if he can, wow. Haynesworth doesn't even turn 31 until June, and when he was at his best, he was one of the best defensive linemen in the league. There's no indication that he's not healthy. His problems with Washington, New England and Tampa Bay all seem to have been attitude related. And yeah, maybe he's just a guy with a bad attitude who got his money and no longer cares about anything else. This is possible, even likely, and can't be ruled out. But sometimes, a coach and a player just click. And if Washburn could get Albert Haynesworth clicking again, the Eagles could come away with one of the steals of the offseason.

NFL.com's Jason La Canfora expects the Eagles to franchise Jackson:

The Eagles plan to franchise DeSean Jackson, according to league sources, which is a no-brainer. For all of his faults in 2011 and the attitude concerns, he is a flat-out game-breaker when he's right, and Philly isn't in the business of giving assets away. Should the right trade option come along once he's tagged, then the Eagles could do some business in that regard. But this is a front office and coaching staff desperate to get back in the playoffs, and they don't have a lot of vertical threats outside of him.

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