We know, or at least we were told, the Eagles had a comprehensive plan they would launch the moment the NFL lockout was lifted and roster moves were possible.
What we can’t know, and likely will never know, is whether that plan is being executed effectively or if the mad rush of events has rendered it obsolete. Whatever happens, Andy Reid will assure that the Eagles “will be fine there” and that everything is, in the words of the Emperor from Star Wars, “exactly as I have foreseen.”
Albert Haynesworth is a Patriot. Reggie Bush is a Dolphin. Ray Edwards is still unsigned. Charles Johnson went back to Carolina. Seattle acquired Tarvaris Jackson instead of driving up the market for Kevin Kolb. Quintin Mikell got a stunningly large deal from St. Louis, which is coached by former Eagles assistant Steve Spagnuolo.
Meanwhile, the Kolb-to-Arizona trade continues to be in the works, we think, and the Eagles signed DE Jason Babin, a guy they let walk after one humdrum season here. Babin, 31, presumably will be more effective (and younger?) under new defensive line coach Jim Washburn.
What to make of the moves so far?
The Mikell deal is most intriguing. He was a solid player and key leader here for his entire career. The Eagles clearly felt like he was on the downside as they’ve kept trying to younger (without getting any better) at the safety position. Spagnuolo, who knows Mikell very well as his former position coach and who has since won a Super Bowl as defensive coordinator of the Giants, clearly thinks the guy can still play.
The worry for an Eagles fan: that Mikell, like oh, say, Jason Babin, was less than effective because he was playing in the defense of the since fired Sean McDermott. Babin blossomed under Washburn in Tennessee last year. If Mikell does the same in St. Louis, where the Eagles happen to open the season, then Reid and Howie Roseman are going to look very short-sighted. That’s pertinent because they’re also deciding whether Stewart Bradley, Ernie Sims, Dmitri Patterson and others are expendable.
The Eagles had no real control over Haynesworth and Bush. They were traded. Washington may have deliberately moved Fat Albert to New England in order to prevent a tearful reunion with Washburn. Chances are, the Eagles’ interest in Bush was a product of the media’s abhorrence of a vacuum.
But in my years covering the Eagles, they’ve always had a kind of checklist approach to doing business. The first order of business Monday and Tuesday was to learn the new rules governing the salary cap and player transactions, then to sign undafted rookies, then to arrange the move to Lehigh University for training camp. Next was to sign their draft picks, next was to finalize a Kolb deal, next came free agency.
The fact they signed all but two of their draft choices on Wednesday supports the idea they were working their way down that list. There’s no way to know if they missed out on any free agents or other trades because of that approach – they’ll never tell us if the Plan didn’t work – but it bears watching as this uniquely frantic week plays out.