Eagles acquire Arrelious Benn from Buccaneers
The Eagles added to their offseason haul by acquiring wide receiver Arrelious Benn in a trade with the Buccaneers on Friday.
They gave up their sixth-round draft pick and a conditional pick in 2014 in exchange for the 24-year-old Benn and a seventh-round selection this year from Tampa Bay.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Benn was drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft out of Illinois. He has been a disappointment as a receiver, and in three seasons tallied only 59 catches for 862 yards and five touchdowns.
But Benn has been a contributor on special teams, both on the return and cover teams. He averaged 23.5 yards on 13 kick returns and was credited with five special teams tackles last season.
He played in only eight games last season before being placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. He caught 30 passes for 441 yards and three touchdowns the season before and was noted for his downfield blocking.
The Eagles are stocked at receiver with DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, and Damaris Johnson as the most prominent. Benn does bring some size to the position and gives coach Chip Kelly a potential weapon that has underperformed at the NFL level.
Barwin's role. Connor Barwin notched a career-high 111/2 sacks when the Texans switched to a 3-4 defense in 2011.
But last season the new Eagles linebacker saw his production dip when his responsibilities changed and he had to play on the strong-side. Barwin finished with only three sacks, but the Eagles think he'll recover his pass-rushing ferocity.
Barwin signed a six-year deal on Thursday but only the first two years come with guaranteed money. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said that Barwin will join the Eagles' stable of edge rushers, led by Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, and Vinny Curry.
Barwin, 26, was asked how he expects to fit in.
"In any defense, especially with the way the game is going now, you need to be able to rotate at the defensive line and linebacker position to keep things fresh," Barwin told reporters at the NovaCare Complex. "I don't exactly how it's going to work out, but I know you need a lot more than two guys to do it."
Williams' attitude. Cary Williams comes with a reputation as a dirty player.
The new Eagles cornerback got into a scuffle with Jackson last September when the Ravens visited Lincoln Financial Field. He also got away with swiping at an official in Super Bowl XLVII.
Williams, whom the Birds signed to a three-year contract on Thursday, said that he planned on eliminating the fisticuffs from his game. But the 28-year-old said that he didn't want to lose his competitive edge.
"Intimidation is huge in this game," Williams said. "I think it's one thing to intimidate, but also to go out there and play physical each and every week."
The Eagles are hoping that Williams and the recently acquired Bradley Fletcher bring some aggressiveness to a cornerback group - led by Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - that was passive last year.
The sure-tackling Williams was asked whom he patterned himself after.
"You might not like this, but I model myself after Nnamdi," Williams said. "He didn't have much success here, but I don't plan on going down that path."
Ex-Giant Phillips. Of the Eagles' eight free-agency signings, Kenny Phillips may be the biggest question mark.
The former New York Giants safety has had two significant knee injuries in his career and played in only seven games last season. The Eagles inked him to just a one-year deal. Phillips, who deemed himself 100 percent healthy, was asked if he was ready to make his former team his sworn enemy.
"I can't just say right now I hate the Giants," he said. "I guess I'll have to learn to hate them."
Contact Jeff McLane at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.