Eagles free agency buzz

Will the Lions let linebacker Stephen Tulloch reach free agency? (Carlos Osorio/AP)

The market will begin to take shape this afternoon as free agency kicks off at 4 p.m.

Here's a roundup of the latest news and rumors, many of which could affect the Birds. And be sure to check out our Eagles section for content from today's papers.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com Tweets that he's hearing Dan Connor to the Eagles will get done. As I mentioned yesterday, based on his body of work, Connor is not a three-down player. If he's the Eagles' primary target, it would indicate they might go with a linebacker-by-committee approach once again, with Connor playing early downs and guys like Casey Matthews and Keenan Clayton getting on the field in passing situations.

Meanwhile, even though the Lions cleared some cap space yesterday, it appears that Stephen Tulloch is going to test the free-agent market.

"I let my agent really handle that stuff, but obviously, the Lions do want me back, and I would love to come back," Tulloch said during a Sirius XM radio interview yesterday, per the Detroit Free Press. "But at this point in my career, things have to be right. My family and my situation going on, I just want to continue to play football and get what I deserve, and that’s what it boils down to. And hopefully, things can work out there. If not, I know another team will step in there and do what’s right and move forward to win some ballgames."

Justin Rogers of MLive.com explains why Tulloch is looking to cash in. He might be the Eagles' best option to upgrade at linebacker, but it sure sounds like Tulloch is going to demand a big paycheck.

As for their own free agents, the Eagles tendered Antonio Dixon at a second-round level yesterday. In 2010, Dixon was the Eagles' best run-stuffing defensive tackle and probably their second-best overall lineman. He didn't stand out in limited action last year before suffering a season-ending injury. It'll be interesting to see how he fits into the team's plans going forward. I'm still not ready to rule out defensive tackle as a possibility - either in free agency or early in the draft.

Mario Williams is the crown jewel on defense of this free-agent class. According to John "Moon" Mullin of CSN Chicago, the Bears are the favorites to land Williams and will look to team him up with Julius Peppers on the defensive line. Of course, the rumors will fly today, and Danny O'Neil of The Seattle Times says there's a "strong buzz" that the Seahawks are going to pursue Williams aggressively.

ESPN's Adam Schefter, meanwhile, mentioned several teams, including the Eagles, when discussing Williams on SportsCenter Tuesday morning.

"Another deal that will happen quickly is Mario Williams, the former Houston Texans defensive end and linebacker, the top defensive free agent on the market," Schefter said. "His deal is expected to come in around $15 million per year. You hear about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. You hear about the Philadelphia Eagles. You hear about the Chicago Bears. Lots of interest..."

To be clear, Schefter didn't sound like he was going on anything concrete. Perhaps he was just making the point that Williams could help any number of teams, but he did mention the Eagles.

The Peyton Manning situation seems to be developing on an hourly basis. He met with Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. The Titans and possibly the Texans could be next, per reports. And Randy Moss has agreed to a one-year deal with the 49ers.

In a surprise move, the Texans cut right tackle Eric Winston yesterday for salary cap reasons. Winston, who had started 87 consecutive games for Houston and is only 28 years old, figures to have his share of suitors on the open market.

As the Saints await word on penalties relating to the league's bounty investigation, they are apparently working hard to keep some of their own players. A league source tells Pro Football Talk that New Orleans is working "feverishly" to bring back wide receiver Marques Colston. I wrote a piece for SI.com looking at the WR market and explaining why Colston would be wise to stick with Drew Brees and the Saints if the price is right.

Meanwhile, guard Carl Nicks Tweeted that the Saints have made him a "respectable" offer, and he is deciding what to do.

Finally, a programming note. Because of a death in the family, I'll be out of town for the next 24 to 48 hours. I may post here and there, but will not be providing constant free agency updates, so be sure to check out our Eagles section for the latest.

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