Today at 4 p.m., the NFL's new league year will kick off and free agency will begin. Here's a round-up of Eagles rumors that have emerged during the "legal tampering period."
Darrelle Revis, CB, Buccaneers (5'11, 198, turns 29 in July)
The Buccaneers are reportedly poised to release Darrelle Revis if they can't find a trade partner for him. Revis' current contract is very unattractive, as he'll count for $16 million against the cap every year through 2018, on what is essentially a series of 1-year deals. It seems unlikely that a team would take on that contract, while also parting with an asset to do so.
The Inquirer's Jeff McLane noted that the Eagles "flirted" with the idea of acquiring Revis last year.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) March 11, 2014
Revis seems like he's been around forever, but he is younger than you'd think, at 28, and he's still a special talent. If the Eagles were to sign Revis, the immediate national reaction would predictably be "Dream Team II," but this is a difference maker the Birds absolutely have to consider if indeed he shakes free.
Corey Graham, CB, Ravens (6'0, 196, turns 29 in July)
Clifton Brown of CSN Baltimore reported that the Eagles were among the teams interested in Graham, which was seconded by the Daliy News' Les Bowen:
@CliftonBrownCSN Eagles very interested, I hear.
— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) March 10, 2014
Graham would be a good fit in the Eagles defense, as noted here over the weekend.
One player who can play a number of roles and be a valuable jack of all trades is Corey Graham of the Ravens. Graham has the versatility to play both on the outside and in the slot, and he made the Pro Bowl after the 2011 season with the Bears as a standout special teamer.
Graham would be a tremendous addition, however, he may see himself as a starter in the NFL, thus making Philly a tough sell.
On a side note, Graham and Chip Kelly were together at the University of New Hampshire for 3 years from 2004-2006. Kelly coached at New Hampshire from 1994-2006, while Graham was a 4 year starter at CB from 2004-2007.
Mike Mitchell, S, Panthers (6'0, 210, turns 27 in June)
Multiple reporters have linked Mitchell to the Eagles. McLane wrote about Mitchell at length yesterday.
The Eagles have reached out to Panthers safety Mike Mitchell, according to a source close to the situation, but the team's level of interest is difficult to gauge. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and coach Chip Kelly have nothing to gain in sharing information about their plans.
Mitchell is an intriguing possibility, though, and one who makes sense in several regards. The 27-year old had a solid season in Carolina after signing a one-year, "prove-it" deal last offseason after four years in Oakland.
He's versatile, has good size (6-foot-1, 220 pounds), and shouldn't break the bank, although there have been indications that he wants a long-term contract. Former Eagles safety Quintin Mikell, who played alongside Mitchell for most of last season, gave his teammate a positive endorsement.
"Would he fit in Philly? I don't know the scheme," said Mikell, 33. "But he's fast, athletic, physical, can cover, and is super smart. He has all the tools."
Jairus Byrd, S, Bills (5'10, 203, turns 28 in October)
Byrd's contract demands are scaring teams off, according to Peter King of the MMQB:
Jairus Byrd’s landing spot? A secret. He wants $9 million a year, and I can’t figure out who will pay a safety that much.
I half-agree with King. I don't think it's completely unreasonable to pay a safety $9 million/season, but if you're going to do that, you better be getting Ed Reed in his prime. You don't want to be paying that kind of money to a "very good" safety like Byrd, whose game has some deficiencies.
Once his demands drop a little, we'll see if the Eagles become involved.
Lamarr Houston, DE, Raiders (6'3, 300, turns 27 in June)
On the surface, Houston seems like an odd fit, seeing as the Eagles already have two good starters at DE. However, there's a a thinking that Houston is nowhere near the 300 pounds he's listed at, and could actually be a candidate to play OLB in a 3-4. That seems like a stretch. Les Bowen said the Eagles have some level of interest:
The Eagles have looked into Raiders edge rusher and pending free agent Lamarr Houston, I'm told. He'll attract a lot of interest.
— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) March 10, 2014
The Bears are thought to have heavy interest in Houston.
Mike Neal, OLB, Packers (6'3, 285, turns 27 in June)
The Inquirer's Zach Berman doesn't specifically state any specific interest from the Eagles in Mike Neal, but his mention of him is noteworthy.
Name to pay attention to starting Tues is GB OLB/DE Mike Neal. Didn't drop much in 1st year as OLB, but has size/versatility/athleticism
— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) March 10, 2014
Neal is a 4 year player with 10.5 career sacks, but is thought to be a player on the rise. If Neal is going to cost significant dollars, it's a move that doesn't make a lot of sense. If you're not bringing in a slam dunk upgrade over Trent Cole, being patient seems like the more appropriate tact. However, if Neal is brought in on a contract suited more toward depth at the OLB position, then he would be a nice addition.
Cross them off the list
Here are some other previous players of interest, who will either definitively or likely not be Eagles.
• Matt Cassel, QB, signed back with the Vikings
• Everson Griffin, DE/OLB, signed back with the Vikings
• Sam Shields, CB, signed back with the Packers
• The Dolphins signed Louis Delmas, who was never thought to be a target, but is noteworthy as it's one more safety not in play.
• One off-the-radar name to watch is Lions DE Willie Young.
• Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz laid out his free agency preview.
• DeSean Jackson... Stay tuned.
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