BobBarker

Eagles play the “Price Is Right” game with UFA’s…

General manager Howie Roseman is on record as saying he will make big-spending exceptions for exceptional players in free agent bidding wars, which officially begin today (Tuesday) at 4:00 P.M. EST.

The trick, of course, is like the merchandise bid on "The Price Is Right"— get as close to the actual value of the merchandise without going over the retail price.

I take Roseman at his word —which is one reason he may be kicking the tires on Darrelle Revis right about now.

Tampa Bay just screwed the pooch on the Roseman value index by leaking the news their star veteran cornerback will be either traded or released by Wednesday (March 12).

Trade for Revis and absorb his $15 million contractual salary for 2014? I think not.

Bid for him in free agency? A winning bid will cost at least half of the cash the Eagles were saving to shop for free agents at at least two other positions.

Sure, they could sign Revis and re-work his contract to absorb the lowest possible cap hit—but that would mean a big signing bonus up front and a long-term deal making Revis the highest paid Eagles player. That should go over well in the locker room…

At age 29 and apparently completely rehabbed from an ACL tear two years ago, Revis does represent value to any team seriously vested in improving its defense. But at what price? The asking Price Is Wrong on Revis, if you ask me. It skews the pricing higher for the rest of the free agent market as well.

Phil Sheridan reminded Howie Roseman to stick with the "Price Is Right" formula in his ESPN.com column yesterday.

Roseman has his own term for "Price Is Right"— he calls it VORP (Value Over Replacement Player)…

Last year Roseman employed a baseball term to describe his team's 2013 approach to free agency. The Eagles tried to have a decent “batting average” by signing “a bunch of guys that aren't high-price guys.”

This year Roseman's calling it VORP—That is a better way to analyze if that "bunch of high value, low cost signings" approach truly is more effective than making one or two pricier, higher risk/reward signings.

Here's Sheridan's scorecard on Roseman: The Eagles signed nine free agents in March of last year. We won't count later moves, such as picking up running back Felix Jones — only moves made in the primary free-agency period.

Four of the nine players were hits: linebacker Connor Barwin, punter Donnie Jones and cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher.

Five of the nine players were outs: strikeouts Kenny Phillips and Jason Phillips, groundout Isaac Sopoaga, popup Patrick Chung and line drive right at the shortstop James Casey.

Four-for-nine is a batting average of .444, which will get you in the Hall of Fame. But that basic metric doesn't tell the whole story.

Getting a good punter shouldn't count for as much as whiffing on a safety, let alone two of them. Williams and Fletcher were good, but not great. It should tell you something that virtually every offseason analysis and mock draft has the Eagles looking to upgrade the cornerback position.

Barwin was better than his stats said he was. His versatility inspired defensive coordinator Bill Davis to use him in different roles — not all of which resulted in sacks or other easily identified big plays.

Sopoaga was paid $3 million by the Eagles before being traded away at midseason. Chung made $3 million to lose his starting job twice. Casey made $4 million to play special teams. Williams made $5.75 million and Fletcher $3.28 million while Brandon Boykin led the team with six interceptions for $480,000.

So it's not really about a .444 batting average. It's about what kind of value Roseman got for the money he spent, and whether or not it would have been better spent elsewhere. That's not VORP in the baseball sense, but it's an easy way to extend the “batting-average” analogy.

Sheridan's conclusion is really a question:

"Is it better to drop $10 million on Chung, Sopoaga and Casey than to drop $10 on Jairus Byrd? Is it smarter to spend $9 million on two decent cornerbacks or the same amount on one Pro Bowl-caliber safety?"

There may not be one right answer, but the questions are worth asking.

That's why they call Bob Barker's game The Price Is Right…

 

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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