Nothing wrong with a conservative aproach to spending on free agency… Being a thrifty guy myself, I give props to Howie Roseman for not getting emotionally involved in the Talib and Byrd and Ward sweepstakes.
Day 1 of FA Signings saw the Eagles play it close to the vest.
Re-upping prime-time punter Donnie Jones to a 3-year deal was probably their most relevant move— relevant to winning, I mean.
Donnie Jones is the best defensive weapon the Eagles have had in a long time. Nobody seems to care about the punter unless he screws up. Me?— I am a punter kinda guy. I've watched them all from King Hill to Sav Rocca— and Donnie Jones is the best of 'em all.
I don't have the money stats on Jones yet, but I am gonna get them— because Donnie deserves the money.
Then the Eagles cut Patrick Chung and went out and signed safety Malcolm Jenkins, formerly of the New Orleans Saints. We kinda predicted this move and we did a feature on Jenkins here at the EYE a couple of blurbs ago…
It's a low-risk, high-reward scenario again for Howie Roseman. Obviously Howie is not going to break out of his conservative spending mould for this year's edition of the Eagles.
It's a safe way to proceed— but does it ensure just another financially secure pathway to mediocrity?
Jairus Byrd was grabbed by the Saints… T.J. Ward signed with the Broncos… apparently Howie and the Eagles dropped out of the bidding. I appreciate Howie's financial responsibility. Byrd and Ward demanded big bucks. What I don't appreciate is the Eagles' current emphasis on financial risk avoidance at the expense of winning. We "settle" on Malcom Jenkins for 3 years at $16 million to avoid a much bigger commitment to Byrd or Ward. But what if Byrd or Ward (or both) were the real difference makers to making the back end of the Eagles defense a force to be reckoned with? I don't know about you, but I am getting older and I'm running out of time to be hedging my bets on an Eagles Super Bowl championship run.
Leave it to a Saints' fan to rain on our Malcolm Jenkins parade…. here's "B. Clemms" from New Orleans commenting on the safety we just picked up on the cheap:
"Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Jenkins is terrible. He was ranked 88th out of 88 safeties in 2012 on PFF. Last season he was ranked 65th of 88 safeties with one of the league's best pass rushes in front of him. He is the only safety in the NFL (starter or backup, FS or SS) to be ranked in the bottom 10 of both pass coverage and tackling efficiency on PFF. He is ranked dead last among all NFL safeties in coverage, and has missed 38 tackles the last two seasons. Luckily for Jenkins they don't have a statistic for failed geometry for taking horrible angles. I really thought he would be a free agent that hung around and was finally signed to be a camp body. "
"Saints fans made excuses for him for years but finally had enough this season. His rookie season he was terrible at CB, but everyone said he was still learning, and was really drafted to be a FS. Then he was moved to FS and he was horrible, and everyone said it was the Williams scheme on defense (the same scheme that Sharper had an all-world season at the same position the previous season). Then we hired Spags, and it was once again the coordinator's fault. Last season we hired Rob Ryan, and Jenkins was still horrible. He was outplayed by 4 other safeties on the team last year."
"To put it in perspective, we just signed Jairus Byrd, who may have been the best free agent in the league, with absolutely no expectations and with very limited cap space— and I'm on an Eagles forum because I'm so glad we finally washed our hands of Jenkins. "
"The good news for you guys, he will make one or two hustle plays a season, and he is a pretty good special teams player. He also excels at chasing opposing players into the endzone after taking a bad angle, but his real specialty is hitting the turf in frustration after blindly diving with his head down at the feet of an opposing player as they ran over or around him. You guys have a fun team to watch, and I really look forward to seeing how the Eagles do this season, but I would really temper my expectations with Jenkins. Hell, you guys abused him in the playoffs. Maybe Kelly picked him up to improve Foles' confidence in mini camp…"
Aww, nards !! Leave it to a Saints fan to notify us the Emperor has no clothes…
Well, don't let the critics get us down. After all, let us not forget that Jenkins was a 1st Round draft pick back in the day. Sometimes a change of scenery will do a body good.
Also, don't forget that Chip Kelly had to sign off on the deal. Chip knows what he wants in a player on both sides of the ball.
But admittedly, this was not the grandstand fireworks kind of finish I was hoping for at the end of the Eagles' first day of free agency signings. Maybe there's more to come. But for the moment, looks like Denver stole the show.
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TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE (MARCH 12, 2014) —
The Eagles added some "utility players" primarily for depth on special teams and backup strength on defense:
Chris Maragos (formerly Seattle)—Safety/Special Teams, age 27, 5-10, 200, signed for 3 years, total $4 million, $1 million guaranteed…
"Crazy" Bryan Braman (formerly Houston)—OLB/Special Teams, age 26, 6-5, 251, signed for 2 years, total $3.1 million, $1 million guaranteed…
More updates to follow as T-Boner breaks the news below on personnel moves….