The Eagles are a team that is built on speed. They have employed players like Darren Sproles and Ronald Darby to create an offense that moves down the field in hurry up mode. If they can’t get someone during free agency, it’s not going to be because of their lack of activity, but due to extreme struggles in the draft or signing undrafted rookies from smaller schools without much experience
The “tyrann mathieu weight” is a question that has been asked. The Eagles’ slow pursuit of Tyrann Mathieu explains their offseason strategy.
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Honey Badger is the best lens through which to examine the Eagles’ offseason.
The Eagles and safety Tyrann Mathieu have shown reciprocal interest in one other. A league source corroborated an NFL Network story that they hosted him on a virtual visit last week and had been in contact with him for longer than that. The Eagles haven’t been proactive in closing the deal for Mathieu, 29, who would fill a huge need and help stabilize Philadelphia’s back end.
It fits with the Eagles’ offseason mood, which has seemed a bit like a Fourth of July fireworks display with picnic blankets down and eyes up in anticipation of the pyrotechnician shooting off a few of bottle rockets.
It was a bit of a bummer.
At the outset of free agency, they made a splash by signing edge rusher Haason Reddick to a three-year, $45 million contract. It was a huge step forward: He has 23.5 sacks in the previous two seasons and will improve a pass-rushing unit that was second-to-worst in the NFL in sacks last season (29).
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“When you have as many top draft selections as we have, we don’t want to keep these individuals from playing,” he said. “We don’t want to get into a position where we’re picking people in the first, second, or even third round and they can’t play because it’s a contract year.” This allows us to choose players and play early in their contracts, which we believe is a crucial part of the team-building process.
“I believe that stems from the fact that we don’t want to take three players and have them redshirt, redshirt, redshirt. You’re barred in three places: here, here, and here.”
And if the Eagles sign Mathieu to a long-term deal before the draft, one of those open starting slots will be taken. It looks that the only way they’d do it today is if the transaction was cheap enough to be considered nonbinding.
Does this provide any insight into the Eagles’ plans for their first-round picks? To some extent, yes. There aren’t many starting slots available right now. There are glaring openings at safety and cornerback, and there is a road to a starting position at receiver and, possibly, linebacker. Prospects like LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr., Arkansas WR Treylon Burks, and Michigan safety Daxton Hill are worth studying.
The fairest way to look at it is that Philadelphia is waiting their second wave of free-agent/trade activity until the draft is over.
“We’ll be playing a crucial game in roughly a year. We see it as having a plethora of tools for developing the team. And that is the aim each and every day “Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. “I expect Howie, [coach] Nick [Sirianni], and everyone to address every area of concern between now and September, and they are.”
There’s some message-resetting going on here that’s quite handy. The Eagles were close to acquiring Calvin Ridley before he was banned, and they pursued a number of high-profile free agents, including Christian Kirk, Marcus Williams, and Justin Reid, but came up empty-handed. During those chases, there didn’t seem to be much worry about blocking top selection choices (though to be fair, both starting safety spots were open at the start of the offseason, and they may not have re-signed Harris if they landed Williams or Reid). However, this is the tactic they’ve adopted.
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It seems that the wait-and-see strategy is being used most vehemently at the corner. Both Lurie and Sirianni mentioned the addition of CB Steven Nelson prior to the start of training camp in July as an example of how roster-building goes beyond the draft at the annual league meeting. To until time, Philadelphia hasn’t had much of a connection to the corner market. Meanwhile, with the draft only a few weeks away, numerous big free-agent cornerbacks remain unsigned, including Stephon Gilmore, Bryce Callahan, Joe Haden, Xavier Rhodes, and Nelson.
Mathieu, Landon Collins, and Terrell Edmunds are among those who are still available at safety.
“I believe there’s still players available in free agency if we were to circle back to some of the spots where people feel there’s a need,” Roseman said. “A lot of them are experienced players who are clever enough to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to wait and see what happens in the draft, see if clubs take these guys, and figure out where the best situation for me is.’”
So, while the fireworks display may appear to be tame at the moment, we may come to see it as simply a long pause between the first pop and the rest of the action, which will begin later this month — with a move for Mathieu or another starting-caliber safety almost certain if they don’t address the position early in the draft.
“We’ve grown a little bit via free agency. But we’re going to get a lot of draft selections “Sirianni said. “Later on, players may always be added to the roster. It’s coming together. I don’t believe you’re ever completely completed.”
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