Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sifting Through the Eagles Rumors

There are a ton of Eagles rumors flying around the internet. There are any number of trade scenarios and free agent signings that have been "sure to happen" according to a number of different sources. The Eagles have been linked to nearly every available wide receiver, and Lito Sheppard has been traded to about ten different teams already. So what are we to believe? What are the Eagles really going to do? I am not going to pretend like I know what's going to happen, but I want to run down what we know and try to figure out what rumors might actually have some merit.

What we know:
*The Eagles want a top flight receiver The Eagles went after Randy Moss. That's a fact. Going after Moss proves that the Eagles want a number one receiver. Andy Reid knows that if the Eagles go through next season with a receiving group led by a pair of number two receivers, Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis, their offense will remain stagnant. They need a true number one receiver who can either help to stretch the field or draw a double team as he goes across the middle. Going after Moss was a declaration to the league that the Eagles want a number one receiver, and they are willing to do what it takes to get one.

*The Eagles are willing to trade Lito As good as the Eagles secondary would be next year with Asante Samuel, Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard, one of them is likely to go. While keeping three starting caliber corners would help them shut down opposing teams who like to run spread offenses, there are potential issues that could arise. The main problem is that all three think they are starting corners, so whoever plays nickel corner will be upset. Reportedly, the Eagles are willing to move Lito Sheppard, and have already begun fielding offers from other teams. Rumors are swirling as to possible trading partners, with the Redskins, Lions and Cardinals as the rumored suitors. What they might get for the oft-injured former Pro Bowler is another story. I have heard everything from draft picks to star receivers. Of course, the Eagles can't overplay their hand and show other teams they are desperate to move Lito, so they won't let it be known that they want to dump him. If other teams know the Eagles can't wait to get rid of him, they won't get anything good in return.

The rumored moves:
*Free Agent Receivers There isn't much left in the free agent market. Bryant Johnson and D. J. Hackett are the best available, but they wouldn't be an upgrade over what the Eagles currently have. They would be more of the same. A receiver would have to be acquired through a trade.

*Larry Fitzgerald As I said before, the Eagles are going after a top receiver, and there have been grumblings that the Cardinals won't be able to pay Larry Fitzgerald, so they want to move him to another team. Obviously, if Fitzgerald is available, he has to be someone the Eagles are pursuing. If they would really trade Fitzgerald, which is very unlikely, what would the Cardinals want for him? They could use help in the secondary, so Lito Sheppard could be an option. The Eagles would also need to throw in a few first day draft picks as well. If Lito isn't a part of the deal, I don't think the Eagles have enough to offer to get it done.

The other problem with the Eagles acquiring Larry Fitzgerald is the same problem the Cardinals are having: his contract. Fitzgerald is set to make a total of 31 million over the next two seasons. The Eagles already spent a ton of money on Samuel so they are no going to be happy having two guys taking up a huge chunk of their salary cap. The Eagles would likely try to get Fitzgerald to restructure his contract, but if he is willing to do that, the Cardinals would be able to keep him.

*Roy Williams The Lions receiver has been rumored to be on the trading block, so again, you can bet the Eagles are showing interest. While Williams is not on the level of a Larry Fitzgerald or Randy Moss, he's in the next tier of receivers and would be a definite number one option on the Eagles. So if the Lions are willing to trade, does Philly have anything they want? They have an awful defense, and need help at corner and on the defensive line. They would certainly want Lito, but the Eagles don't have any tradeable pieces along the D-line. While it would be great to get rid of Darren Howard, even Matt Millen isn't dumb enough to pay Howard's contract for his minor contributions. A deal for Roy Williams seems more likely than for Fitzgerald, but it would also take Lito and a high draft pick.

*Chad Johnson I am not sure why he keeps popping up in trade possibilities. Even if he wants to get out of town, the Bengals have no interest in trading him. If they did, they would ask for way more than the Eagles would be willing to give up. Johnson has more of a chance of going to a team with a top 5 pick in the draft.

To sum it up, we know the Eagles want a top flight receiver, and that receiver has to come through a trade. Their best trading chip is Lito Sheppard, but he alone will not get them a great receiver. A package of draft picks with Lito included might get it done. So, what will the Eagles do? The Eagles have let a lot of information leak recently, which has allowed fans to be in on their pursuit of Asante Samuel and their attempts to bring in Randy Moss. I have a feeling they will work under the radar on the next move.

You can get excited that the Eagles are working hard to improve their club, but don't get too excited by every rumor you hear. If you hear about a trade that is too good to be true, it is, because if the Eagles had an offer like that, they would have already accepted it. By the time many of these things become rumors, they are no longer possible. We just have to trust that the Eagles will be able to pull something off, because if they don't get another playmaker on offense, we may be looking at another season out of the playoffs.

1 comment:

Discount The Eagles Tickets said...

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