Is there anybody under contract through 2011 that the Eagles would be better off without? Not in my opinion, mainly because nobody makes enough money to hurt the cap, so the better decision would be to allow the player in question to battle for a roster spot in training camp, where an evaluation does not have to be rushed. This does bring us to the issue of Kevin Kolb. As Jake Locker is disappointing at the Senior Bowl and Ryan Mallett’s stock is plummeting, teams will find themselves unsatisfied with the crop of rookie quarterbacks. Some believe that this limited supply will result in a team overpaying for Kevin Kolb. The Eagles will be looking for around 1,200 points on the trade value chart, which translates into the 12th overall selection or the combination of the 21st and 50th overall selections. Is trading Kolb that much of a no-brainer though? The more I think about it, the more I say no. Kevin Kolb can win us games. Not playoff games, but regular season game. Should Michael Vick go down for six or eight weeks in the middle of the regular season, the season would probably be lost if Mike Kafka were at the helm. However, Kolb could win the Eagles enough games to still get us to the playoffs. So, we must ask ourselves if an extra first round pick is actually worth it. Brandon Graham didn’t really allow the Eagles to get closer to their goals, so Kevin Kolb may be more valuable to this team than another developmental player. I would hang on to Kolb until draft day, and wait until the draft gets underway to entertain offers for him. The Eagles do not want to accept a first round pick only to realize that the elite corners, offensive tackles, and linebackers are off the board.
Now comes free agency. All the food young players will certainly be tempting, but the two Super Bowl teams should serve as a reminder that free agency is not the way to build a team. Tramon Williams and James Harrison were undrafted free agents that their teams found through great scouting. Their franchise quarterbacks were each steals in the draft, and almost all the stars in the Super Bowl have only played for one team in their pro careers. Clay Matthews, LaMarr Woodley, Rashard Mendenhall, Greg Jennings, Ike Taylor, Donald Driver, and Casey Hampton all made their pro debuts for the team they are currently playing for now. Free agency and trades are only for the players that don’t come around very often and can put you over the top. Asante Samuel was capable of taking the Eagle defense to new heights. Jason Peters was capable of anchoring the offensive line after the departures of William Thomas and Jon Runyan. The Eagles know that they need to hit on draft picks beyond the first round. DeSean Jackson, Trent Cole, LeSean McCoy, and Jamar Chaney are great examples of this. Despite this warning, it is perfectly fine to go after somebody who can change the makeup of your team. I just don’t like people who say that the Eagles should sign Logan Mankins at 12:01 a.m. and Nnamdi Asomugha at 12:02 a.m. and trade for Albert Haynesworth at 12:03 a.m. The Redskins teach us that championships are not won that way.
So, who should the Eagles target? This question has many layers to it, and before the Eagles set their sights on any one player, they need to identify areas on their roster where another role player must be added or an upgrade must be found. Scanning the roster, I have compiled a list of potential problem spots for the Eagles moving forward and separated them into class A, B, and C needs. Class A needs must absolutely be adressed, because they are severe needs at the most critical positions. The four critical positions in football are, in order, quarterback, cornerback, wide receiver, and pass rushers. The Eagles have one class A need that could prevent them from winning a championship, and that gaping hole is at right corner. This is the only position that the Eagles should consider breaking the bank for, and coincidentally, Nnamdi Asomugha is available. I’ll get into that more later though. Class B needs are significant holes that will drag the team down, but ones that a team can win with. Replacement options should be seriously considered, but the team will survive if they cannot find anybody they like at the right price. The Eagles’ class B needs are at WILL linebacker, center, and the right side of the offensive line. Finally, class C needs exist where a new role player is needed to bolster the team’s overall depth. To fill class C needs, a team should use their mid or late round draft picks and low-profile free agent signings. The Eagles have plenty of class C needs including a third running back, two more rotational defensive linemen, and another tight end. Here’s a more formal classification of our needs:
Class A: Right cornerback
Class B: Right tackle, center, WILL linebacker, right guard
Class C: Rotational DE, 3rd RB, 2nd TE, special teams S, rotational DT, 5th WR