In player contracts, a common item included are roster bonuses that are due annually around this time of year. To avoid paying these bonuses to players who are no longer productive, teams will cut players that they believe they can move on without. These are not regular unrestricted free agents because their contracts have been terminated earlier than expected, although there is really no difference between them and UFAs. Some of these players include Clinton Portis and Jeremy Shockey, and many should be of interest to the Eagles. Keep in mind that you will never find an all-star type of player out of this bunch, but overpaid veterans can come in and really help teams if they find the right role.
Nick Kaczur, OL, Patriots (31): Kaczur would have been slated to start in 2011 had the Patriots let Logan Mankins go. However, Mankins was franchised and Kaczur became a backup paid like a starter. He could be a solid addition who could start for the Eagles at right guard and provide depth at either tackle spot. Solid contributors on the offensive line are always welcome, especially when they are affordable.
Tommie Harris, DT, Bears (27): Tommie Harris was a budding star a few years ago, but has had two straight disappointing seasons and was benched towards the end of 2010. He certainly fits the new “attack mode” style the Eagles want their defensive linemen to adopt and Jim Washburn could turn him back into a star. At the very least, he’s a solid rotational player who has a very similar skill set to Brodrick Bunkley.
A.J. Hawk, OLB, Packers (27): A.J. Hawk is my favorite player on this list. He’s still young, he was a very high draft pick in 2006, and was released because he’s not nearly as good in the 3-4 as he is in a 4-3. Hawk could be a very good player in the Eagles’ scheme, but certainly was not worth his monster eight figure salary as a 3-4 inside linebacker. He’s a tackling machine that would be excellent next to Stewart Bradley and Jamar Chaney.
As a side note, a handful of players announced today that they would not be retained by their teams, and another handful look like they could very well be on their way out according to reports. Many would be of interest to the Eagles, including Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, Seahawks defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, and Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh.