We wanted to find out what the Redskins' division rivals are up to in free agency so we went to some of our friends who cover the NFC East. The Eagles are first up and we got in touch with Jim Kempski, who covers the whole division on his Blogging the BEast site and the Eagles at Bleeding Green Nation. Here
*What is the Eagles’ current salary cap situation? Do you anticipate any cap casualties?
Eagles fans are blessed to have the resource known as eaglescap.com, which does an amazing job of keeping up with the Eagles salary cap situation. Eaglescap.com currently has the Eagles' estimated cap space estimated at $19,386,628. The NFL needs to clone this guy 31 times and dispense them to the other NFL teams.
The Eagles have a number of likely cap casualties:
- C Jamaal Jackson is done in Philly. Hes on the hook for $1.875M with no penalty if cut, and with Jason Kelce firmly entrenched as the Eagles' starting center, Jackson will be gone.
- Darryl Tapp is a nice player, and played well when he got his chances, but he probably won't be sticking around at $3.575M. The Eagles have two excellent starting DE's in Trent Cole and Jason Babin. 2010 1st round pick Brandon Graham and Phillip Hunt (a guy the Eagles really like) are behind them, and they always seem to add a pass rusher either in free agency or the draft.
- Winston Justice is on the hook for $4.256M. He's gone.
- Asante Samuel, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are all very talented corners that can play on the outside, but none of them are particularly good in the slot. One of them has to go. Samuel is 31 years old, he's going to make $10.5M in 2012, and his aggressive style of play doesn't jive quite the way it did when the Eagles blitzed a lot more than they do now, so he's the odd man out. The Eagles won't cut him though. There's little doubt they'll get some sort of compensation for him in a trade.
*What were the pros and cons of putting the franchise tag on DeSean Jackson? Was it a move that you would have made?
The tag for DeSean was a no-brainer, in my opinion. The Eagles weren't going to just let him walk for nothing. DeSean is an enigma. In 2011, he moped his way through the season, which was strange for a guy playing for a contract. He had just 58 catches, 961 yards, 4 TD's, and a boatload of drops, some of which were in critical moments. Compare those numbers to Jabar Gaffney (68-947-5). I don't want to sound like I'm taking a shot at Gaffney with that comment, but the expectations for those two players were vastly different. That's bad DeSean. Conversely, in 2009, he had TD distances of 85, 72, 71, 67, 64, 60, 57, 54, 48, 35, 19, 4, and 2. That's the DeSean that's as big a threat to score anytime he touches the football as anyone in the league. It's the DeSean that scares the daylights out of opposing defensive coordinators, who park their safeties 30 yards off the line of scrimmage. Good DeSean is such an intriguing football player, but Bad DeSean makes you think twice about giving him a lucrative long term deal.
*Who is the one free agent the Eagles can least afford to lose?
LG Evan Mathis, by default. The Eagles don't have many free agents to worry about this offseason. Mathis had a good season in 2011, and his style of play (quick, mobile type) is a great fit for Howard Mudd's blocking scheme. He didn't give up a sack all season. However, since he's more of a "scheme fit," I don't think he'll get much attention elsewhere, and I don't think he's extraordinarily irreplaceable either.
*Is there one who the fans would like to see hit the road?
Can I give more than one? Steve Smith, Vince Young, Ronnie Brown, Victor Abiamiri - Take your pick from those four. None of them will be remembered fondly in Philly.
*Is there a free agent on the Redskins’ roster who may be on the Eagles’ radar?
There's some guy that wears the number 59. I think he's been around for a while. Hasn't missed a game in 14 years. True leader. Tackle machine. If he doesn't make the Hall of Fame, they may as well just do away with it. He's getting long in the tooth, but seems to me like the kind of guy that would fit a glaring obvious need for a team that has a head coach perceived to be expected to make some noise in the playoffs in order to keep his job. I don't know if that guy is on the Eagles' radar, but he's certainly on mine.