Now It is Time for the Eagles to Look to the Free Agency Market
The off-season has now officially begun. The AFC-NFC Pro Bowl is now behind us, and the trading and free agency seasons are now in full bloom. For the Eagles, it is the start of a new era for the team. Not only is it a new staff in place, but the stadium and training facility matters are now clearing up and could be part of the offer to potential signees for the Eagles. So where will they start?
This year's free agent crop is thin. Of the big names available in the market, many of those have had a franchise tag placed on them. The Eagles biggest concerns look to be at three positions: wide receiver, offensive guard, and strong safety.
Tom Modrak and Andy Reid are looking at players from their old stomping grounds. At wide receiver, the Eagles are showing interest in Steelers Charlie Johnson. Modrak knows him well, as he was intrumental in the Steelers drafting him. He is scheduled to meet with the Eagles during the week after Valentine's Day. Another wide receiver scheduled for a visit played his college ball at Temple, Leslie Sheppard. He will be in for a visit around the same time as Johnson. With the retirement of Fryar, the Browns' draft selection of Freddie Soloman, and the possible release of Jeff Graham, the Eagles will work hard at getting one of these receivers, if not both.
On the offensive line, the Eagles will have a visit from one player from Andy Reid's old team, the Green Bay Packers right guard, Adam Timmerman. Timmerman is a four-year vet, who has played in every game since 1996. Another player of interest from Green Bay is quarterback Doug Pederson. He has been Brett Favre's backup for the past four years. If he is signed, he would be only a quick-fix, as the Eagles will probably draft a quarterback to develop.
On the defensive side, the Eagles are looking heavily into a replacement for Mike Zordich at strong safety. Leading the way at that position is the Steelers Lethon Flowers, Bengals Sam Shade, and Saints Chad Coda. Flowers looks to have the inside track for the Eagles interest. A lesser known defensive player from the Packers has expressed interest in coming to the Eagles, and why not. He grew up in the Philadelphia area and went to Ridley High School. He is defensive tackle Bob Kuberski. He shared time with Gilbert Brown. His strength is against the run, which the Eagles desperately need.
So as the free agency period kicks off, now will be the time to see the Eagles committment to improving a team that finished 3-13. Don't expect a fruitful of signings by the Eagles. They have stated they don't want quick-fixes, which is normally supplied by free agents. They want to build a team from the ground up with the draft. Do be surprised to see the Eagles try and trade some players for draft picks. One rumor has the Eagles possiblly trading linebacker William Thomas.
As the off-season is now in full gear, soon we will start seeing who wants to get the quick start on the 1999 season. For the Eagles, they hope to land a few, and hope they will be worth the investment.