With NFL teams stuck in a state of limbo thanks to the lingering lockout, we are taking a tour around the league and looking at where teams stand as they await the opening of the 2011 league year. Today, we offer our take on where the Eagles stand.
Top three story lines
1. Everyone wants to know: Where will Kevin Kolb end up? PFW first reported that the Eagles and Cardinals had a trade in place for Kolb during the draft had the lockout been lifted, and Arizona is the team most likely to deal for him down the line. It's doubtful the Eagles would get much in the way of immediate help in return, perhaps preferring to receive 2012 draft bounty, but it would change the Philly QB totem pole a bit. Sources have told PFW this offseason that the Eagles likely would pursue a veteran to back up Michael Vick, with Mike Kafka remaining the No. 3 QB for now. There's also the matter of signing Vick long term.
2. Another contract issue that likely will be dealt with is that of WR DeSean Jackson. There has been some tension, at times, between the two sides on the matter. But all indications are that the Eagles want to secure him long term. Agent Drew Rosenhaus likely will make the first move, asking the Eagles to make a new offer on a long-term contract, but a shortened offseason could hurt the process somewhat. Head coach Andy Reid likes to get involved with these matters personally.
3. The Eagles have said they have a "good, aggressive plan" for free agency, and it could include a run at CB Nnamdi Asomugha, the unquestioned top free agent in this year's market. Although the idea of paying big money to two corners, Asomugha and Asante Samuel, doesn't sound like the best idea financially with some form of salary cap likely to return to the NFL, it could be a big boon to first-year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, who is said to want to add more pressure with his defense.
2011 free agency — whenever that happens
Unsigned players: DE Victor Abiamiri (4), PK David Akers (12, transitioned), LB Stewart Bradley (4), RB Eldra Buckley (2), OG-C Nick Cole (5), MLB Omar Gaither (5), CB Antoine Harris (4), RB Jerome Harrison (5), CB Ellis Hobbs (6), OG Max Jean-Gilles (5), OLB Akeem Jordan (4), DE Bobby McCray (7), S Quintin Mikell (8), CB Dimitri Patterson (5), P Sav Rocca (4), OLB Ernie Sims (5), QB Michael Vick (9, franchised), OG Reggie Wells (8). [Editor's note: The number after a players' name is his years of service in the league. If the NFL decides to go with free agency under the same rules as used in 2010, then a player would become a restricted free agent after three years and an unrestricted free agent after six years.]
Analysis: Vick, who received the exclusive franchise tag before the lockout, likely would receive a new contract offer right around any Kolb deal. He also could sign the tender offer, which would give him a one-year salary north of $17 million next season, as the two sides work on an extension. Among the names to keep in mind for the Eagles in case Kolb is traded are Patrick Ramsey and Brian St. Pierre. With the drafting of Alex Henery, it appears the Eagles — who placed the franchise tag on Akers back in February — will rescind the offer and let the veteran walk. The Eagles also have some decisions to make at linebacker, where Bradley is likely to return but could move from the inside to either the "Sam" or "Will" positions. Some rumors have the Eagles interested in signing WR Plaxico Burress, whom Vick has signed off on. As the Vick situation showed, taking a risk on an imprisoned player could reap huge benefits in time. Expect the team to move swiftly on some player movement as soon as the lockout is lifted and normal business ensues.
2011 rookie class
First-round OG Danny Watkins (No. 23 overall) — The Eagles are penciling the mature, hardworking, overaged Watkins in as the starting right guard right away.
Second-round S Jaiquawn Jarrett (No. 54 overall) — The drafting of Jarrett, a hard-hitting box safety, could lead to Quintin Mikell being let go.
Third-round CB Curtis Marsh (No. 90 overall) — Developmental project at corner could make biggest immediate impact as a gunner.
Fourth-round LB Casey Matthews (No. 116 overall) — Not nearly the physical specimen his older brother is, Matthews nonetheless has all the family instincts and could make it as a special-teams beast and reserve linebacker.
Fourth-round PK Alex Henery (No. 120 overall) — Confident, strong-legged and poised kicker should replace Akers, and he can punt in a pinch, too.
Fifth-round RB Dion Lewis (No. 149 overall) — Cut in the mold of Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy, the even-shorter Lewis will try to carve out a third-down role.
Fifth-round OG Julian Vandervelde (No. 161 overall) — Figures to get a crack at reserve OG spot with OL changes brewing.
Sixth-round C Jason Kelce (No. 191 overall) — Like Vandervelde, Kelce won't start anytime soon, but he could be a center worth grooming.
Sixth-round LB Brian Rolle (No. 193 overall) — Looks the part of a special-teams fixture who could work into the WLB mix on defense.
Seventh-round LB Greg Lloyd (No. 237 overall) — Nowhere near the player his father was, Lloyd nonetheless packs a punch and could surprise if he's healthy.
Seventh-round Stanley Havili (No. 240 overall) — West Coast fullback with receiving skills who must show he's tough enough and durable enough to make the roster.
Lockout fallout: How impacted will the Eagles be by the work stoppage?
On scale from 1 to 10 (with 10 being the most significantly impacted), the Eagles rate a 5. The offense should be able to pick things up again quickly, although the O-line — which will have at least one new starter, probably more — hasn't has had time to absorb the wisdom of new OL coach Howard Mudd and jell together. There's a bigger concern with new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, who has not coached that side of the ball in more than a decade (and never on the NFL level), and some expected personnel changes to go along with his promotion. The Kevin Kolb situation won't have a drastic effect, but the Eagles could be aggressive in free agency and see a lot of roster turnover in the first few weeks of the new league year. Andy Reid runs a tight ship, and most things in Philly will go smoother than on other teams, but changes are afoot.