The Eagles’ compressed offseason, which feels like the lightning round on some cheesy game show, does not quite compare to 2004. Not yet.
But it’s close.
That year, you will recall, they brought in Terrell Owens and Jevon Kearse, energizing the city and fueling a Super Bowl run. (That was, of course, before we discovered Kearse was shot. Also before T.O. started doing situps in his driveway.)
This year, it is quite clear, they are loading up to take another shot at it.
It won’t be easy. There are a lot of good teams in the NFC — Green Bay, New Orleans and Atlanta, just to name three. Nor are the Eagles without some glaring weaknesses, already noted here.
But it’s clear they belong in the conversation. It’s clear they are dramatically better than they were on Wednesday, having signed shutdown cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (a shocker), as well as defensive end Jason Babin, backup quarterback Vince Young, wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins and tight end Donald Lee.
All along Asomugha seemed ticketed for the Jets, or possibly the Cowboys. But the Eagles swooped in and signed him to a five-year, $60 million contract — good money, but not as good as he had been making in Oakland. As Sports Illustrated’s Peter King noted, Asomugha really wanted to play for the Eagles.
It potentially gives them three starting-quality corners, with Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, acquired in the Kevin Kolb trade Thursday. That would seem to be a luxury, and seem to indicate that Samuel will be traded. But they do play a lot of nickel, and King’s sources said it‘s not a certainty that the Birds will deal Samuel.
If he sticks around, consider the numbers the Inquirer’s Sheil Kapadia culled from the Web site footballoutsiders.com: Asomugha was targeted just 31 times in 14 games last year, while Samuel was targeted just 36 times in 11 games. In other words, where is an opposing quarterback to turn?
As for Friday’s other acquisitions, the Eagles certainly hope they can make Young a more efficient quarterback, as they did Michael Vick. Babin, working under the same position coach (Jim Washburn) he did last season in Tennessee, will try to duplicate his 12.5-sack, Pro Bowl year. Higgins represents a hedge against a long holdout by DeSean Jackson. And Lee is a competent backup.
In other matters: CSNPhilly reports that the Eagles have grown weary of Eric Metz, one of the agents for first-round draft pick Danny Watkins, a guard from Baylor. The team believes its offer of a four-year contract is a fair one for Watkins, who has said he wants to be in camp as soon as possible. Metz does not appear to agree.
And finally: Robert Huber profiles Vick in the latest issue of Philadelphia Magazine, and asks whether Vick is genuinely remorseful about his dogfighting. He concludes that the question is unanswerable, but he does have some interesting nuggets in the story, not the least of which is the fact that the NFL and the Eagles discouraged Vick from hosting a party at last year’s Super Bowl in Dallas.