Offseason Overview: Can the Eagles Fly High in the Tough NFC East?

Brian Westbrook

FRANCHISE PLAYER

• TE L.J. Smith (tendered at $4.522 million); re-signed April 2.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

• RB/KR Reno Mahe wasn’t signed until just before the season when Eagles found themselves without a punt returner. If he’s still the team’s punt returner in September, they’re in trouble. Won’t be re-signed.

• DT Kimo von Oelhoffen was claimed off the waiver wire last September. Got a lot of playing time down the stretch as a run-stuffer and played well. If he doesn’t retire, Eagles might be interested in re-signing him.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

• LB Rocky Boiman: UFA Colts; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• RB Lorenzo Booker (trade Dolphins).

• DE Chris Clemons: UFA Raiders; $13.585M/5 yrs, $4M SB; 2008 cap: $1.5M.

• FB Dan Klecko: UFA Colts; terms unknown.

• CB Asante Samuel: UFA Patriots; $59.475M/6 yrs, $6M SB/$7M RB 08-09; 2008 cap: $9.145M.

• TE Kris Wilson: UFA Chiefs; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

• CB Joselio Hanson: RFA; $1.47M/1 yr.

• S J.R. Reed: Potential RFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

• TE L.J. Smith: Franchise FA; $4.522 million/1 yr.

PLAYERS LOST

• CB Will James: UFA Bills; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

• DE Jevon Kearse (released).

• DT Ian Scott: UFA Panthers; terms unknown.

• LB Takeo Spikes (released/failed physical).

• FB Thomas Tapeh: UFA Vikings; $6M/5 yrs, $1.2M guaranteed.

The Eagles were playoff and Super Bowl contender just about every year, but then injuries and some poor decision making finally caught up to them, leading them last season to an 8-8 record, missing the postseason again. This season the Eagles made the biggest free agent splash on the first day, signing corner back Asante Samuel away from New England. They also had a solid draft with 10 picks, using their two second round picks on DE Trevor Laws from Notre Dame and WR DeSean Jackson from Cal. One of the biggest questions remains on keeping Donovan McNabb healthy, as he goes, the team seems to go.

The team also looked to upgrade the D-line, bringing in Chris Clemons from the Raiders for $13.5 million for five years. They allowed 18.8 points per game in 2007, and know that in order to challenge the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins they are going to have to play better defense and put more pressure on starting QB’s. On offense, they were victims of one of the worst red-zone offenses we’ve seen in some time. Having a healthy TE in L.J. Smith back is going to help, but it’s still one area to be concerned about. The Eagles feel that they still have the talent and tools to get it done. The health and play of McNabb will be a key factor in just how far this team can go.

Offseason grade to date: C


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