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Free Agency Round-up: Eagles Extend Cole

Mar 14, 2012, 1:30 PM EDT

Checking in on the Eagles and around the league after the first 22 hours or so of free agency.

Nearly 24 hours have passed since free agency opened in the NFL, and while there has been a flurry of activity on the marketplace, so far the Eagles have been content to order in. Yesterday, it was Todd Herremans. Today, it was Trent Cole.

The Eagles and Cole agreed to a four-year extension on Wednesday, putting him in midnight green through 2017. Reports are the deal could pay Cole $53 million in new money, with $15 million in guarantees.

Entering his eighth season in the NFL, Cole will turn 30 this season, which makes the extension something of a surprise. In that respect, obviously the organizaion feels there is plenty of tread left on the tires though. Cole recorded double-digit sacks in 2011 for the fourth time in five seasons.

Cole’s agent was probably lobbying for a new deal behind the scenes as well. His previous contract was set to run out in 2013, and there was no guaranteed money for the final year. Cole was also underpaid, scheduled to earn $6.3 million total in base salary over the next two seasons.

It’s another sign the Eagles don’t intend to get too aggressive in free agency, with the focus being placed on continuity instead.

- On that note, I heard a rumor the Eagles could be an 11th hour suitor for defensive end Mario Williams. This, of course, is utterly insane. Even if they had the cap space (they don’t), Jason Babin had 18 sacks last season, and now they’ve locked in Cole. The coaches also need to give Brandon Graham a chance to play so they can make some determination about his future.

- Antonio Dixon signed his one-year restricted tender for $1.9 million.
At that price, the Eagles obviously wanted him back. Another team would
have needed to give up a second round pick to sign Dixon away.

- Breaking update #1: the Eagles have released Jamaal Jackson. Jackson was the longest tenured player on the team, but after suffering consecutive season-ending injuries, Jason Kelce beat him out at center during camp last season.

- By the way, the Eagles freed up about $4 million in the Winston Justice trade, so while they didn’t get much in the way of a return, it did give them some much needed breathing room financially. They’ve shed $6 million in backup offensive linemen alone.

- Speaking of linemen, Carl Nicks accepted a huge offer to join the Tampa Bay Bucs, taking the top guard out of play. The Eagles weren’t expected to be in the hunt, but these eye-popping numbers could have an impact on effort to re-sign Evan Mathis: five years, $47.5 million, $31 guaranteed. However, it does further weaken one of the NFC’s elites, the New Orleans Saints.

- One of our free agent targets, Jason Campbell, signed a one-year deal to backup Jay Cutler in Chicago. He was probably out of their price range, but for now anyway, the Eagles still appear content to roll with Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards.

- Breaking update #2: Kyle Orton signs with Dallas, will backup The Snake.

- Have to applaud the Redskins for going out and making the best of a bad situation. Unable to pursue Vincent Jackson due to that enormous cap penalty — he signed in Tampa for five years, $55 million BTW — Washington went out and beefed up their receiving corps by adding Todd Pinkston and James Thrash, and are close to signing Torrance Small. Oh, wait… that’s Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, with Eddie Royal possibly joining them. Good luck with that.