Feb 26, 2009, 6:15 PM EDT
Update: Buck no longer an Eagle after (rumored) agreement with Denver.
At 12:01 a.m., the NFL's annual shake-up of aging veterans and overrated system players will be officially underway, though if you've caught wind of those Hayneswoth to Washington rumors, you might think it already began.
The Eagles prepped for the event by tendering contracts to restricted free agents Hank Baskett and Nick Cole. Unless there is a team out there willing to give up a second round pick for either player, both will be back next season as expected. Unfortunately, the Eagles have failed to lock up two veterans thought to be very important heading into next season.
Both Dawkins and Thomas have yet to reach deals with the club mere hours before they can shop their services around the league. In Dawk's case, it's hard to imagine him playing elsewhere, so it's still more than likely they'll come to terms. Thomas, on the other hand, seems optimistic about his chances in a free agent market featuring very few (none?) quality left tackles. It's very possible for some team to come along and offer Tra a deal the Eagles simply can't/won't match. Also of note, Sean Considine seems to be headed elsewhere.
It's not all sour grapes for the Birds as they figure to be shoppers as well. On the heels of Donovan's supposed demands, the front office should be taking a long look at T.J. Houshmandzadeh. He's not a big time playmaker, not even a #1 receiver, but maybe he's exactly the kind of safety net McNabb needs. Don't be surprised if he's on a plane to Philly tomorrow morning.
Another name that's gained a lot of attention in just the past couple of days is Ravens center Jason Brown. Brown can also play guard, so he could either take over for the lackluster Jamaal Jackson, or he could play somewhere inside if one of the guards moves out to tackle. Brown is thought to be one of the most sought after players hitting free agency, so the team will have to move fast if they're interested.
There are several others the Eagles could target. RB Derrick Ward is popular, but if the Eagles wanted an older runner, they probably would have made an effort with Buckhalter. Bengals RT Stacy Andrews could be a solution at right tackle, but his health is a concern. Seahawks FB Leonard Weaver would add another dimension to the offense, though he's not thought of as a prototypical blocking back. There are some enticing linebackers and safeties, however it's unclear if there are any great upgrades that also meet the team's needs.
In years past, teams like the Eagles would strike deals with free agents at 12:01 on the dot, but since that's kind of (extremely) shady, that practiced has wained somewhat the past few years, so don't expect a huge whirlwind of action tonight or even first thing in the morning, but it's resfreshing to see the offseason move into the next phase and out of fantasy-wishlist-land.
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