According to Eaglescap.com, the Philadelphia Eagles are
currently an estimated $33 million under the salary cap for 2013. Whether
Nnamdi Asomugha renegotiates his contract or gets his release, that figure
could grow to upwards of $40 million before free agency opens. There aren’t
exactly many players on the roster right now whose performances beg for a
contract extension, either.
All of which means the Birds’ front office will have plenty
of money to work with when the opening bell sounds for the marketplace on March
12. The question is: how do they spend it?
Yesterday we considered the pitfalls of free agency. Just
because the Eagles have $40 million burning a hole in Jeffrey Lurie’s pockets
doesn’t mean they should spend all or even most of it. For one thing, you want
the team to operate on some sort of budget so they can spend in future years,
or extend their own players when deemed worthy. But more to the point is this:
What type of players manage to
become unrestricted free agents without a contract extension or getting slapped
with the franchise tag in the first place? Besides the broken, under-utilized,
or plain ol’ bad: aging players, players who excelled in a certain scheme, and
very-good-to-elite players who a) also fit one of the first two descriptions,
or b) are asking for way too much money.
In short, free agency is probably a bad place to drop $40
million. This year, it might even be a bad place to use $20 million – even
though the Eagles could do just that.
Unrestricted free agency isn’t exactly teeming with great
players this offseason, particularly ones that would fill glaring holes. Baltimore's Paul Kruger could be the dynamic edge rusher the defense appears to be lacking, but might command top dollar despite a relatively small sample size of production. San Francisco passed up on using the franchise tag on Dashon Goldson, the consensus top safety on the market. The front office was rumored to be interested in cornerback Sean Smith from the Dolphins, although perhaps only as leverage against Asomugha.
Regardless, nobody wants to see another team-building effort via shopping
spree – especially when the draft is thought to be deep at several positions of
need – yet spend the Eagles likely will. Whether they target one or
two high-priced names, or go after a supporting cast, the organization is going
be active next week.