Should They, Will They? Peyton Manning and the Eagles

Should They, Will They? Peyton Manning and the Eagles

You've no doubt heard the rumbling out of Indianapolis. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning is currently locked in a staring contest with the Colts over a $28 million bonus due on March 8.

Manning, of course, has not played football in over a year, and various reports indicate he is not fully recovered from multiple neck surgeries, the most recent of which he underwent in September. Meanwhile, the team owns the first pick in April's draft, and they are expected to choose quarterback and "can't-miss" prospect Andrew Luck.

It's widely assumed the front office will not pay, and Manning will wind up a free agent in the next few weeks. There are already whispers as to where he could wind up, and there is even a murmur in Philadelphia. Should the Eagles pursue a Super Bowl-winning signal caller if he becomes available?

Colts owner Jim Irsay officially dropped the gauntlet on Tuesday, telling Mike Chappell of the Indianpolis Star he wants Peyton "to make the choice" to stay. In other words, Manning can remain with the organization that drafted him in 1998, as long as he is willing to renegotiate his contract.

In certain circumstances, that option might make sense, but Manning is better off testing the market at this point.

The Colts are in the midst of a complete rebuild, so most of the players, coaches, and executives Manning worked with are either gone or on the way out. It does not appear the team can easily compete for a championship next season -- with or without Peyton -- and with his replacement due to arrive during the offseason, a low-ball offer seems likely.

Manning stands to make far more money, and perhaps find a better opportunity to win now, by negotiating with a bunch of desperate franchises that are clinging to the hope a veteran quarterback might put them over the top.

Believe it or not, some people think the Eagles should be among the teams who pursue the four-time league MVP -- provided he is healthy, of course.

The first problem with that idea is Michael Vick.

For better or worse, the Eagles are essentially married to Vick for at least one more season. Vick's entire $12.5 million salary is guaranteed in 2012, so it's not like cutting him is an option, and that dollar amount coupled with whatever Manning expects to earn is far too much to invest in one position, in case you were actually entertaining the ridiculous notion of keeping both of them.

That leaves a trade, but shipping Vick out is not likely to happen either. Even if they found a partner willing to take on his contract -- and this is actually the easy part given its favorable structure, with the bulk of the guarantees paid off by the end of 2012 -- the Eagles would be hard-pressed to find fair compensation for a 32-year-old quarterback coming off a subpar, injury-riddled season.

Even supposing the return on Vick is not as important as the upgrade at quarterback brings us to issue number two: you are operating on the assumption Manning is, in fact, an upgrade at all.

This would be dangerous thinking.

There remains a very real possibility Peyton Manning will never play football again. Sure, he says he will, and no doubt Peyton is determined to get back on the field, but doesn't this situation set off some red flags?

Manning is trying to come back from multiple neck surgeries. As recently as six months ago, he sought stem cell therapy in Europe. He is finally tossing the pigskin around, but several initial reports claim there is a distinct drop in his velocity, and he has trouble or is unable to throw deep or across his body.

Manning turns 36 in March, which puts him well out of his prime, as he attempts to regain physical abilities that made him great. Should he somehow manage to overcome all of the adversity, it's very hard to believe he could ever be the same player.

Is 75% of Peyton Manning capable of winning a Super Bowl, and still better than 90% of the NFL's starting quarterbacks? Maybe, maybe not, but what about 50% of Peyton Manning? 25%? There is no question he has the football IQ to outlast his talent to a certain extent, which may make him effective enough to lengthen his career.

Yet there are dozens of guys who have hung around after their abilities had already eroded, and never won a thing.

Vick, for all his flaws, at least has his physical gifts still largely intact. A tick or two have no doubt been shaved off that 40 time, but he can still sling the rock, can still turn the corner on would-be tacklers, and can still create big, explosive plays.

Honestly, there is no discussion for Peyton Manning in Philadelphia right now. There is no guarantee he ever plays again, no guarantee he makes the Eagles better even if he does, and that's without a proper debate about Mike Vick's value, trade and otherwise.

When Manning hits free agency in the next few weeks, and the Arizonas and Miamis and Washingtons go searching for lightning in a bottle, as those franchises are wont to do, the Eagles should sit back and let them fight over the scraps. Vick might not be perfect, may never lead Philadelphia to the promised land, but at least we know what we are getting.

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Manning-fied Eagles' logo via Dave's Art Locker. Check out Manning face logos for every team in the league.

Dorial Green-Beckham shows why Eagles traded for him against Colts

Dorial Green-Beckham shows why Eagles traded for him against Colts

INDIANAPOLIS — The first time they tried the fade, last week in Pittsburgh, Chase Daniel underthrew it, and Dorial Green-Beckham never had a chance.
 
The second time they tried the fade, in the first quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night, Green-Beckham got himself turned around on a perfect Sam Bradford pass and the ball sailed over his head.
 
The third time they tried it?
 
We all got our first glimpse of just what this 6-foot-5 kid is capable of.
 
Touchdown Eagles.
 
Green-Beckham, who the Titans gave up on two weeks ago after just one season, soared high over Colts cornerback Tay Glover-Wright near the sideline in the left side of the end zone and brought in a perfectly lobbed Bradford fade for his first touchdown in an Eagles uniform.
 
“It felt natural, me being a big target and having a height difference, going up and making plays like that,” Green-Beckham said.
 
“It is different for me because I know I’ve got to take advantage of those opportunities in the red zone and I feel like for me to go out there and do that, all my teammates see what I’m capable of doing, and that is all I came here to do.”
 
Eventually, the plan is to incorporate Green-Beckham more fully into the offense. But he hasn’t even been here two weeks, and the fade is an easy route to learn, an easy route to perfect and an easy route to build up chemistry with your quarterback.
 
At 6-5, Green-Beckham is the second-tallest receiver in Eagles history.
 
“Yeah, he is a big, physical receiver, the kind of the receiver that comes to mind when you think of fades in the red zone,” Bradford said.
 
“Any time that we can get him matched up, 1-on-1 in the backside, we want to take advantage of that. It’s huge for us. It just gives us another weapon, another play down there. Being able to trust him to go make a play, it is nice to have someone like that down in the red zone.”
 
Most encouraging was the improvement and adjustment DGB made during the game.
 
He got himself awkwardly turned around the wrong way on the first fade attempt in Indy and never had a chance.
 
That’s just a lack of familiarity with his quarterback, he said. Remember, DGB has only had one week of practice with Bradford, and this was their first preseason game together.
 
“Just not knowing where the ball will be placed at,” he said. “We came back and made it happen the second time. Just have to get used to the quarterback, know who is out there throwing balls, and just have to use those opportunities that are given.”
 
The combination of disappointing training camps and preseason performances from Nelson Agholor, Rueben Randle and Chris Givens combined with the promise Green-Beckham shows has changed the Eagles’ wide receiver outlook behind Jordan Matthews.
 
Green-Beckham in a matter of two weeks has gone from Tennessee Titan castoff to a potential major contributor for the Eagles.
 
He played only eight snaps Saturday night but caught two passes, one for a first down, the other for a touchdown.
 
“I still have to compete,” he said. “I can’t take any steps backwards. I still have to get into the playbook, study more and just use those opportunities that are given to me. With my receiving group having my back for everything and knowing that they will always be there for me.”
 
Remains to be seen just how much of a factor DGB can be once the regular season starts in two weeks.
 
He is still working just in the slot, where Josh Huff also lines up most of the time, and the coaches plan to gradually give him more and more outside receiver work, where the Eagles are really desperate for help.
 
Maybe this won't work out. There has to be a reason the Titans gave up on a promising 23-year-old second-round pick a year after they drafted him. 

But Green-Beckham could wind up being a steal. And all it cost the Eagles was Dennis Kelly.
 
“Just keep getting better each and every day,” he said. “Having that mindset of coming in early, getting extra film in, doing those little things right. … Just try to do better than I did the day before."

Stephen Tulloch gets feet wet, thinks Eagles could have top-ranked D

Stephen Tulloch gets feet wet, thinks Eagles could have top-ranked D

INDIANAPOLIS – Veteran Stephen Tulloch made his Eagles debut Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium … late in the second half.

Tulloch, 31, was just signed earlier in the week. And after years of being a starter in the NFL, Tulloch comes to Philadelphia as role player. 

When was the last time he played in the fourth quarter of a preseason game?

“Wow. Two thouuusaaandd,” he said, trying to think. “Six, maybe … seven. But I didn’t have any training camp here, so it’s good to be out here and just run around.”

On one of Tulloch’s first plays of the night he was called for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness, and didn’t appear on the stat sheet otherwise after playing 19 snaps. Still, he was happy just to be back on the field. 

After spending all of training camp on the street and missing the first two preseason games, this was his first real football action in a long time. And he didn’t feel much rust. 

“Not really, man,” he said. “Just get my feet back under me again. It’s just different. I haven’t played since Jan. 3, but to get out there and see the calls and get familiarized with everything.”

There isn’t too much with which to get familiarized since Tulloch is not just a veteran of the NFL but also Jim Schwartz’s defense. He played in it in Tennessee and then Detroit. In fact, it’s what made it possible for him to even see the field during Saturday’s 33-23 win. 

How did the defense look to him? 

“The same way it always looks when my man Schwartz puts it together,” he said. “It’s very simple. He’s going to work to the guys’ strengths and it’s always been a productive defense as long as I’ve been a part of it. He has the talent here, the talent on this team, to be able to execute the defense.”

Aside from the defense on the field, there was something else familiar about Saturday night. As a MIKE linebacker, he had the earpiece in his helmet, which means direct communication with Schwartz. 

“You know how Jim is, he’s going to make sure you know everything,” Tulloch said. “Not just give you the call, but tell you what to look out for. He’s a madman when it comes to that. He’s studying film, he knows to look for certain down and distances. It’s good to have him back in my ear again.”

In his six seasons under Schwartz, Tulloch was a piece in two top-10 defenses, so he’s seen this scheme work at a high level. 

Now that he’s been with the Eagles for a few days and has seen what they have to offer, he thinks this defense should be a very good one. 

“A lot of talent,” Tulloch said. “Like I said, that D-line is special. [Malcolm Jenkins] on the back end, [Rodney McLeod]. There’s a lot of good young talent here and this is perfect for this defense. Guys will fit very well here and this defense should be a top-ranked defense.”

Source: Jeremy Hellickson ineligible for late trade, here for remainder of ‘16

Source: Jeremy Hellickson ineligible for late trade, here for remainder of ‘16

NEW YORK – Jeremy Hellickson will be with the Phillies for the remainder of the season.
 
According to sources, the veteran right-hander was recently claimed on waivers. The Phillies were unable to work out a deal with the claiming team and Hellickson was pulled back, making him ineligible to be traded the remainder of the season.
 
Hellickson drew interest before the Aug. 1 trade deadline, but the Phillies did not receive an offer that they liked so they hung on to the pitcher. A player traded after Aug. 1 must first go through waivers.
 
Players traded in August must be on their new team’s roster by Sept. 1 — Thursday — to gain playoff eligibility. Players can still be traded in waiver deals after Sept. 1, but they would be ineligible for the playoffs.
 
Even though Hellickson, 29, can be a free agent at season’s end, Phillies officials did not view trading him as an imperative. The Phillies believe they can get good value for Hellickson with a compensatory pick in next June’s draft. But first the Phils must extend Hellickson a qualifying salary offer for 2017. That could be close to $17 million. Hellickson would have to turn the offer down and opt for the free-agent market for the Phils to get that pick.
 
Hellickson is 10-8 with a 3.80 ERA in 26 starts for the Phillies this season. He struggled against the Mets on Saturday night, but had a 2.60 ERA in his previous 11 starts. Chances seem good that he will find a multi-year deal on the free-agent market and reject the Phillies’ one-year qualifying offer, thus giving the team a draft pick between the first and second rounds.