Eagles lukewarm on Byrd, interested in Mitchell

Eagles lukewarm on Byrd, interested in Mitchell

March 9, 2014, 10:00 am
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The NFL’s three-day legal tampering period kicked off at noon Saturday, with teams permitted to contact agents and begin contract discussions with free agents.

Not surprisingly, the Eagles have made some phone calls to upgrade safety, their weakest and thinnest position.

The Eagles have shown interest in former Panthers safety Mike Mitchell, according to a league source. As for Jairus Byrd, the market’s top safety, a league source said the Eagles haven’t shown much interest “yet.”

Also, according to a league source, the Eagles are in talks to re-sign free agent punter Donnie Jones. Jones can't sign until March 11, like the other free agents.

The tampering window goes until 3:59 p.m. Tuesday. At 4 p.m. Tuesday, the official start of the new league year, teams can execute signings.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has cautioned fans about getting excited about some of the bigger names on the free-agent market. If Byrd, a three-time Pro Bowler, is seeking around $9 million annually, the Eagles aren’t likely to be in the running.

The Rams were among several teams to inquire about Byrd, according to an NFL.com report.

With so many holes at safety, the Eagles will probably go the economical route and sign at least two, making their interest in Mitchell more logical.

Mitchell, a former second-round pick of the Raiders who didn’t pan out in Oakland, had four sacks and four interceptions last year in Carolina’s second-ranked scoring defense, playing under former Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.

But the Eagles won’t land Mitchell, 26, without outbidding other suitors for the five-year veteran. Among teams who have reportedly called about Mitchell are the Redskins, Bears, Broncos and Falcons.

The Panthers are also prioritizing re-signing Mitchell, according to a report from Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.