Free agency update: Eagles like Ward and Revis?

Free agency update: Eagles like Ward and Revis?
March 11, 2014, 9:30 am
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The first 36 hours of the NFL’s three-day tampering window breezed by rather quietly for the Eagles.

We learned of their scant interest in playmaking safety Jairus Byrd (see story) and distaste for the high price tag on defensive end Lamarr Houston (see story).

We learned of their inquiries into economical secondary options, such as safety Mike Mitchell and cornerbacks Corey Graham and Nolan Carroll.

On Tuesday morning, with the 4 p.m. start of free agency and the new league year looming, the noise around the Eagles reached a much higher decibel level.

According to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Eagles are one of two teams to watch when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut ties with Darrelle Revis. On Monday night, Schefter had reported that Tampa would cut the All Pro cornerback by Wednesday if it couldn’t find a trade partner (see story).

Schefter reported that the Patriots are the other team likely to pursue Revis, the five-time Pro Bowler who went to the same college (University of Pittsburgh) as Eagles running back LeSean McCoy.

The Eagles have Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Brandon Boykin under contract, so their flirtations with Graham and  Carroll, two mid-level corners, were already eyebrow-raising, unless the team discussed the option of playing them at safety.

As for safeties, the Eagles either are or aren’t among the suitors for Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward, according to conflicting reports. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported that the Eagles and Lions are showing strong interest in Ward, who played his first four seasons in Cleveland. He cited no sources.

Adam Caplan of ESPN.com refuted La Canfora’s report. Caplan reported, citing a source, that Ward’s agent hasn’t heard from the Eagles and explained that Ward isn’t considered the right fit for the Eagles’ scheme.

For the record, CSNPhilly.com also can’t confirm any interest by the Eagles in Ward, who is considered the second-best safety on the market behind Byrd, not as dangerous in the open field as Byrd but very strong against the run.

Even though he’s not in Byrd’s realm, Ward would be an upgrade for the Eagles, who will have just one safety on the roster (second-year pro Earl Wolff) if they release Patrick Chung. Three other safeties -- Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson -- will all become free agents at 4 p.m.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has talked all offseason about modest free-agent spending, but the chance to reel in the game’s top corner doesn’t come around very often (see story).

Well, it happened three years ago, when the Eagles dropped $60 million on Nnamdi Asomugha, but Asomugha was 30, had spent eight years in Oakland and came to the Eagles with his skills in steep decline.

Revis is 28 and comes off a Pro Bowl season despite missing almost all of 2012 with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The Bucs owe him $16 million per year -- none of it guaranteed -- until 2018 and just hired a defensive-minded coach who prefers a Cover 2 scheme that doesn’t warrant Revis’ elite man coverage skills for the hefty price tag.