Here’s what we’re talking about:
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[Note from Vince: This piece is a counter to my article from yesterday. Expect us to verbally duke it out in a podcast this week!]
Why did the Eagles release DeSean Jackson? He’s a locker room distraction. He’s cocky. He’s lazy. He’s a bad influence. He’s a gang member. Most important of all, he does not fit in with the Eagles culture.
What is the Eagles culture and what exactly about it does Jackson not suit? All of those tag lines about Jackson listed above that explain why he was released are rather ambiguous.
Here’s the concrete stuff.
He recorded 82 receptions, 1,332 yards, nine touchdowns and a 16.2 ypc average in 2013 as the team’s most utilized and targeted receiving option.
It is not entirely clear what culture the Eagles are looking to build, but the above facts about Jackson seem rather congruent with a winning one.
After weeks of back and forth, the Eagles released DeSean Jackson on Friday. Now, he’s a Washington Redskin.
The debate over Jackson’s departure has hinged on the simple and seemingly unanswerable question: Was this the right move?
In order to give a fair assessment of this decision you can’t look at the move as an isolated instance. Yes, the Eagles just released a 27-year-old Pro Bowl receiver coming off of a career season. Yes, they’ll need to add some depth. However, I don’t think the answer can be found by asking ‘how does this affect the team?’ It should be ‘what does this say about the organization?’
As a media member I often find it counter intuitive to critique those I like to consider my colleagues, or who in terms of stature, are more of my mentors but my aptitude to call it like I see it, is naturally setting in, as it has a time or two before. For the past two weeks or so, we have listened to the apparent DeSean Jackson trade rumors and today I got my complete fill of it.
The reporting of this story has been some of the laziest reporting I have seen in a long time. Yes, opinion has a role in sports reporting. However, this story seems all too perfect for the media to have done their due diligence.
Call me a conspiracy theorists if you like. Judging from some of the examples of journalism being displayed with this story, that is all it takes today anyway.
In what was a seemingly dull free agency period for the Eagles, they pulled off what will be a top-notch, low-risk acquisition in Darren Sproles.
Sproles will provide that versatile X factor that the Eagles failed to find in the likes of Demaris Johnson, Russell Sheppard, and Brad Smith (though I don’t mind Smith). He’ll play in the backfield, spread out wide, and contribute in the return game as well. It’s just a truly perfect fit.
So let’s dig into some of the numbers in order to figure out exactly how Sproles was used and the type of production to expect from him.
To the surprise of no onef, Sproles has been used significantly more as a receiver than an actual running back. How unbalanced was it? Just check out his numbers from his three years in New Orleans.
The weather is warm, the sun will stay out later, and football has returned to the world. Praise be to Allah!
As I mentioned the other day, the team looks really good prior to the start of the league year. The Eagles enter into free agency with an estimated cap room of roughly $29 million, which will be the 8th best in the league. This space gives the team the type of flexibility to do whatever they’d like and, consequently, the dreamers are dreaming.
What big move will the Eagles make?
The problem, however is that EVERYONE has a ton of cap space. The Eagles have $29 million dollars in cap room…and they’re 8th in the league. Last year, when the cap was $125 million compared to this years $133, the Browns had the most cap space in the league with $25 million. The eighth highest team had only $8.4 million.
There’s going to be a ton of money in the market. So, given the likelihood of sky-high prices for the top of the class, who should they be looking to spend on?
Awards have been handed out everywhere you look over the last few weeks in the world of entertainment. The Pro Bowl, The Grammys, The Olympics, The Oscars, The Dundees, and more. And given that we’re a pillar of the community it’s time for The Wooder Cooler to enter into the fray with our first annual presentation of The Gabbys! The Gabbys are intended to represent the most talked about stories from the past year in Philly sports and are made out of solid gold stolen from Fort Knox. It’s a truly special award for an extraordinary set of categories!
And now, what you haven’t been waiting for because you didn’t previously know it existed!
The Eagles did a lot of locking up their own players this offseason with the signings of Riley Cooper, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Peters and Jason Kelce. They’ve also departed with their third Jason in Avant, who’s release gave the Eagles over three million in cap room. So here’s what the Eagles are looking like in a few major areas going into free agency, which starts on March 11th.
- Mike Vick
- Nate Allen
- Kurt Coleman
- Colt Anderson
- Clifton Geathers
- Donnie Jones
The first thing that comes to my mind is that this list is fantastic for the Eagles because the primary target here is the punter. Sure, I’m a strong supporter of Vick returning as a backup, but until he tests the market there’s simply no chance that he signs a deal. For the rest of the group the problem is that while some of these guys could possibly be signed as reserve roles there’s really no upside.
For example, Colt Anderson isn’t turning into a starting caliber safety at this point in his career. The Eagles are better off signing youth and drafting replacements in the secondary to build up their special teams and overall depth. It’s the smartest route and most cost effective route. Speaking of which…
Coming on the heels of a 10 win season the Eagles are prescribing to the philosophy of not fixing what isn’t broken. The team illustrated that point yesterday by signing longstanding left tackle Jason Peters to a five year, $51 million contract extension.
The deal will almost certainly lock up the All-Pro tackle for the remainder of his career. Peters is coming off a stellar comeback season in which he recovered from a torn ACL.
Peters led an Eagles offensive line that became one of the most solid and consistent parts of their scoring attack.