It is a busy time of year in the sports world these days, with the NCAA Tournament, the regular season's winding down in both the NHL and the NBA, the start of the Major League Baseball season right around the corner, and the recent blitz of free agent signings in the NFL. Since I have touched on almost all of these topics in recent weeks, I figure I might as well talk about the moves, or lack of moves, the Eagles have made since free agency began.
Granted free agency didn't start exactly the way management had hoped when LeCharles Bentley snubbed the Eagles to sign with his hometown Cleveland Browns. Not only was that a huge disappointment to the team, but to the fans as well. The fans were hoping the team would make a huge splash in free agency after the debacle that was last season. So far that has not been the case.
Who has the team signed? Jeff Garcia to back up Donovan McNabb. I am actually a fan of this move and if the team had done it last season maybe we wouldn't have had to sit through watching Mike McMahon and Koy Detmer pretend to play quarterback the last half of the year. Wouldn't that have been something, watching Garcia play on the same team as Terrell Owens, again? They also signed Darren Howard, a defensive end who spent the first four years of his career with the New Orleans Saints. Some say he is injury prone, but Howard claims his being placed on the injured list last season had more to do with his disagreements with upper management than with his health. Gee that sounds familiar.
The Birds also brought back outside linebacker Shawn Barber, a player they should never have let get away in the first place. Barber is fast, can cover the opposing tight ends, and was pretty good at stopping the run; something neither Dhani Jones nor Keith Adams seemed to adept at doing last season. After releasing T.O., finally, the team went out and signed Jabaar Gaffney from the Houston Texans. Gaffney has good size and does his best work inside the hash marks and out of the slot. He has decent speed, but has a problem with holding on to the ball and apparently isn't a big fan of contact. That reminds me of a certain "Alligator armed" receiver who missed all of last season... Todd Pinkston.
So those are all four of the moves the Eagles have made since free agency began, not much of splash, more of a drip I'd say. I said just a few weeks ago that the team needed to go out and sign Antwaan Randle El, Dwight Freeney, Ahman Green, and Julian Peterson. Three of those four players have signed on with other teams, and Randle El ended up with the Redskins.
There are some other players the team could bring in that would make an impact, such as LaVar Arrington, but that doesn't seem very likely, at least not at this point. Yes, there is plenty of time until training camp begins and there will be plenty of players that wind up getting cut that the team could bring in, so all hope is not lost. We still have the draft where the Birds draft at number 14.
The saddest part of all is that all of the teams in the division have improved. The Redskins have been spending like money is going out of style. Worst of all, we all have to sit and watch T.O. play for the stinkin' Cowboys! The Cowboys! That is going to be just great, watching one of the greatest wide receivers in the history of the NFL run rampant on Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown. Oh how I can't wait to see Brian Dawkins drop him like a bad habit when he runs his first route against the Eagles.
If you have any comments or opinions about this column, email Nick Browne at email@example.com