If you're an Eagles fan, there's little doubt you were holding out at least some hope that Chip Kelly would sign either Jairus Byrd or T.J. Ward.
The team desperately needed a big-impact safety, so why not go after the best? After all, they can afford it.
Before either big-name safety was signed, the Eagles grabbed former Saints safety Malcom Jenkins to help fill the massive void. It won't be a instant cure for the sub-par group of safeties, but it's a great start.
Jenkins is the perfect type of player for Chip Kelly's scheme. He's as versatile as they come, considering he was drafted as a CB.
Jenkins himself admits he played his best when he was allowed to move around, and there's no doubt he'll be doing just that under Kelly.
Despite the great start to free agency, fans still held out hope that Jairus Byrd would come to Philadelphia, considering T.J. Ward had just been locked up by the Broncos. Unfortunately, he would sign with the Saints later that evening.
In the end though, was it really that unfortunate? Byrd signed a six-year contract worth a jaw-dropping $56 million. The Eagles could have infact aforded it, but Kelly was smart to not pull the trigger. It would have instantly killed their cap space and limited the amount of FA's they brought in, not to mention drastically affected how future contracts would be handled (Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Nick Foles, etc).
Instead, during the time Jairus Byrd was in limbo, Chip Kelly signed two special teams aces, FS Chris Maragos from Seattle and LB Bryan Braman from Houston. Both names will provide an instant upgrade to the Eagles weakest unit.
Would that be it for the Eagles? Would they be done in free agency?
Not even close.
I don't know Kelly's plans by any means, but I know he isn't done adding talent, as evidenced by the Darren Sproles trade.
No, it wasn't a "free agency acquisition", but it's a move that solidifed and possibly propelled the special teams unit into a Top 10 one.
Less than an hour later, Kelly once again showed his genius when he made another under-the-radar signing. Former Dolphins CB Nolan Carroll (6-foot-1, 201 lbs) will provide ample competition for Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher. His deal with the Eagles is worth $5.2M over 2 years, but is based mostly on incentives.
Every signing by Kelly in the last 72 hours, is a smart, and well thought out one. Every player fits perfectly into the scheme and will most likely make a huge impact from day one.
I wouldn't expect Kelly to be done in free agency just yet, as the Eagles could still grab an OLB, or possibly another safety.
"What does this mean for the draft?" you may be asking.. Well, it doesn't mean much. The Eagles could still go safety, linebacker, cornerback, or even wide receiver (supposedly will take best player on the board, no matter the position).
This offseason is no doubt set to be an exciting one for Eagles fans, and all NFL fans for that matter.
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