Just as a relatively quiet weekend was coming to a close, NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger decided to drop a ‘Baldy bomb’ on Sunday, hinting that a big shockwave is about to engulf the City of Philadelphia.
Why should we pay attention? Well, Baldinger of course has ties to the Eagles. Not only did he spend his final year in the NFL with the Birds as a native of PA, but he also covered the team’s preseason games, as well as appearing frequently on 97.5 The Fanatic. Baldinger clearly has a firm feel of rumblings in the City and there’s one more aspect we haven’t touched on yet, but we’ll save that for later.
So, what could Baldy possibly be hinting at?
The Elephant in the room here is a blockbuster move for a defensive end. Depth at the position is unusually light for the Eagles, with Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett being supported by Josh Sweat and…Shareef Miller who played in 2 special teams snaps last year. Genard Avery could well factor into those plans and Casey Toohill was a seventh-round pick, but when you compare the group to 2017/18, where the EDGE4 role was filled by Chris Long and Michael Bennett, it’s easy to understand the worry from fans.
There have been murmurs of both Yannick Ngakoue and Jadeveon Clowney being linked with the Eagles, but at a stage where Derek Barnett’s fifth-year option was picked up, it makes far more sense to pick up a cheap veteran than trade the farm…but in terms of a long-term option, maybe the Eagles need this?
They didn’t spend pick 21 on an edge-rusher, but it wouldn’t have been shocking if they had. There are no guarantees at the position and BG isn’t getting any younger. The issue the Eagles face is one of salary cap constraints. We know the elite level of play both Ngakoue and Clowney bring to the table and the upside they possess.
Before even thinking of a contract, the Eagles would have to give up significant capital for Ngkaoue, while Clowney is a free agent. Both seem intent to out-earn the other, which doesn’t bode well for a team set to be over the cap by $50M next year.
Could Howie find a way to magically bring in one of these stars on a backloaded deal? It’s possible. Interest has been there from the start, but it’s been from afar – hesitant at best, waiting to see if the right dominos fall. Ha the chain reaction started?
The shifty trade
There is always the plausibility of a trade nobody saw coming. We heard rumblings this week that 49ers RB Raheem Mostert is seeking a trade. The Eagles are yet to replace Jordan Howard so this could well be an avenue they’re exploring.
Let’s also not forget the links to Patriots guard Joe Thuney – who is playing under the franchise tag this year and would be the perfect bandaid for Brandon Brooks if Matt Pryor isn’t quite ready. The other thing to bear in mind, on that note, is that Baldy is currently posting from the ‘OL Masterminds’ camp, where both Lane Johnson and Matt Pryor are currently working. Is it really that hard to imagine one of them letting something slip to the former lineman?
There could also be a trade straight out of left field. We know the Eagles have been very active in the trade market this offseason, just not aggressive. Perhaps there’s a ‘Genard Avery’ type trade where the Eagles snag a player that none of us saw coming.
The cheap and cheerful
Then, there’s the list of potential free agents. From former Eagles like Vinny Curry and Nigel Bradham, to players such as 31-year old Everson Griffen, who still racked up 8 sacks and a Pro Bowl appearance last year, there are certainly some names out there who would interest this team.
Let’s also not forget that LeSean McCoy has been linked with the team (as he is every offseason), while it’s been perceived as almost inevitable that Jason Peters will return to the team and could even slide in at right guard if needed. These two signings arguably seem the most likely, if not the most underwhelming given the hype portrayed in Baldy’s tweet.
Who do you think the Eagles will sign? Is this all just smoke and mirrors?
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports