The NFL’s so-called legal tampering period for free agents starts at noon on Monday, one second after the revised deadline for applying the franchise tag, which could produce a bit of drama if a team really wanted to milk the situation. The Eagles won’t be using their tag, but they are expected to be very busy legally tampering with Dallas free-agent-to-be corner Byron Jones, before the market officially opens next Wednesday.
Jones was sometimes linked to the Eagles before the Cowboys took him 27th overall in the first round in 2015, out of UConn. Then-Eagles coach Chip Kelly attended his pro day. But the Eagles, drafting 20th, took wideout Nelson Agholor from USC in the first round.
Is Jones, who turns 28 in September, worth the $17 million or so a year he is expected to command in free agency? Probably not. That’s the thing with top-echelon free agents, you don’t get bargains. But that doesn’t mean the Eagles shouldn’t sign him.
Jones shuttled back and forth between safety and corner in college and with the Cowboys. He has not been a good NFL safety. He has been a pretty solid NFL corner, especially in his Pro Bowl season of 2018, after Kris Richard joined the Dallas coaching staff. Jones isn’t a great ballhawk, with two career interceptions, but he is very adept at zone coverage, which the Eagles use a lot. And he has been healthy, playing 79 of a possible 80 games. Jones might be kind of a less star-crossed Ronald Darby, another corner drafted in 2015 (in the second round, by Buffalo).
The Eagles have a huge need at wideout and needs also on the defensive line and in the linebacking corps. If they sign Jones, they won’t be getting Stephon Gilmore, but they will be getting a good player who makes it possible for them to avoid devoting a high pick to the corner spot. There might be other corners available in free agency they could plug in and play, but Jones seems like more of a sure thing than any of those.
— Les Bowen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Eagles safety and player rep Malcolm Jenkins was selected for the NFLPA’s executive committee Tuesday.
Jenkins, 32, who did not respond to a request for comment, joins the union leadership at a pivotal time. The members are voting electronically on a 10-year collective bargaining agreement, which some top stars don’t think is a lucrative enough deal. The proposal seems more tailored to the rank-and-file, with voting extended until midnight Saturday.
Several Eagles have declined comment when asked what they think of the proposed CBA.
“Not really sure how to phrase it as a question but more of a subject for debate. After the 2017 SB win Eagles seemed to cling to their older veterans, sign stopgaps in attempt to try to win it again. Wouldn’t that have been perfect time to strip down, cutting older guys or trading those that still had value. Basically playing for a few years out when after just winning the SB the fans would be willing to buy any strategy that you laid out there”. — Greg Richards (@Igglesnut) via Twitter
In retrospect, Greg, that sounds great. But at the time, there was no reason to think the Eagles needed to do anything drastic to be top contenders in 2018. Which older players would you have jettisoned, with the confetti from the parade still sparkling in the gutters? I think there might have been quite a hue and cry.