Tra Thomas said he doesn't believe the Eagles want him back, and there is reason to believe he is correct.
"They haven't shown any interest in bringing me back, so as hard as it is, I have to move forward," Thomas said via a text message yesterday after returning from a visit with the Jacksonville Jaguars. "The Eagles have always been the team I wanted to play for, but now I have to go to the team that wants me."
A source with knowledge of the situation said the Eagles' offer to Thomas before the start of free agency was "way too low."
Eagles president Joe Banner declined to comment.
The Eagles, meanwhile, brought in veteran cornerback Shawn Springs for a visit last night. Springs, 33, was released by the Redskins on Saturday as part of a salary-cap purge. Two team sources indicated the Eagles weren't in any hurry to sign Springs.
If Thomas' assessment of the Eagles' interest proves correct, the team will have a new left tackle at the start of the 2009 season. The last time Thomas wasn't the Eagles' primary left tackle was 1997 when Jermane Mayberry was the starter.
Before Thomas joined the team as a No. 1 pick in 1998, the Eagles had five different left tackles in six seasons, so replacing him is every bit as important as replacing the leadership of recently departed safety Brian Dawkins.
Current offensive linemen Todd Herremans, King Dunlap and Shawn Andrews are candidates to replace Thomas, but it's just as likely the team will draft or trade for a new left tackle.
One trade possibility might be Jason Peters, the Buffalo Bills' left tackle who sat out training camp last year in a contract dispute. Peters has two years remaining on his current deal and is scheduled to make $3.8 million in 2009 and $3.4 million in 2010. The Bills, according to the Buffalo News, discussed Peters' contract with him recently.
As for Thomas, he said he returned to his South Jersey home yesterday because one of his three sons is going to celebrate his birthday today. While there were some reports Monday that his visit with the Jaguars went well, a source with knowledge of the negotiations described the two sides as being "far apart on the numbers."
It's unknown if Thomas has any more visits scheduled right now.
Springs is only the second free agent to visit the Eagles since the market opened Friday, but he's a few years beyond creating any needle movement on the excitement meter. He missed seven games last season with a strained calf.
The Eagles traded cornerback Lito Sheppard to the New York Jets over the weekend, but they still have four cornerbacks on the roster, all of whom are expected to play a role next season. Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown are the starters with Joselio Hanson likely to be the third cornerback. Jack Ikegwuonu, a fourth-round pick who sat out his rookie season while recovering from knee surgery, is also expected to have a role next season.
At 6-foot and 207 pounds, Springs does have the size to play safety, a roster spot in which the Eagles are currently shorthanded. With Dawkins and Sean Considine departing via free agency, Quintin Mikell and Quintin Demps are the only remaining safeties on the roster.
Smith visits Lions. The Sporting News reported yesterday that tight end L.J. Smith has a visit scheduled with the Detroit Lions. Smith visited with the Atlanta Falcons over the weekend. The Eagles have made it clear they have no interest in re-signing the tight end.