When it finally comes time to attack free agency, the Eagles will go at the NFL's shopping period from a variety of angles. There won't be just one free agent who gets the team's first call - there will be several getting calls from several members of the team's front office, said Eagles president Joe Banner. They've divided up a list of targets.

"We've really already split up assignments," Banner said Thursday after owners voted to approve a proposed new collective bargaining agreement. "We will begin engaging with multiple people right away."

Some deals may take a few days, some ideas may die out very quickly, and others might come together within hours, Banner said.

"None of this can take very long," Banner said, referring to the compressed schedule cramming together free agency, training camp, and preseason games as a result of the NFL's lockout. It's not clear exactly when teams will be able to begin signing free agents - it all hinges on if or how quickly players ratify the proposed labor deal.

Whenever a labor deal is approved by both sides, the NFL time line calls for an initial period when teams can re-sign their own free agents and sign draft picks. In that same window, they can discuss trades and talk to other teams' free agents but not complete any deals until another several days have passed.

"If we had our dream outcome, we know what that is," Banner said. "The reality is 31 other teams will compete to disrupt our plan, so we won't be just calling one person that we're focused on."

Added team owner Jeffrey Lurie, "We're in a good position to make quality moves that we think will really help the team. You never know how it's going to play out, but we're a team that's very optimistic of what we can accomplish soon."

Of course, neither Banner nor Lurie would talk about specific players, so we'll do that here with a look at potential targets who could help the Eagles.


If the Eagles don't acquire the Cardinals' Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie or any other cornerback in a trade involving quarterback Kevin Kolb, corner is at the top of the list of needs. And there are a number of quality free agents, probably the most at any position. The Eagles could make a splash and sign Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha - likely at a $17 million-a-season pop - but other options are more affordable.

Johnathan Joseph of the Bengals is the best of the lot, and would slip seamlessly into the Eagles defense. But Cincinnati has cap space to retain the 27-year-old. Antonio Cromartie has great size (6-foot-2, 210 pounds), but the N.Y. Jets aren't likely to let him walk either. The same goes for the Falcons' Brent Grimes, a Northeast High product, and the Chiefs' Brandon Carr. That leaves Pittsburgh's Ike Taylor and Washington's Carlos Rogers as the next best options, but both are in their 30s.

Defensive end

The Eagles under coach Andy Reid have always placed a high value on ends, having drafted four in the first three rounds since 2007.

The reason they need to address the position via free agency is because they haven't drafted very well. Former top pick Brandon Graham's knee woes make it all but certain the Eagles will fill a glaring hole at end. Minnesota's Ray Edwards and Carolina's Charles Johnson are at the top of the class and would likely be attractive to the Eagles because of their sack numbers and age (both are 26). Johnson is expected to stay in Charlotte, but the Vikings won't likely be able to afford Edwards' price tag.

Cliff Avril of the Lions and Mathias Kiwanuka of the Giants are also options should they reach free agency. Former Eagle Jason Babin has been linked here primarily because of his success last year in Tennessee under the direction of new Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn. He's 31, though, and wants to cash in.

Defensive tackle

Brandon Mebane of Seattle is probably the most attractive free agent defensive tackle. He's 26 and the kind of gap-plugger the Eagles covet, but new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo is supposedly looking for pass rushers inside. The Bears' Tommie Harris used to get after it, but his numbers have steadily declined.

Albert Haynesworth isn't a free agent, but many expect the Redskins to release the former all-pro, another of Washburn's success stories.


The Eagles' pursuit of a free-agent linebacker will depend solely upon whether they can or want to keep Stewart Bradley. If they choose to bid adieu to their middle linebacker or are outbid for the 27-year-old, Buffalo's Paul Posluszny, Tennessee's Stephen Tulloch, Tampa Bay's Barrett Ruud, or Jacksonville's Kirk Morrison could be in play. Posluszny could also play outside, which would allow sophomore Jamar Chaney to stay inside.


When Kolb goes, the Eagles will need a backup to Michael Vick. Second-year pro Mike Kafka needs another season with a clipboard, so it'll be to the scrap heap for the Eagles. Matt Hasselbeck would be a perfect fit. One problem: The Seattle quarterback wants to start. The same probably goes for Marc Bulger and Alex Smith, but they may not have a choice.

Vince Young is an intriguing alternative even though he isn't a free agent. He flamed out in Tennessee and might be willing to come here to learn under the two-headed stewardship of Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

Running back

The easiest way for the Eagles to address their backup tailback need is to keep free agent Jerome Harrison. That's easier said than done. Harrison intimated at the end of last season that he wants an opportunity to start. He won't get that chance with LeSean McCoy ahead of him, so he may leave.

Darren Sproles of the Chargers would appear to be a match for the Eagles offense. He can run and catch and has never been the featured back. Ronnie Brown did a lot of the Wildcat in Miami and would give Reid a toy in that formation. Cadillac Williams may be willing to play backup after losing his starting spot in Tampa Bay.


The Eagles have zagged when everyone else thought they would zig, so there's always the chance they could hit free agency for positions at which they seem to be set - offensive line, safety, and wide receiver.

The diagnosis on Winston Justice's knee could spur the Eagles to sign a tackle, just as Nate Allen's ruptured patellar tendon could lead to a safety acquisition. The Eagles are stocked at wide receiver, but every armchair general manager has Plaxico Burress in midnight green.

We shall see.