Because the Eagles' 2011 season was such an excruciating disappointment, the rare really positive developments probably didn't get enough attention.

One of the big pluses that emerged was the play of longtime left guard Todd Herremans, after Herremans made an emergency move to right tackle in training camp. (Who remembers that Ryan Harris was the original right tackle plan at Lehigh -- Show of hands?) By the end of the season, it was apparent Herremans would be the right tackle going forward, probably for several years. The Eagles made that official today by signing their 2005 fourth-round draft pick to a contract extension through 2016, that will pay him about $21 million, according to Sirius XM Radio's Adam Caplan, about $11 million guaranteed.

This isn't the news that Eagles' fans, with visions of Mario Williams or Peyton Manning dancing in their heads, necessarily hungered for, but it's a good and necessary development. Tackles get paid more than guards. Herremans, whose last deal was for eight years (gulp!) and $17 million, signed in 2006, was due for a raise. (Different agent now than the guy who agreed to the "Joe Banner special" in 2006. Go figure.)

Free agency officially starts at 4 p.m., and I might be wrong, but I expect the news from NovaCare to be more of the same. News of deals with Evan Mathis and Derek Landri would be welcome. ESPN 97.5's Tim McManus says DeSean Jackson might sign the franchise tender today. Yes, the Eagles could use a free agent linebacker, maybe a couple, but they won't get to the Super Bowl throwing free agency Hail Marys. They need to take care of their business, add a solid cog here or there. Peyton Manning isn't coming. Mario Williams? A rare chance to add a young difference-maker, but I can't see the cap room, and I wouldn't risk not being able to get needed help elsewhere, or re-sign Shady McCoy, for instance.

People seem to have the idea that if Andy Reid is really "on the clock" this season, he should do something panicky and desperate to prove it. (Yes, I include you, normally rational, sane, much-smarter-than-me-colleague Rich Hofmann!) I don't wanna sound like Dave Spadaro here, but I'm not convinced the 8-8 Eagles need a complete overhaul to be as good a team going forward as the Super Bowl champion, 9-7 Giants.

The Eagles need to spend the next several months showing Michael Vick film of his 2011 performance and whacking him over the head with a 2x4 every time he shows up throwing a pick trying to "make something happen." Their other problems really don't require divine intervention, deus ex machina, or even a whole lotta carpe diem, at least until the draft. If anything, when it comes to free agency, a little caveat emptor might be in order.