What Would a New Contract For DRC Look Like?

I’ve opined before on giving Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie a contract extension, going as far as to call it an offseason priority. With Nnamdi Asomugha aging and only unproven recent draftees behind him, locking up Rodgers-Cromartie would go a long way to preserve continuity in the defensive backfield. Obviously, whether you want to extend him also stems from your impression of him as a player. If you’ve been following along, you know that I think DRC’s stellar play on the outside at the end of 2011 after he languished in the slot for most of the year suggests big things could be in store for him. (And reports out of training camp are stellar so far.)

But unless Howie Roseman is discussing things behind the scenes during training camp, it doesn’t look like he agrees, with either Rodgers-Cromartie’s value or his skill. Let’s go deeper and see what the difference in money might be based on letting DRC play out this contract year. Here’s a table of recent top cornerback contracts given out for players in his age range. Financial details are on the right and on the field stats are on the left (Pro Bowl appearances, games started, yards per attempt, interceptions):

Looking at the finances first, you can see there are different measures for large contracts. The total millions is a nice overall number, although it tends to overstate the “real” value of the deal (with fake years at the end). The yearly figure and guarantee may give a more accurate accounting of the contract.

It’s interesting to look at how the deals were structured and how they turned out. DeAngelo Hall and Dunta Robinson got massive contracts that turned out to be bad for their teams—although you can see why the Redskins and Falcons, respectively, were willing to dish out that kind of dough. For example, Hall was young, even for this group, and already had two Pro Bowl appearances and 22 interceptions.

The following year, Antonio “Headcase” Cromartie received a smaller contract than his number stats warranted because of his off the field problems. Leon Hall got a slightly larger and slightly longer deal. Johnathan Joseph made out like a bandit, with nearly $10 million a year and $24 million guaranteed.

This offseason, Brandon Carr and Cortland Finnegan both just bested Joseph’s contract. Eric Wright has had an up-and-down career, most recently in Detroit, and he signed a more modest five-year free agent deal. Meanwhile, Lardarius Webb, who had a stellar 2011 season with the Ravens, got the largest total amount. That figure is inflated by an extra year though; as you can see the guarantee is less than some of his peers.

So, where does Rodgers-Cromartie fit in? At 26 years old, he has fewer games started than anyone other than Webb, although his other stats are better than average. He has a low yards per attempt figure and a high interception rate. Even with his atrocious play in the slot last season, 2011 was much more in line with his first two seasons in the league. DRC’s 2010 letdown that prompted him to be traded might have been an outlier.

The question becomes what Rodgers-Cromartie would command in today’s market. Given his perceived inconsistency, lack of physicality, and a deficit of experience compare to his peers, DRC probably wouldn’t be in line for a Carr or Cortland-sized contract. Wright’s deal this year and Hall’s in 2011 look like better comparables: perhaps 5 years, $40 million, $16 million guaranteed.

Let’s say though, that Rodgers-Cromartie plays out this season, putting up his career averages, and enters the market in 2012. At that point, with 60 games started, 7.2 yards per attempt against, and 16 or so interceptions, he could make the case that he’s better than Carr or Finnegan. DRC would probably received $25 million guaranteed and upwards of $10 million per year on the open market—a substantial upgrade from his current value.

By not re-signing his second cornerback now, Roseman risks the price going up next year. He may be making one of a few calculated bets, though. Perhaps he thinks DRC simply isn’t worth a long term contract. He’s betting that Rodger-Cromartie will show that he’s not worth top money. Or Howie’s looking at the other backups and assuming that someone like Curtis Marsh will be able to slide in a year from now. Or maybe Roseman is willing to use the franchise tag (at enormous one-year cost) as necessary to keep DRC on hand in 2013.

Looking at the state of the defensive backfield and the market for cornerbacks as it stands now, I would buy into DRC long term. The potential rewards, both financially and on the field, are great, and the downside to not paying him could be severe next offseason. Get it done.

Photo from Getty.

Let’s Talk About Jeffrey Lurie

Jeff lurie

Since Joe Banner was forced out decided to leave the Eagles organziation for anyone who will take him a new, more difficult challenge, most of our focus has been on the Banner’s former underlings — Andy Reid and Howie Roseman. But what about his boss and friend, owner Jeff Lurie? Where does this firing departure leave him?

I think one of the critical things to understand about Banner is what his role was over the years. You could call him Lurie’s right-hand man, but that would understate his impact. Lurie didn’t run the organization, Banner did. Lurie certainly had input into many things, and involved himself in major decisions, but for all intents and purposes he has been the chairman of the board, not the CEO.

Banner was Lurie’s only real direct report and therfore was his default proxy in all aspects of the business — from the stadium to the football and everything in between. Everything flowed to Banner first, and the vast majority of concerns certainly never needed to make it to the owner’s box.

But now Banner is gone. In his place are three different people. Dan Smolenski, the new president, doesn’t have his former boss’s scope. He will be in charge only of the business aspects. As to what happens on the field, it’s unclear exactly what the structure looks like between Roseman and Reid, but it doesn’t seem like either one purely reports to the other.

What does that mean for Lurie? It means he’s gone from being strategically divorced from day-to-day operations by screening everything through Banner to being more involved in every part of the team. The dual wings of the organization can probably operate independently, but Lurie has placed himself in the unavoidable position of chief executive.

Ultimately, one might write all this off as basic palace intrigue, but active ownership from Lurie is something we’ve never seen before. After the 2011 debacle, he was clearly disturbed by the way his Eagles were performing on the field and being perceived in the city at large. What steps might he take to remedy those problems, especially after he already made the tough choice to fire accept his childhood friend’s decision to leave?

I doubt Lurie’s looking to model himself after peers like Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder, but there’s a wide expanse of potential influence he can exert on operations before reaching that extreme. Whether he does so will be important to keep an eye on going forward.

Photo from Getty.

Still Andyworld, Until It's Not

Les Bowen wants to know whether, in the absence of Joe Banner, the Eagles are dealing with “Howieworld” or “Andyworld.”

Remember, Jeffrey Lurie, in his anguished postseason address, sounded almost ready to fire Reid, but when reporters asked about Roseman — who certainly had a lot to do with all the silly Ronnie Brown and Steve Smith-type signings last summer, not to mention some poor draft decisions — Lurie got indignant. He made it clear that Roseman was not in any sort of trouble.

That’s why I kinda think it might be Howieworld. And I’d love to know what Howie really thinks of Reid.

But it’s more complicated than that. I don’t think that Roseman, unlike Banner, has the power to fire Reid. Based on the constant references to Reid’s final say on all football matters, he clearly has the upper hand on his young colleague when they disagree. Lurie knows that if he wants Reid gone, he has to do the deed himself.

In that sense, the Eagles are still Andyworld — his word is still law at NovaCare. Where things get interesting is in the future. Reid has the power now, but he’s also in a more precarious position than Roseman. If the 2012 season goes poorly, there’s little chance he returns. Roseman, meanwhile, is sitting pretty. He’s not as powerful as Reid right now, but all it would take is another losing season and he’s the man in charge, getting ready to pick a coach of his own.

How Joe Banner Became Obselete

Sam Lynch, in the Banner post everyone should read:

To understand why Joe Banner is leaving, in my view, you have to understand what he became after the 2006 CBA. Like I said earlier, the new question in the NFL was whether a player was worth the price he was asking for. It was now all about putting the right dollar value on the available guys.

Of course, this had always been a critical part of the process. Now, however, it was an unusually large part. And Banner had a view on what a player was worth. Think about that for a second, though. Valuing talent is what you would want the GM types to do — this guy is good, this guy isn’t. What Banner should be doing is figuring out how to fit as much of the good players under his cap as possible, not figuring out what the guys are worth.

Just to add a relatively random point, the Banner-Roseman mentorship is probably a good case study for not promoting your natural replacement quite so quickly.

When Conspiracy Theories Trump the Party Line

Joe Banner

You can label the Andy Reid-Joe Banner power struggle an unfounded conspiracy theory. And you can buy the general storyline presented for Banner leaving. But you have to admit that there are serious holes in that party line.

According to Jeff McLane’s report, which might as well be the official press release, Banner approached Jeff Lurie a year ago about a succession plan. Why would he want to leave the Eagles, a team he built for the better part of the last two decades, a team owned by his childhood friend and in which he was the unquestioned CEO?

The official line is that he wants to “get involved with the world of buying and selling a sports team with the possibility of becoming part of a group that buys a team.” Geoff Mosher got Banner on the phone and the former team president said that he has been less involved over the last few years:

"I spend a lot of my time right now managing people that report to me and a modest amount of time doing things myself. More passive role than this same job was not long ago. I wanna be so busy I don’t have time to breathe. That’s my personality."

Sorry, but I just don’t buy it. Less than ten months ago, Banner was at the forefront of the Eagles efforts to sign one of the most heralded free agent classes in modern memory. You can’t listen to this interview with Mike Florio and tell me that Banner was not personally involved in every aspect of those decisions and negotiations. “More passive role”? I don’t think so.

The changes clearly began this offseason, as Les Bowen wrote and McLane papered over. The extensions for longtime Eagles, the new willingness to talk with DeSean Jackson, the relatively quick deal struck with LeSean McCoy — all of it was done with Banner completely unseen. Howie Roseman became the point person for negotiations and Reid took an unprecedented, larger role.

Drew Rosenhaus’s comments about his negotiations over Evan Mathis, Jackson, and McCoy set a lot of the Banner talk in motion, and Paul Domowitch went back to him today in a great story:

"Howie really handled exclusively the negotiations for DeSean and Evan and LeSean," Rosenhaus said. "Joe wasn’t directly involved in any of those discussions from the start of the offseason. I actually negotiated (undrafted free agent safety) Phillip Thomas’s contract with Joe. I remember him calling and joking about the fact that he wanted to work on at least one deal with me this offseason."

"We struggled up to this offseason really to get the club to work on an extension with DeSean," Rosenhaus said. "The team really wasn’t aggressive as it related to DeSean’s negotiations until this offseason. I don’t know if there was a power struggle or not. There’s no way for me to know that. But I do know that things changed in terms of the Eagles’ approach to DeSean after the season."

Those comments suggest that Banner has been marginalized since the end of the disastrous 2011 season, a season for which he was directly responsible for many of the controversial decisions — free agency splurge, stonewalling DeSean, angering Asante Samuel (basically everything up to Juan Castillo). You can connect the dots.

Domo reads the tea leaves and argues that Reid wanted Jackson extended and blamed much of last season’s locker room troubles on Banner’s inaction on that front. Les’s piece today takes a slightly different route, arguing that Lurie “was genuinely at his wits’ end over the Eagles’ sour image in Philadelphia, the inability to connect with the fan on the street.” His solution was to isolate Banner and loosen up Reid.

Either theory makes more sense than Banner’s self-proclaimed reasoning. If he had dropped out of football to pursue his philanthropic interests, one might understand. But if you want to stay in football, you don’t leave that job willingly — especially without a new, seemingly better position already lined up.

I’m sure it was painful for Lurie to take the reigns away from his friend, but that’s the kind of decision he has to make as an owner. And by delaying the announcement and concocting an elaborate and not-entirely-convincing exit story, Lurie gives Banner as gracious a departure as he can manage. The new “Special Advisor to the Owner” even has a fall-back job at NovaCare for as long as he needs.

We will never know the full truth, but let’s not be naive. There’s the official story, and then there are the explanations that actually make sense.

Photo from the Philadelphia Eagles.

After 18 Years, Joe Banner Out As Eagles President

Jeff McLane has the team-ordained scoop, with interviews with all the major players, who insist that Banner, Jeff Lurie’s childhood friend, wasn’t fired or pushed out in a previously rumored power struggle:

Lurie and Banner gathered with Smolenski, Roseman, and Eagles head coach Andy Reid to announce the finalization of what they are calling a “front-office succession plan,” one that the owner said began when Banner approached him last spring.

Banner, 59, said Wednesday that he hoped to “get involved with the world of buying and selling a sports team with the possibility of becoming part of a group that buys a team.”

Certainly, more to come on this news.

A Changed Attitude in the Eagles Front Office

Andy Reid

In the aftermath of the relatively quick and painless contract agreement with LeSean McCoy last week, the scuttlebutt has centered on the changes in the Eagles front office. All the key figures remain the same, but Joe Banner was nowhere to be found and words during and after the press conference suggested that Andy Reid had an increased role in the negotiations.

So what, exactly, has changed? For that, we have opposing takes from rivals/colleagues Les Bowen and Jeff McLane. Bowen takes the angle that Banner is increasingly isolated from the public eye and, seemingly, negotiations. This marks a relatively large change in the organization. McLane sees it differently:

Most of the changes within the front office have centered on public relations and can be summed up as such: Andy Reid has been more accommodating, Howie Roseman has been nudged into the spotlight, and Joe Banner has taken a step back behind the curtain.

The key thing that McLane omits (or, I suspect, willfully ignores) in his contrarian analysis is that changing the public perception and the outward attitude is a change in strategy. Of course we’re not talking about a radical front office change of direction — it’s all the same guys at NovaCare, after all. But the idea that Howie Roseman is handling negotiations because he’s less of an abrasive jerk at the table means something. Reid’s presence may be a facade placed on top of the same front office, but if it changed how McCoy, Roseman, and Drew Rosenhaus interacted, that matters.

Whether Reid and Banner purposely created or merely fell into their good cop/bad cop roles, it was obvious that they believed it worked. I expect that the combination of DeSean Jackson’s sulking and Asante Samuel railing against the guys upstairs prompted a reevaluation of that strategy. After such an awful season, revisions were required both on the field and in the front office — a marginalization of Banner and alignment of Reid’s player-friendly attitude with Howie Roseman’s less intimidating demeanor serves that goal.

The results, despite what McLane says, haven’t been the same:

That’s been the blueprint for years. Last year’s free-agent frenzy wasn’t the first time the Eagles spent freely. This year’s taking care of their own wasn’t the first time they rewarded their best loyal charges.

That’s accurate in general. But in recent years the Eagles have often seemed disinterested in renegotiating veteran contracts (Cole, Herremans) or extending young stars (Jackson, McCoy). And last season’s free agent splurge was especially out of character. The team is always in the market for top players, but rarely have they gone out and bought multiple veteran starters. Nor did the front office pretend that anything was business as usual with that last training camp.

Making extensions a priority this year, even for players for whom they could have forced to play for their current deals, shows a re-focused strategy that stems from the re-organization at the top. It’s only a change in attitude, but that more positive demeanor makes a difference. Just sticking with McCoy, Bowen is correct in his counterfactual Banner-led negotiations. Things probably wouldn’t have gone quite so smoothly:

They could have stuck to their guns on the fact that Houston’s Arian Foster, whose deal proved to be the benchmark, had negotiated that contract as a restricted free agent, a crucial difference. They could have made McCoy choose between either signing a contract that was a solid financial notch below Foster or risking injury this season, to possibly end up being franchised, with no long-term commitment at all. They could have pressed their advantage a lot harder.

Jackson looked like he was headed for a Jeremiah Trotter-esque walk out of town. Cole might have grown as unhappy as his former teammate Sheldon Brown. And McCoy seemed destined for a classic Brian Westbrook holdout. That none of those things came to pass speaks to a positive change within the organization. You can try to hide it behind a “business as usual” or “just public relations” tagline, but the results say otherwise.

Photo from Getty.

Andy Reid Gets LeSean McCoy’s Deal Done

LeSean McCoy

Big sigh of relief, everybody. LeSean McCoy signed a long term contract extension with the Eagles yesterday: five years, $45 million, and $21 million guaranteed. Rather than be a free agent next season, McCoy is locked up through age 29 — even if some of the money toward the back is likely to be restructured at best.

It’s a day to celebrate the Eagles keeping yet another valuable contributor — and not just retaining Evan Mathis, or making Trent Cole happy. This is a vitally important move on the field and in the locker room. DeSean Jackson’s situation last year was no fun at all, and it’s good to see that the front office learned from their mistakes and locked up McCoy before things got ugly.

That’s actually the biggest behind-the-scenes news of the day. Not the actual contract, but what it took to get there. As Les Bowen reports, Drew Rosenhaus made it clear that Andy Reid, not Howie Roseman, made this deal happen:

"When we we were working on this deal, coach Reid was sitting in on the meetings. It wasn’t so much that he was taking sides, he just wanted to see it get done. So I think coach Reid really was the difference."

So much for “on the hot seat.” In what was apparently an unconventional move for him, Reid participated in the McCoy negotiations. There’s only one conclusion you can draw from such news — that Reid has actually consolidated power over Roseman this offseason, rather than relinquishing it.

It’s a common refrain that players like to play for Reid and think he’s on their side. Asante Samuel was the most recent example of this phenomenon: bashing the front office (Roseman and Joe Banner), while reserving only sweet words for his coach. It’s easy to break that down as players falling too easily into a good cop-bad cop situation, where Reid is just as cold-hearted behind the scenes but maintains a happy demeanor in the locker room.

Unless it’s actually true. Maybe Reid really does care more about his players, would rather give up a few million extra in contract talks than see things get acrimonious. Maybe he doesn’t need to feel like he “won” the negotiations, as Rosenhaus described Roseman yesterday.

One might say that’s weakness, and it is to a degree. But after all the drama the Eagles have gone through in the last year, putting free agents ahead of their own stars and reaping the rewards for that, it’s a weakness they could probably use a little bit more of.

Photo from Getty.

Post-Draft Position Breakdown: Offensive Line

Eagles Offensive Line

What the Eagles did: In Howard Mudd we trust.

That sentence basically sums up where the Eagles stand in relation to their offensive line right now, in the post-Jason Peters 2012 continuity. (I like to think that somewhere out there is an alternate timeline where Julian Vandervelde, not Peters, tore his Achillies. Asante Samuel fetched a first round draft pick, too.)

Peters had one of the best seasons for an offensive lineman that I’ve ever seen. He was dominant in every phase of the game. It will not be possible to replicate his performance, and the Eagles offense will undoubtedly suffer significantly from his absence. Either King Dunlap or Demetress Bell, most likely the latter, will try to step into Peters’s shoes, but we shouldn’t hope for anything more than average play.

On top of that 6’4”, 340 lb. hole, Mudd also has to turn Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins into good offensive linemen. I’m not sure that any topic inspired more argument among fans last year than the Eagles rookie linemen. There are lots of people who insist that Kelce and Watkins were above average, even worthy of Pro Bowl considerations. That’s just not true, as far as my eyes and stats could tell.

Finally, there are the two starters I’m not worried about: Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis. Neither player is particularly dominant, but continued solid performance will be of paramount necessity with the rest of the line questionable.

What I would have done: Despite my reservations about the Eagles line, I don’t think I would have done anything differently. After Peters’ injury, Howie Roseman pounced on Bell and made sure to retain Dunlap. Neither is a sure thing, but at least there are two reasonable options in the wake of that shocking development. Long term, assuming Peters recovers, the line is locked up, so a high draft pick wasn’t strictly necessary.

Way-too-early prediction: Do I trust Howard Mudd? At the end of the day, the answer is yes, so I’m willing to be optimistic about Kelce, Watkins, and even Bell. I wouldn’t be surpised, however, if Mathis falls back to earth a little bit without a dominant tackle at his side.

Photo from Getty.

Vinny Curry, Best Player Available

Chris McPherson:

Roseman hinted that the team has previously made some reaches in order to fill a need. Roseman was certainly tested in his third draft as the Eagles’ general manager. No situation better highlighted Roseman’s mission than what was presented to them with the 59th overall pick when the Eagles selected Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry.

"He was the best player on our board," Roseman said. "He was standing out to us. We just felt like we were in a position where we had to take him. He’s a talented guy."

Since the first press conference after Curry was drafted, the Eagles front office and PR squad have aggressively hawked the fact that he was the best player available — something they haven’t found necessary to mention (let alone pound into the narrative) with any other draft pick. Methinks they dost protect someone’s feelings too much.

Bungling the Asante Trade From Start to Finish

Depending on which report you believe, the Eagles could have traded Asante Samuel before last season for either a second round pick or two third rounders. Now the Eagles look like they will have to get lucky just to pull out a fourth round pick in this inevitable deal.

What happened?

I don’t agree with some of the reporters who have suggested that the price drop is due to Samuel’s age or contract. He hasn’t gotten significantly older or more expensive in the last few months. His contract does go up, and he’s now 31. That’s true. But neither Samuel’s salary nor his age are prohibitive factors at this point. He hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, and $10 million is reasonable for a top cornerback.

This is the point where people start to bring up Asante’s flaws as a player: he freelances too much, doesn’t know how to tackle, blows coverages more than you would like. For the most part, you wouldn’t be wrong to make that argument. But Samuel has demonstrated those same deficiencies his entire career. Before he ever arrived in Philly, we knew he couldn’t tackle, couldn’t resist gambling for interceptions — and you can bet that Detroit and whichever other teams inquired after him in 2011 knew those things as well.

Moreover, there’s little evidence to suggest that Samuel has fallen off since a year ago. His interception rate did drop, which has a lot to do with luck. His targets increased, but so would yours if you went from playing across from Dimitri Patterson to Nnamdi Asomugha. On a per target basis, Samuel was every bit as good in 2011 as he was in 2010 — and with an utter failure of a defensive coordinator to boot.

What has changed in the last few months is that the Eagles’ leverage in negotiations has evaporated. Having bungled the 2011 trade and alienated Samuel permanently, then installed a defensive coordinator who was completely unprepared to utilize three Pro Bowl cornerbacks, the front office created a buyer’s market for Asante. Everyone knows the team can’t afford, in the books or on the field, to keep Samuel for another year. He’s worth less to the Eagles than anyone else and they have no choice but to get rid of him.

Howie Roseman has largely been hailed as a great deal maker (often as an antidote to poor drafting results), but this whole Samuel situation was terribly handled, and it has and will continue to cost the team.

Admitting Mistakes, Moving Forward

Jaiquawn Jarrett

Howie Roseman talked with reporters on Thursday, and reiterated his pledge that the Eagles will draft the best player available, rather than the best player at a position of need. Here’s what Roseman said a month ago on the same topic, as reported by Paul Domowitch:

“At some point, you get entrenched into what your team needs,” he said. “And because we’re so determined to win a championship as quickly as possible, we wanted to address those [needs] as quickly as possible.

“When you look back at the moves, particularly in the draft, that we’ve made successfully, it was situations where we took the best players [rather than the best player at the position of greatest need]. It’s something I believe in.”

I think it’s great that Roseman can look at his track record without sugarcoating it and is open and honest about changes that need to be made. The Danny Watkins/Jaiquawn Jarrett 1-2 combination is not one the Eagles front office will be looking to replicate.

But other than not reaching for the one-eyed prospects among blind ones (Mark Barron?), I’m not sure how much we can really read into Roseman’s comments, especially in the first round. In later rounds, teams should never reach for anybody, since no late-round draft pick is likely to contribute right away — or ever, realistically.

In the first round, though, it’s not enough to hide behind “best player available.” Best player available isn’t a suitable rationale for selecting a running back, for example, or in my opinion, a quarterback. Offense in general just isn’t a good value proposition for the Eagles this year, especially compared to the long-term holes on defense. The first round pick needs to be on defense, and there multiple good options should be available either at pick 15 or within striking distance of it.

Still, it will be interesting to see if we can detect any substantial shift in the Eagles drafting philosophy this year, given Roseman’s continued assertions that the same mistakes won’t be made.

Photo from Getty.

Sale in Aisle 22

Mike Klis, the Denver Post:

The Broncos have expressed interest in acquiring Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel, according to two NFL sources. However, the Broncos no longer believe they can strike a deal, even though trade talks advanced to the stage where the team presented two proposals — one for a late-round draft pick and the other involving a player.

5th or 6th round pick for a Pro Bowl corner like Samuel? Considering they received offers in the second round range last year, this could end up being even more of a disaster than it was already. I’ll withhold complete judgement until we see the actual deal go down, but this is a real indictment of Howie Roseman.

On the Eagles Trading Up in the First Round

Eagles Fans Draft

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Except when it comes to the NFL draft, in which case the smoke may be planted ten miles away to distract everyone from the actual blaze.

If you ask me, that’s what’s going on with all these rumors about the Eagles moving high up in the draft. First there was the report saying the team was in the hunt to move up to the fourth overall pick. Then there’s this nugget, from National Football Post’s Dan Pompei:

A buzz is building in NFL front offices that the Eagles are going to take a quarterback fairly high. If they don’t make a move for Ryan Tannehill in round one, the Eagles could wait until the second round and go after Kirk Cousins or Brandon Weeden. Such a move could indicate the Eagles have concerns about Michael Vick’s ability to stay healthy and how he fits in Andy Reid’s offense.

First of all, there is ample evidence to suggest the Eagles aren’t finished at quarterback. Mike Kafka is no sure-thing backup, and Trent Edwards didn’t receive more than the most token endorsement from Andy Reid as the third-stringer. They might be looking to draft another quarterback to develop or pick up another veteran.

But why would the Eagles move up to get Tannehill? He’s way overvalued as a top ten pick, and there’s no reason for the team to mortgage most of their draft to reach for a guy like that. To get up to the Browns pick, for example, would require three-quarters of the cost the Redskins paid for the rights to RG3 and you probably wouldn’t get half as good of a player.

Moreover, if the team really was interested in moving up to get Tannehill or drafting one of the other quarterbacks a little bit later on, it would be in their interest to keep such thoughts to themselves.

All of which brings us to Peter King, who Tommy noted yesterday is quite the Eagles prognosticator:

The Eagles don’t want to trade up from 15 to anywhere between three and eight. It’d cost too much, and I sense their interest in Tannehill has been overstated. Philadelphia has sniffed around the quarterback position through the offseason, which could be a sign they’ve cooled on Michael Vick as their long-term solution at the position, and the Eagles have been linked to the Texas A&M quarterback because they sent quarterback coach Doug Pederson to the school to work out Tannehill two weeks ago. The Eagles might pay something to move up for Tannehill, but it won’t be much, and the move won’t be far.

I think it’s interesting that King pegged ninth overall as being the highest the Eagles would be likely to trade up. That probably has something to do with the Dolphins pick at eight being about as far as Tannehill is likely to drop, but more importantly, the Eagles can move up that high using just one of their second round picks.

If I were sitting at 15, I’d probably be content to see how the first eight picks shake out. Three quarterbacks are likely to go that high, which could leave one or more elite position players within striking distance. If not, Howie Roseman can still watch the board and jump ahead of any team he thinks might be targeting his top player (say, Fletcher Cox).

The rest is just smoke.

Photo from Getty.