I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again to open this column: Sam Bradford is not the man to lead this team. I have dubbed him “King Of The Checkdown”, and he has not disappointed with that moniker. And, all through the Arizona game, and the Washington game, all the announcers could talk about was if the team was going to re-sign him at the end of the year.
What? Is that really being considered? If it is, then Jeffrey Lurie should step in and stop that from happening.
In addition, we saw Jason Peters basically leave the game Saturday, because, as he was quoted saying “I’m not getting hurt for this”. Well, heck, you’re already hurt, Jason. You stay hurt. You may as well show some heart, and play with some guts, rather than quit on your entire team. Yes, there were others that appeared to not want to be playing Saturday night. And, for all of them, I would have a pink slip in their Christmas stocking, as a late gift. I’m quite sure there are guys elsewhere, on practice squads, and such, that would kill for the chance to play at this level.
With that in mind, strictly from my point of view, I’d like to take stock of what’s left on the roster, from a GM point of view. If Chip Kelly can treat this team as if it were his own personal fantasy team, then, so can I, right?
1. Cut Jason Peters. He’ll be 34 by the time next season starts, and he’s already shown his propensity for not being a team player. Don’t give me “Oh, he’s an All-Pro”. No. An All-Pro wouldn’t have left his teammates like he did on Saturday. Trade him, or cut him. Yes, the cap numbers on him are staggering, with dead money and all, but, I’d take that risk. Cutting him after June 1 would save just over 4 million against the cap.
2. Under no circumstances should the Eagles re-sign Sam Bradford. He cannot play at this level. He’s shown that at two stops in his career. Go find someone in free agency. Heck, Kirk Cousins would be a better fit, and you know his agent is not going to give Washington exclusive negotiating rights. Bradford’s cap number is zero, considering his contract is done.
3. Don’t bring back any of the UFA’s projected for 2016. This would include Bradford, Walter Thurmond, Nolan Carroll, and Cedric Thornton. And, I’d give serious consideration to either trading or outright releasing DeMeco Ryans and Kiko Alonso. Alonso would net just shy of 800 thousand in savings against the cap. Ryans would be dead money.
4. Take away the GM duties from Kelly, and bring in a Scott Pioli-type person, maybe even Bill Polian’s son, to run the Draft and free agency. Just looking at the dead money numbers, if those were to come off the books, it would make cutting Peters and Ryans affordable, since you’d just replace one dead money figure with another. LeSean McCoy, Trent Cole, and Todd Herremans’ numbers should come off the payroll, freeing up money to improve.
5. Get deeper on the offensive line. We’ve seen how the depth has affected this team for the past two seasons. Go out, and find guys that can plug-and-play in any position on the O-line. Don’t invest heavily on your starters, then only have meager monies available for their backups.
6. Hire a new DC. Hire one that won’t allow the corners to play 10-15 yards off the opposing receiver, and when the ball is snapped, they turn away from the QB, and run. That’s a slant pattern all day (See also: Detroit, Thanksgiving Day).
The off-season is basically here. The team should take a look at what they have in reserve this Sunday. Let some of the young kids play. They already know the veterans they have now, well, some of them, need to go to Oz. They all need heart.
Photo: Hunter Martin-Philadelphia Eagles