The Eagles off season has not gone according to plan thus far, at least not according to my plan. The subtractions from last year’s roster outweigh the additions, and the areas they’ve addressed in free agency aren’t lining up with the team’s needs. That could change if this rumor from the AP is true.
The Broncos could be shopping their MLB Al Wilson, and one of the teams mentioned as a potential bidder is our Philadelphia Eagles.
Is Wilson the perfect guy for the Eagles? That depends. I think Jim Johnson would love to have him, he’s a hard-hitting LB with good speed. He can cover tight ends and running backs in space. He’s played the middle LB position for the Broncos, but could probably move to the strong side on running downs for the Eagles and replace Trotter in the middle on passing downs.
Wilson is a sure tackler, and although his size isn’t ideal (6’, 240 lbs) for a “run stopper,” he’s a proven commodity. He would be an immediate upgrade. The only question is, how much would it cost the Eagles to pry him loose from the Broncos? How much is he worth to the Eagles? (How much are the Giants and Lions, the two other teams mentioned in the article willing to pay?)
It’s going to cost picks to get him, and the Eagles are loathe to part with picks. Other names being bandied about by the Eagles as possible trade targets at the LB position are Lance Briggs and Jonathan Vilma. Both would be huge upgrades over Dhani Jones or Omar Gaither, but they’d come at a steep price. Not only the price the Eagles would have to pay in a trade, but in the price the Eagles would have to pay to sign them. The Eagles have been unwilling to invest in linebackers in the past, and they probably aren’t going to break that trend at this point.
The larger problem for the Eagles is the d-line. To a man, the Eagles d-line is undersized (or at least they play like it). The LBs never get a clean shot at running backs because the d-line doesn’t eat up the blockers. This is a philosophical problem for the Eagles, and one they desperately need to address. It doesn’t help that the Colts won the Super Bowl with a swiss-cheese run defense. All that did was reinforce the notion that you don’t have to be able to stop the run to win in this league.
The Eagles are proof-positive that this is not the case. Somewhere in the playoffs you’re going to run into a team that’s ready, willing and able to run the ball down your throat for 60 minutes. So, Wilson would be a step in the right direction, and I hope they make this move, but he isn’t the answer. Not him alone. Not when they’re still signing undersized DTs.