Sunday, April 7, 2013

The two things that I'm praying the Eagles aren't going to do

Do Not Want
1) Trading for Darrelle Revis

First off, the obvious. Revis is, when healthy, the best corner in pro football, and it's not even all that close. He ends WR1s, make interceptions despite teams trying to avoid him, tackles well for a corner and stays relatively quiet for a player of his position and pedigree. At age 27, he should have another 3 to 5 years of peak level performance ahead of him, and probably another 2-3 years of serviceable CB2 work after that. He makes teams better, and pass defenses a lot better.

And that's the end of the good part, and it ends with a quickness.

For better or worse, the guy has never been happy with his contract. He's not a guarantee to get back all of his powers following last year's season-ending injury. Any decrease in quicks could prove fatal to his production, as he's a 5'-11" 198-pound guy, rather than someone who dominates with size. So you are likely to be paying top price for a guy who isn't what is advertised.

That price, by the way, is going to be more than money, though there's going to be a lot of that spent to make him happy. Draft picks, and there will be several and significant, especially as he's likely to have many suitors. The upsetting of an apple cart that has spent the off-season building depth from winning organizations, and, well, Revis hasn't had that for years now. And the biggest price of all... the very tone of the Chip Kelly Era.

You see, signing Revis doesn't say that you are building a team from the ground up after a disastrous 4-12 year. It says that you are trying to make the playoffs and go deep by adding a prime player, that your talent level is good enough to contend right away, and that there does not need to be any amount of time spent in purging players that don't fit your needs, and training the noobs and the older ones.

It is, in short, the wrong tone to set. The next good Eagles team isn't due until 2014 or 2015; 2013 will be the only year where Kelly can go 6-10 without the world trying to get him canned. By the time these Eagles have any real championship expectations, Revis will be on the downside of his career, taking up a bigger portion of salary, and not really up to the job they'll need him to do.

2) Drafting Geno Smith.

If Smith was a true #1 pick at QB -- an Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin level talent -- I'd grit my teeth and take him, since generational QBs are rare and treasured, as well as reasonable bets to last a decade or so, barring injury or weirdness. But that's not what the scouts or your eyes tend to say about Smith. He's going to be good, and have a better and longer career than anyone that is currently on the Eagles' roster... but if you think he's going to be a Super Bowl winning or contending QB, rather than a better than average game manager with benefits type... well, you are on something of an island there.

There's also this; I'm not certain that the line is worthy of a high pick yet. RT Jason Peters is saying all of the right things about his health, and if his health has a domino effect on the others, this becomes a very good unit... but not exactly a super-young or deep outfit, considering how they were pulling guys off the street last year. There are (still) bigger needs for this team -- a Pro Bowl-level player for the front seven (maybe Dion Jordan, though I'm leery of drafting from Kelly's alma mater), a shutdown corner (Dee Milliner impresses me a lot) for many years, or a bookend tackle (Luke Joeckel is my first and best crush of this class) -- that come to mind.

In short, this team was 4-12 for a reason. Draft the best available players with your high picks. Take your lumps now. Do not try to cheat or short circuit the process that says building an organization is not a quick fix. Have patience, even if your fan base or new coach or owner does not.

Because, well, there are clear examples of what it looks like when an organization isn't realistic about their chances to win, and goes for it every year. It looks a lot like Dallas and Washington. Or this team, for the past five years...

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