IRVING, Texas – One NFC East team stole the show during the first week of NFL free agency, while the rest remained rather dormant.
Philadelphia signed eight free agents from other teams in the last week since free agency began, while letting its own free agents hit the market. The Eagles own the fourth pick in the draft after a 4-12 season and are somewhat overhauling the roster.
As the rest of the NFC East patiently waits in free agency, the Eagles said goodbye to some recent free agent acquisitions that never met expectations. They cut cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who signed a five-year, $60 million deal in 2011. They also let free agents Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cullen Jenkins and King Dunlap all find new teams.
The Eagles used the freed up space to bring in a variety of players, mostly defensive additions, to help the roster. Former Texans linebacker Connor Barwin, former Giants safety Kenny Phillips, former Patriots safety Patrick Chung, former Ravens cornerback Cary Williams and former 49ers defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga are among the most prominent additions to the Eagles’ new defense.
Barwin had 11.5 sacks in 2011 but just three in 2012, while Phillips had four picks in 2011 before injuries held him out for half the 2012 season. Williams racked up all four career interceptions last year while winning a Super Bowl with the Ravens.
The 330-pound Sopoago recorded at least one sack in six of his eight seasons in San Francisco, with Chung recording at least one interception in each of his four years in New England. The Eagles also signed tight end/fullback James Casey, cornerback Bradley Fletcher and linebacker Jason Phillips.
Meanwhile, the rest of the cap-strapped NFC East has been content to lay low. The Cowboys have only re-signed players from their 2012 roster, while the Redskins only reached an agreement with one free agent from another team.
The Giants brought in Jenkins from Philadelphia, but they’ve remained rather quiet when it comes to the more prominent free agent signings. Apart from re-signing their own players, they also brought in cornerback Aaron Ross, safety Ryan Mundy and kicker Josh Brown, while losing Martellus Bennett, Chris Canty and Phillips.
Apart from Philadelphia, the rest of the NFC East seems set on waiting for cheaper free agents and building in the draft. It remains to be seen if the Eagles’ attempt to bring in new free agents this time around will yield better results.