Yesterday, as we were writing that the Philadelphia Eagles have become the Super Bowl favorite with their recent rash of signings and trades, we tried to at least identify remaining flaws on their roster. The front seven could be better, we argued. After all, this is a team that was so-so against the run and mustered a good-but-not-great 39 sacks in 2010. Plus, they lost middle linebacker Stewart Bradley in free agency.
We figured it couldn’t hurt to add some talent to the front seven and that they could use Asante Samuel as trade bait to do so. And today, they’ve done exactly that, while somehow keeping Samuel and his big contract in place.
Amazingly, the Eagles have found money under the cap to sign one of the most versatile defensive linemen on the free agent market. Cullen Jenkins is on board for $25 million over the next five years, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Jenkins was a constant threat to quarterbacks as both a five-technique end and a three-technique tackle in eight seasons with the Packers. He recorded a career-high seven sacks last year despite the fact he missed a quarter of the season due to a calf injury.
He’s actually missed 17 of a possible 48 games due to injury over the last three years, which might have been why it took so long for the 30-year-old to land a contract this week. But the Eagles have apparently protected themselves, and can cut bait after the 2011 season with only $4 million lost.
So now the Eagles, who brought in world-renowned defensive line coach Jim Washburn prior to the lockout, will have three pass-rushing studs (Trent Cole, Jason Babin and Jenkins) up front and three coverage studs (Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Asante Samuel) on the back end. It seems as though their plan is to master pass rushing and pass coverage while forcing teams to beat them on the ground.
In the NFC East, that might be a genius strategy.
GLS MOVE RATING: 9/10