In case you missed my earlier post on Cary Williams this evening, let’s just say he’s “chippy.” Williams is a highly physical corner, and is now the second Eagles acquisition in the secondary that isn’t afraid to mix it up. Patrick Chung was the first. To be determined how well they’ll play, but this Eagles secondary won’t be anywhere near as soft as the one they fielded last season. That may be a pattern, in terms of the type of players the Eagles are now targeting on defense.
Williams was a 7th round pick in 2008, and he didn’t see the field with any regularity until 2011. He started all 32 games (38, including the playoffs) for the Ravens the last 2 seasons, and obviously has a ring to show for it. Good size at 6’1, 190, good arm length (see his fight against Julian Edelman – look at the reach advantage). Turned 28 in December. 3 years, $17 million, $10.5 guaranteed.
The thinking around the league is that Phillips could be done, as his knee is believed to be degenerative. There’s certainly a reason why the Giants just let him walk without appearing to have made any effort whatsoever to re-sign him, not to mention the fact that the Eagles were able to get him on a 1-year deal. When Phillips was right, he was clearly the best safety in the division, and it wasn’t even close. Way back in OTAs last offseason, Ebenezer Samuel of the NY Daily News was able to coax an interesting story out of Giants safeties coach Dave Merritt about Kenny Phillips:
“(Cowboys tight end Jason) Witten told me when I went to the Pro Bowl two years ago when Antrel invited me, Witten said, when 21′s in the post, we don’t ever throw anything deep because we know he can go and get it. He said, ‘But if I see anybody else back there, (Tony) Romo knows, we’re going deep.’
It’s important for Eagles fans to keep their expectations in check. I remember watching Marlin Jackson in training camp a few years ago. He couldn’t run. You could almost tell he knew his career was over. And it was. I don’t think Phillips is at that point, but certainly he’ll be a player that people will be looking at in OTAs and training camp. The Eagles get him on a low risk 1-year deal. He was so good when he was healthy that it’s worth a shot.
When the Eagles first signed Barwin, my immediate thought was that he would play SAM. There appears to already be a debate on that. Some people think he’ll be a SAM. Some think he’ll play the predator position. I’m not so sure that will get cleared up tomorrow when those players are made available to the media, since the Eagles haven’t really even committed to something as basic as whether or not they’ll be running a base 3-4 defense.
Barwin had a breakout season in 2011, when he compiled 11.5 sacks. That number dropped off to 3 in 2012. When the contract details were initially revealed, it was reported that it was a 6 year deal worth $36 million. It turns out that only $8 million of that is guaranteed. Howie Roseman and Co have done agents the favor of making deals look more lucrative than they really are (See Michael Vick’s “$100 million” contract). To be determined what this means for Trent Cole in Philly.