Initial thoughts on Cary Williams, Kenny Phillips, and Connor Barwin

Cary Williams

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.

Kenny Phillips

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.

Connor Barwin

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.


  1. brisulph says:

    Just wanted to say, congrats Eagle fans, as I am going to miss KP on the Giants. He can ball, provided his health holds up. A 1 year deal was the right way to go, and he wil be motivated, so I think this has a good chance of working out for you guys.

  2. Mark Sitko says:

    Jimmy – we are jonesing for a helmet 2 helmet over hear – when you guys gonna be able to have a talk about all these pickups? Can’t wait – so stoked for all the holes we just filled…I think we are now ready for the draft – can’t wait to hear what you have to say about it all…

    1. We’ll have one soon. Probably tomorrow.

  3. Truth Hurts says:

    These moves are over rated!

    1. Birds says:

      say’s f**kin’ who?

  4. GvilleEagleFan says:

    Just had this thought regarding Barwin: What if it has more to do with the higher expected number of snaps for the defense next season? I imagine the “Predator” spot would be one of the most tiring to play, and wouldn’t having a rotation of Barwin/Cole/Graham to mix in depending on situation make each one of them more effective on a per snap basis? The last thing I want to see is Cole gassed on 2nd down in the middle of the fourth because the defense is on its 70th snap. Having Barwin to pair with Graham as they both mature means we’ll always have a rotation there where there’s no clear drop off when one sits. Plus, general descriptions of Barwin say he’s a little weak in run defense while Graham lacks size and top athleticism. Seems, on paper anyway, that they’d complement each other well.

    1. GvilleEagleFan says:

      Plus then your front 7 on passing downs could be Cole, Cox, Graham, Barwin/Dion Jordan on the line and Kendricks, Ryans, Dion Jordan/Barwin. If you wanted Boykin on the field, simply sit the worst cover LB and put him in the pass rush rotation. Curry serves as the 3rd DE. Thoughts?

    2. deg0ey says:

      Looks to me like Barwin’s essentially one a 1-year deal. He gives the Eagles options and I think that’s what it’s all about.

      Barwin can take some snaps at SAM meaning that if you don’t draft a guy, you’ve still got somebody to hold the fort until you bring someone in next year/figure out whether Curry is the long term answer. If you do draft a guy, he doesn’t have to be on the field all the time – it’s nice to be able to break rookies in gently, especially if they have (as a purely hypothetical example, of course) a torn labrum that means they might miss a good chunk of the offseason.

      Given that he can also play at ‘predator’, he seems like a pretty versatile guy that can be injury cover for a bunch of guys and come into the rotation when everyone’s healthy. Wouldn’t have been a fan if he were on a big contract/getting lots of guaranteed money, but with the way it sounds like Howie’s structured his contract there’s not a lot to dislike here.

    3. Tracer Bullet says:

      Graham doesn’t lack size.

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