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NFC EAST OLBs

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NFC EAST OLBs

Post  Big_Pete on Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:01 pm

Free agency in the East: Outside LBs
June, 23, 2011
Jun 23
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By Dan Graziano
We continue to take a position-by-position look at potential four-year unrestricted free agency and the way it could impact the offseason plans of the teams in the NFC East. We did cornerbacks and running backs Wednesday, and today we're taking a look at outside linebackers. The division's 3-4 defenses appear set at those spots with DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer in Dallas and Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan in Washington, so we'll focus on the 4-3 teams along the I-95 corridor. The pool has been diminished as teams have placed franchise designations on top players such as LaMarr Woodley, Chad Greenway and Kamerion Wimbley, but there are still options available for the Eagles and Giants to bolster weak spots.

NFC East teams in need

Giants: Linebacker is a muddy situation for the Giants. If they sign a middle linebacker, they could move Jonathan Goff to the outside and lessen their need there. And assuming they bring back Mathias Kiwanuka, who's been something of a Swiss army knife on the defense, they might be able to get by with Clint Sintim and Michael Boley at the starting outside linebacker spots. But neither Sintim nor Boley is a sure thing, and while the Giants have ignored this position over the past couple of years, they would do well to keep their minds open to the possibility of an upgrade.

Eagles: Either Jamar Chaney or Stewart Bradley will man the middle, with the other (assuming Bradley re-signs) taking one of the outside spots. But that doesn't mean the Eagles couldn't use more depth at this spot. They'll have a chance to get creative, perhaps signing a guy for the middle and using Chaney on the outside. But Chaney showed a lot in that middle linebacker spot last year and they'd do well to think about adding outside pieces around him.

Top five potential unrestricted free-agent outside linebackers:

1. James Anderson. Had a very good year on the strong side for Carolina, which isn't likely to offer him much to stay. If the Giants were to get serious about the position (and if they didn't have so many other free agency issues at other positions), Anderson would be a great fix for their strong side linebacker void. Carolina teammate Thomas Davis is another name who could attract interest, but Davis is coming off an injury and might be more affordable for the Panthers to retain.

2. Manny Lawson. The 49ers could let him walk, and Lawson is a hyper-athletic, multi-purpose linebacker who can play the run and pressure the passer. His sack numbers haven't been great, but he grades out well as a disruptive force in backfields. Could be a great answer for the Eagles on the weak side.

3. Rocky McIntosh. He didn't like or fit into the Redskins' new 3-4 scheme last year, and he's likely better off playing the pass from the weak side in a 4-3. Also would be a helpful guy in Philadelphia, and he might could be had relatively cheap.

4. Stephen Nicholas. The Falcons would like to keep him, but he might have a hard time cracking the starting lineup in Atlanta, so if there's a team out there that could park him on the strong side and use him to solidify their run defense (i.e., the Giants), he could bolt for greener pastures and/or more green.

5. Clint Session. Played only five games for the Colts last year because of injury. Session is quick and small but replaceable in Indianapolis, so he's likely to be on the market for teams looking for depth and versatility in the linebacking corps.

Predictions that mean nothing: Eagles sign McIntosh. Giants continue to overlook the position, maybe pursue a middle linebacker such as Paul Posluszny so they can mov


Last edited by Big_Pete on Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: NFC EAST OLBs

Post  Pizan on Sat Jun 25, 2011 8:27 pm

Ideally we would like to upgrade all three LB positions but thats not realistic. There are plenty of options for us though.

We like signing inner division players so McIntosh and Bradley are probably both on our radar. Of the two, I'd prefer Bradley to compete with Sintim. Plus he's a good coverage backer. Another option could be moving Boley to the strong side for a year to give Sintim more time to develop and us going after a better weakside backer like Session.

Another option could be a cheap vet like Scott Shanle to compete with Sintim.

Moving Goff over could be an option after signing a guy like Paul Posluzny. But I'd prefer to have Goff as the first backer off the bench and actually strengthen this position once and for all.
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Re: NFC EAST OLBs

Post  Big_Pete on Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:01 pm

I think you are right, I wouln't say it is impossible though.

I would love to get a guy like Pos in the middle and he is a great fit for so many reasons. He is a guy who would make a huge difference. This is the kind of move we need to do.

I wouldn't mind seeing a guy like Anderson or Bradley at SLB. Neither is going to break the bank.

It would be surplus perhaps but if we could bring in someone like Howard or McIntosh to compete at WLB that would be ideal. Again neither will be hugely expensive.

Guys like Bradley, McIntosh and Anderson aren't going to get the big contracts (imho). You could probably add Ruud to that mix too.


Something like this could be done, but would likely be at the expense of guys like Cofield and possibly Bradshaw, Boss or Kiwanuka. I guess it depends on the balance of the final teams.

Quite frankly I would like to see both Boley and Goff coming off the bench.
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Re: NFC EAST OLBs

Post  Pizan on Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:27 am

Thats the problem. I'd love for us to wrap up this LB position once and for all but we wouldn't be able to sign a player like Reggie Bush (if he came available) and our own key Free Agents.

Unless we let Kiwi, Cofield, Bradshaw, and Boss go then we resign Smith and sign Bush, Pos, and Burnett but then we leave a hole at DT.

TE not so much because with Beckum/Bear/Bush and more 3 and 4 wr sets we could replace Boss. The development of JPP replaces Kiwi. Bradshaw is replaced with Bush/Ware.

Cofield is the one leaving a hole at the 3-technique. Maybe cutting Benard and signing a player in between Cofield and Benards price range to share duties with Austin would work. High effort guys like Eric Foster, Jonathan Fanene, Ray McDonald, and Derek Landri do well for a solid rotation. Tommie Harris would be perfect but he may be just outta the price range unless we can restructure some contracts.

Imagine if we retain Steve Smith and sign Reggie Bush, Paul Posluszny, Kevin Burnett, and Tommie Harris? Our team immediately gets faster. Thats a huge plus if we wanna beat the Eagles this year.
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Re: NFC EAST OLBs

Post  Big_Pete on Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:46 pm

I think the more likely option is to bring in one quality LB, most likely a MLB such as Pos

I think they will look at the possibly of a second tier guy ala a Ruud, McIntosh, Howard, Bradley etc. But I am not certain it will happen.

I think the ideal plan will be to have Pos at MLB (with Jones as backup), Goff and Sintim at SLB and Boley at WLB.


I am not so worried about Cofield, I really think Joseph is a guy who could step in and do the job right away. I also think we could use Tuck, JPP and Kiwanuka inside more. Tommie Harris would be a great fit if we want an intermediate guy.

I still think we need a TE; I am still a fan of Zach Miller; I think he is a great fit here. I also want us to go after Vonta Leach.

I like your thinking, but I would go with something similar.

resign Steve Smith, sign Reggie Bush, Vonta Leach, Zach Miller, Tommie Harris, Paul Poslunzy, Rocky McIntosh

Someone like Bush would be great to open things up, but I want to retool the physicality of the offense as well.
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