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nephillymike
It seems to me that Howie has referenced a few times to Free Agency lessens learned in the past about the dream team, and renting players etc.

It was a disaster, for sure.

However, it did not hinder our ability to recover from it cap wise as we have not had to forego one deal if we wanted to do it.

The lessen about rewarding your own guys first is a good one. Promotes harmony as long as you are rewarding the right guys. Paying money to Pinkston, Thrash, R. Brown, etc etc, is not the way to go. They need to hit on the guys they extend. I think they made some good choices this year so far.

Ill repeat. Paying those dream team veterans did not hinder our ability to do anything we wanted after their signings. Cap mathematics and a rising Cap limit cover all ills. Add to that the Eagles conservative approach to the cap and we will be fine. While this group of execs are in place we likely always will be fine.

The big risk is going light in FA and "settling" for lesser talent in FA and ending up in a home playoff game with less talent in places of need than you could have had than if you were more financially aggressive in free agency.

The decision to go after an injury risk S in Phillips and a benched by NE Chung, and to a lesser extent, a lower tier coming off of injury CB in Fletcher, and a not really great coverage CB in Williams and a surprisingly reasonably priced NT in Sopoaga are the decisions that made our game against NO the nightmare it was. Don't ever forget that. We had the money. We had better FA's out there. We had the chance.

Our settling for those bunch of mediocre at best FA"s is the nightmare we all live with.

Howie, go get the best players out there. Don't forego a Byrd for some 9th best S in FA who will in time, play like the 9th best FA S plays and be the fucking nightmare that Chung was for us all year long.

If we end up with Byrd and only 16M of cap space left over this year instead of the 22M we would have had left over had we got the 9th best FA S, so be it. Do whatever you need to do and spend whatever resources you need to spend so we don't have to watch that drek defensive backfield in another important football game next year.

Learn the FA lesson you need to learn!!
TGryn
I don't know if there's a master lesson plan for FA, other than "Get players who can play well for you." Player evaluation is what makes the difference, both in FA and the draft, not spending $$$ or not spending. Nnambi is Exhibit A on how spending top money for the best player at his position is still no guarantee of success.

That's also why paying your own guys is usually a better bet, because you already know how the player slots into the system and into the strengths and weaknesses of the ones around him. That may also be why they didn't want to spend much last year, because with the new schemes coming in it was anyone's guess how the guys already on the team, much less FAs, would work in Kelly and Davis' plans.
nephillymike
It is definitely player evaluation.

And with free agents, I think character evaluation is key.

It baffles me how you can watch a player play the same defense you are playing and against NFL competition for years and then make a mistake on talent evaluation

If we are going to overcome the tougher schedule, and the absence of all those lucky breaks that went our way last year so that we can ascend to the elite of the NFC, we WILL need at least three new starters on defense.

To expect more than one to come from the 22nd, 54th or 86th pick of the draft is defying the odds.

We can't afford the wasted year. Need to be very aggressive in FA.
Zero
The mistakes are made from arrogance, or over-confidence at the least. Thinking, believing or assuming that you can get something out of a player that someone else couldn't. Or that your approach will squeeze one or two more years from a player that another coach couldn't get.

That said, I agree about the talent but "character" is an ambiguous term. The players need to get along with an established locker room and be more "team" oriented than "me" oriented. That's what makes FA a crap shoot and why frequently the lesser talent is the better acquisition ... IMO.
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