Instead of chasing expensive impact players such as Dashon Goldson and Sean Smith, the new Philadelphia Eagles regime has opted to sign a handful of solid starters instead.
The Eagles announced the signing of five players, highlighted by the pickup of cornerback Bradley Fletcher and safety Patrick Chung to boost a beleaguered secondary. Also added were tight end James Casey, nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and linebacker Jason Phillips.
A physical press corner, Fletcher somehow landed in the St. Louis Rams' coaching staff's doghouse last season while Pro Football Focus credits him with 0.52 yards per snap in coverage, the lowest rate of any cornerback in the NFL. He was ninth on Around the League's list of free-agent cornerbacks this year.
Chung is another talented defender who's coming off a disappointing season in which he fell out of favor with his coaches. He's reunited with head coach Chip Kelly, who was offensive coordinator at Oregon during Chung's final two seasons in Eugene. He immediately becomes the best safety on the Eagles' roster.
Signed to a three-year, $12 million contract with $5 million guaranteed, according to NFL.com's Albert Breer, Sopoaga fills a glaring vacancy as a run-stuffing nose tackle to help new defensive coordinator Billy Davis convert to a 3-4 scheme. This move allows the Eagles to concentrate on the best player available with the No. 4 overall draft pick.
It's interesting that the Eagles announced Casey as a tight end, since he was underutilized as a fullback in Houston. His price tag of $14.5 million over three years is proof that Kelly values him as a versatile weapon in the passing game. Casey had generated a ton of interest around the league, with at least 14 teams ringing his agent's phone.
Primarily a special-teamer with the Carolina Panthers, Phillips will seek a chance to pitch in on subpackages in Philadelphia.