Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Philadelphia Eagles Top Ten Free Agent Signings

Pittsburgh Steelers v Philadelphia Eagles

Part 1 of a 10 Part Series

Philadelphia Eagles fans have been frustrated with the team's lack of activity during the 2010 free agency period. With several obvious needs apparent to the fan base, the Eagles brass has elected to pursue only a couple low profile free agents.

At the same time, the team has released and allowed several other players to depart, increasing the number of roster spots that need to be plugged. It seems universally acknowledged that the Birds need help at linebacker, defensive end, and safety. Other less glaring, but still important team needs include cornerback depth and the interior of the offensive line.

Although many of the top unrestricted free agents have already landed, the Eagles may be looking for some second wave bargains. Needless to say, fans were hoping for the team to move more aggressively in the free-agent market in order to improve the roster and position the team for success in 2010.

How big an impact could a high level freeagent make on the current team? In order to provide some backdrop, I took a look back through the team's history to assess the free-agent signings that have most positively impacted the Eagles.

What follows are the 10 best free-agent signings in franchise history:

No. 10 Jevon Kearse

Unlike this year, the Eagles jumped into the free agent waters quickly in 2004 by signing Titans defensive end Jevan Kearse to a record contract. "The Freak" was to provide the team with a game changing defensive star that would help propel them to the Super Bowl after three recent near misses.

Kearse never did live up to those expectations, but did provide a presence on the defensive line that required opposing defensive coordinators to account for him in their game plans. His first two seasons in midnight green were steady, albeit unspectacular, before suffering an injury in 2006 that kept him out of most of the season and compromised his play the following year.

Although he contributed a somewhat meager 7.5 sacks in the 2004 regular-season, Kearse surely had a hand in the Eagles ascension to the Super Bowl that season. Conversely, in terms of return on investment, the Eagles clearly did not attain the yield they had envisioned.

Accordingly, many would view Kearse as a total bust considering his paycheck, but he is mostly included here simply because the Eagles finally cleared the hurdle to get back to the Super Bowl after he joined them. The 2004 team came the closest to grabbing the ever elusive Lombardi Trophy for Eagles fans.

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