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As the Eagles scouts and coaching staff eye the up and coming talent this week in Indy at the NFL Scouting Combine, they are also looking around the league to see who could hit the open market when NFL Free Agency when the league’s new year starts March 12th and one name has already surfaced that has caught Chip Kelly and the Eagles eyes.
CSN Philly’s Geoff Mosher says he is hearing that the Eagles are interested in Dolphins CB Sean Smith services but only “at the right price.” The soon to be 26 year old is considered one of the top cornerbacks possibly available if he makes it to free agency and is expected to cash in on a big pay day.
The Palm Beach Post reported late last week that Smith was seeking at “least $24 million guaranteed on his next deal over three years.” The 6’3” 214lbs corner starting all 16 games in 2012, registering 59 combined tackles, two interceptions, three force fumbles and 12 pass deflections. And according to Pro Football Focus, Smith was the most targeted cornerback last season and only allowed around 56% of his attempts thrown his way which was 31st best among 110 corners in the league, but did give up the 2nd most touchdowns.
The 5th year veteran has started 56 games with 211 combined tackles, 40 pass deflections, five interceptions and three forced fumbles. The latest report is that the Dolphins and his agent are still in talks about trying to strike a new deal before the clock hits zero and he hits the open market but both parties have a ways to go. And if he does and the Eagles do pursue he will fill one of the biggest weaknesses on this roster.
The Eagles have a huge question mark in the secondary. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is most likely hitting free agency after a subpar 2012 campaign and the Eagles have asked CB Nnamdi Asomugha to restructure his current contract otherwise risk the possibility of being released by the organization. The Eagles can’t go into next season with Brandon Boykin and Curtis Marsh as their starters so depending on what happens, expect the Eagles to try and fill the void through free agency with an ok draft class but no one that really stands out to be that franchise guy and be an immediate fix. There is expected to be some decent cornerbacks to hit the open market like CB Brent Grimes, Cary Williams, Antoine Cason, and others but I feel Smith fits what Kelly wants to do and is one of the best that will be available.
I didn’t watch too much of Miami last season but from what I did see the guy can play. He was one of the small bright spots on that Miami defense. Smith isn’t a ballhawk and come up with that big clutch interception but is a consistent cornerback. He is a big physical player that has the built to play in this league up against some of the best receivers in the game by bringing a deadly combination with his speed and ability to play in a press man scheme by shutting down opposing receivers. He brings you a lot of versatility too by being able to move inside or out if needed to line up against the tight end position which has been an achillies heel for this team over the years. And shows tremendous fundamentals and tackling ability which is something we haven’t here in Philly by a secondary in years. But he is looking to start the framework of his deal around Titans’ CB Jason McCourty’s contract where he received six years, $43 million with $20 million guaranteed. But is Smith worth that amount of money?
Eagles fans are thinking learn from your past because history will repeat itself especially since the Eagles felt they struck gold two seasons ago when they landed free agent bust CB Nnamdi Asomugha and fans have regretted the move ever since. And I know Smith doesn’t have a lot of production on the stat sheet as regards to interceptions but he has been a consistent player for the Dolphins secondary for numerous years now. Something the Eagles have lacked and at a young age, he looks to only get better. I just don’t see the Eagles getting in a bidding war for his services but I could live with that type of deal and for the right price help improve a secondary that has been one of the worst we have seen in a long time. But it will take more than Smith to fix the Eagles woes but it would be a start. Hey Rome wasn’t built in a day!