NFC Rumors: Eagles, Panthers, Moore

With Chip Kelly now overseeing personnel decisions, the Eagles have probably had the NFL’s most interesting offseason. There is considerable risk and potentially some reckless methodology involved with the splashy maneuvers the franchise made, writes the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane.

McLane asserts the Eagles overbid in splurges for Byron Maxwell (six years, $63MM) and DeMarco Murray (4/$40MM) with other suitors not willing to come within $2MM AAV in Maxwell’s case or, with the exception of the Raiders, backing off well shy of the Eagles’ new commitment figure to Murray.

Also acquiring injury-riddled veterans Ryan Mathews, Sam Bradford, Walter Thurmond and Miles Austin, the Eagles went against conventional logic perhaps banking on their sports-science practices can benefit their new talents, adds McLane. But in the latter duo’s cases, the contracts didn’t seem to be commensurate with the recent production, thus negating some of the value typically associated with signing injured players, writes McLane.

Thurmond (one year, $3.25MM), who missed last season with a torn pectoral muscle, received almost the same amount he did from the Giants last March when he was coming off a healthier campaign and Austin bound for Philadelphia on a one-year deal worth $2.3MM ($1MM fully guaranteed) fresh off years headlined by injuries and borderline irrelevance compared to his previous work.

With 1,000-yard+ rushing seasons in both of his odd-year seasons (2011 and 2013) and season-defining maladies in his past two odd-year campaigns, Mathews received a bit of an injury-reduced salary, however, at three years and $11MM.

Let’s let it play out,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said to McLane. “I think with any coach, you need patience, you need vision, you need to let them gamble and fail, and gamble and succeed, because the last thing you want to do is make a coach risk-averse.”

Elsewhere around the NFC …

  • The Panthers‘ projected depth chart, according to the Charlotte Observer’s Joseph Person, has an open slot at No. 2 receiver behind 2014 No. 1 draft choice Kelvin Benjamin. Person slotted newly signed wideouts Ted Ginn and Jarrett Boykin with holdover Jericho Cotchery at the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 slots, respectively, and also left the starting cornerback position across from Josh Norman vacant for a late-arriving free agent. Michael Oher is positioned at left tackle, a role he’s only played for one full (2010) despite the literary and cinematic depictions of his pre-NFL life there.
  • Acquiring Ginn, Boykin and Oher, the latter two coming off disappointing seasons, represent the Panthers’ biggest gains this offseason, according to Person. The Panthers reporter listed defensive end, corner and running back as positions in need of upgrades heading into the draft, with Bene Benwikere‘s size (5-foot-11), Jonathan Stewart‘s durability and Kony Ealy‘s progression as charted concerns at those spots.
  • Sterling Moore briefly considered returning to the Cowboys before signing with the Buccaneers, according to an interview with Alex Marvez and Zig Fracassi on Sirius XM Radio (audio link). But the Cowboys left the corner feeling “kind of disrespected” after not electing to tender him as a restricted free agent this offseason despite a productive 2014 season.
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