Tags should not affect Eagles' plans


The Eagles haven't exactly advertised their free-agency plans, which is understandable. Now that the deadline for franchise and transition tags has passed, all we can say is that their plans likely haven't changed much.

Washington linebacker Brian Orakpo had the franchise tag placed on him. That takes him off the list of possible targets for the Eagles, but the odds were against them making a play for Orakpo. He is exactly the kind of free agent -- a guy who could command more money than his production warrants -- that general manager Howie Roseman has said the team is not interested in.

(That said, he's also exactly the kind of player that fans and media like to speculate about. Orakpo would be a perfect edge pass rusher in the Eagles 3-4 defense and signing him would mean not facing him twice a year.)

Another player that has been discussed as a possibility for the Eagles is Pittsburgh linebacker Jason Worilds. The Steelers placed the transition tag on Worilds, which means only that they would have the right to match any offer he receives.

If the Eagles were planning to take a shot at Worilds, that shouldn't slow them down. The Steelers do not have the cap space to match a carefully designed offer sheet. Indeed, to keep Worilds, Pittsburgh may have to release other players to create cap space. If LaMarr Woodley is a casualty, he could be a nice consolation prize. Bottom line: There just aren't that many pass rushers worth pursuing in free agency.

Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis has often cited the Steelers' Dick LeBeau-coached defense as his model. It stands to reason Davis could use a big-time player who is already schooled in that style of play.

Neither of the top safeties were tagged, which makes for an intriguing scenario when free agency opens. Buffalo's Jairus Byrd and Cleveland T.J. Ward will be on the market. Both are 27. Both have been to the Pro Bowl. Either would be the Eagles' best safety since Brian Dawkins.

Is Roseman willing to make Byrd the highest paid safety in the NFL? That's what it will take? Would he make a run at Ward, who knows Davis from his stint in Cleveland?

Even if Ward and Byrd are not on Roseman's list, their presence in the market has a ripple effect. They will attract immediate attention from teams desperate for safety help. That will leave the next tier -- safeties like Miami's Chris Clemons and Carolina's Mike Mitchell -- for the Eagles to approach if that's the way they choose to go.