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Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Versatile James Casey should help Eagles

By Dan Graziano

The Philadelphia Eagles made their first 2013 free-agent signing official Tuesday night, announcing that they have agreed to terms on a three-year deal with tight end James Casey. The Eagles announcement specifically identified Casey as a tight end, and that's significant since he was used as a fullback in Houston. But I think that distinction speaks to the appeal of Casey to the Eagles and new coach Chip Kelly as he works to build his offense at the NFL level.

Casey
The idea of someone like Casey, who can function as a blocker, a receiver out of the backfield or a tight end, has to seem exciting to a coach who likes to experiment and stay as multiple as possible on offense. Kelly will want options, and having an H-back or "joker" type of player available to Michael Vick (or whoever the quarterback ends up being this year or down the road) can only help with that. The Eagles can run double-tight end looks with Casey and Brent Celek or line the new guy up in the backfield and force teams to have to account for him as something more than a blocker.

I like the signing. It's not a big, splashy one, but Casey is a guy who was drawing interest around the league from teams that thought the Texans underused him. The Eagles have work to do on defense, but the defensive back market is overloaded and likely to move slowly. It's fitting that Kelly's first big move was on offense, and it's a move that's likely to pay dividends as he gets creative.