Free Agency Round-up: Eagles Extend Cole

Free Agency Round-up: Eagles Extend Cole

Nearly 24 hours have passed since free agency opened in the NFL, and while there has been a flurry of activity on the marketplace, so far the Eagles have been content to order in. Yesterday, it was Todd Herremans. Today, it was Trent Cole.

The Eagles and Cole agreed to a four-year extension on Wednesday, putting him in midnight green through 2017. Reports are the deal could pay Cole $53 million in new money, with $15 million in guarantees.

Entering his eighth season in the NFL, Cole will turn 30 this season, which makes the extension something of a surprise. In that respect, obviously the organizaion feels there is plenty of tread left on the tires though. Cole recorded double-digit sacks in 2011 for the fourth time in five seasons.

Cole's agent was probably lobbying for a new deal behind the scenes as well. His previous contract was set to run out in 2013, and there was no guaranteed money for the final year. Cole was also underpaid, scheduled to earn $6.3 million total in base salary over the next two seasons.

It's another sign the Eagles don't intend to get too aggressive in free agency, with the focus being placed on continuity instead.

- On that note, I heard a rumor the Eagles could be an 11th hour suitor for defensive end Mario Williams. This, of course, is utterly insane. Even if they had the cap space (they don't), Jason Babin had 18 sacks last season, and now they've locked in Cole. The coaches also need to give Brandon Graham a chance to play so they can make some determination about his future.

- Antonio Dixon signed his one-year restricted tender for $1.9 million.
At that price, the Eagles obviously wanted him back. Another team would
have needed to give up a second round pick to sign Dixon away.

- Breaking update #1: the Eagles have released Jamaal Jackson. Jackson was the longest tenured player on the team, but after suffering consecutive season-ending injuries, Jason Kelce beat him out at center during camp last season.

- By the way, the Eagles freed up about $4 million in the Winston Justice trade, so while they didn't get much in the way of a return, it did give them some much needed breathing room financially. They've shed $6 million in backup offensive linemen alone.

- Speaking of linemen, Carl Nicks accepted a huge offer to join the Tampa Bay Bucs, taking the top guard out of play. The Eagles weren't expected to be in the hunt, but these eye-popping numbers could have an impact on effort to re-sign Evan Mathis: five years, $47.5 million, $31 guaranteed. However, it does further weaken one of the NFC's elites, the New Orleans Saints.

- One of our free agent targets, Jason Campbell, signed a one-year deal to backup Jay Cutler in Chicago. He was probably out of their price range, but for now anyway, the Eagles still appear content to roll with Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards.

- Breaking update #2: Kyle Orton signs with Dallas, will backup The Snake.

- Have to applaud the Redskins for going out and making the best of a bad situation. Unable to pursue Vincent Jackson due to that enormous cap penalty -- he signed in Tampa for five years, $55 million BTW -- Washington went out and beefed up their receiving corps by adding Todd Pinkston and James Thrash, and are close to signing Torrance Small. Oh, wait... that's Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, with Eddie Royal possibly joining them. Good luck with that.

NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

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NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: NBC Sports Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

Buried by Flyers' depth, Jori Lehtera may soon finally crack lineup

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Buried by Flyers' depth, Jori Lehtera may soon finally crack lineup

On the first day he was officially a member of the Flyers, Jori Lehtera was literally pumped. So much so, the weight room warrior hit the gym that morning and slapped on a few extra plates on each side of the barbell.

“My wife woke me up and said, ‘Do you know we’re going to Philadelphia?’” Lehtera said Sept. 11, after the first day he skated with his new teammates in Voorhees, New Jersey.

"I said, 'That's good.' I went to the gym and had a little bit bigger weights than normal. It was good. I needed some change because my game wasn't that good there."

Lehtera was acquired by the Flyers from the Blues at the 2017 NHL draft in the Brayden Schenn trade. In the span of one year, Lehtera’s status has plunged from a top-line center on a playoff team to the 13th forward on a non-playoff team.

That’s not to say the Flyers have failed to recognize Lehtera’s skill set and utilize him effectively, he just didn’t show enough in the preseason to warrant playing time.

The fourth-highest paid forward on the Flyers’ roster has started the first six games of the season as a healthy scratch. Dave Hakstol has opted for the speedier Dale Weise, who’s earning roughly half of Lehtera, who has a $4.7 million cap hit for the next two seasons.

Lehtera's opportunity could come as early as Thursday against the Predators. Wayne Simmonds left Tuesday's game for precautionary reasons with a lower-body injury.

If Simmonds can't go — general manager Ron Hextall said Wednesday he'll have an update on Simmonds Thursday — Lehtera is the next guy up as Hakstol would have to shuffle his lines.

“I’m still excited,” Lehtera said recently. “Camp wasn’t good. I wouldn’t say terrible, it was OK. I’m kind of still looking to find my spot. When I get my opportunity, I’m going to take my spot. Where it is, I don’t know.”

Lehtera bolted St. Louis, the city he spent his first NHL seasons, in a cloud of dust. His "Spirit of St. Louis" was completely sucked dry during his time in St. Louis, as he finished the 2016-17 season with just seven goals and 22 points in 64 games.

“The whole season was a struggle,” Lehtera said. “I just couldn’t get everything out of myself. It wasn’t just a couple of things. It was a lot of big things, and a lot of small things together.”

Playing for Ken Hitchcock, who just passed Al Arbour for third on the NHL’s all-time wins list, has a way of wearing down a player’s psyche.

According to Hitchcock, who rejoined the Dallas Stars this summer after he was fired by the Blues back in February, Lehtera’s struggles were partly a result of centering the team’s top line with superstar winger Vladimir Tarasenko.

“First couple of years there was no attention being paid (to Lehtera)," Hitchcock said in the summer, "and last year, there was a lot of attention of being paid. He lost his confidence because he was in and out of the lineup, so the line wasn’t that effective. The line got special attention for the first time. Because of the way our lineup was built, we were really able to take advantage of matchups.”

Lehtera and Tarasenko developed a lethal chemistry as teammates for Novosibirsk in the KHL, but it didn’t translate to the smaller NHL rink, where time and space to operate with the puck is at a premium. Tarasenko’s reputation quickly earned the attention of the NHL opposition and their top defensive players.

“You saw that chemistry right away,” said Brian Elliott, a teammate of Lehtera’s for two seasons in St.Louis. “They were a dynamic duo and then they were split up, and I think he was looking for that guy to pass to and things like that.”

Compounding Lehtera’s struggles was a concussion he suffered that knocked him out of the lineup for several weeks in February. Once Lehtera returned, he was never quite the same, as he struggled with the speed of the game.

“We played him at wing after he came back from being injured, but his natural position is at center, and that’s where he played his best hockey,” Hitchcock said. “He’s a guy strong on the puck, good down low player, he protects the puck well.” 

Interestingly for a guy listed at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and lacking quickness, Lehtera would appear to be more suited at the wing position.

And the potential opportunity Thursday alone may have Lehtera pounding out a few more extra reps in the gym.