earl thomas

What other Philly athletes would make the best tamperers?

What other Philly athletes would make the best tamperers?

My life has been consumed with the idea of Bryce Harper recruiting Eagles superfan (and two-time AL MVP) Mike Trout to come join the Phillies in 2021. With tampering ever-present in my mind, I look at why the Phils should continue their pursuit of Trout and a handful of other athletes that Philadelphia teams should begin tampering with right now. I’ve also taken it upon myself to anoint a current Philly player as the one to lead the tampering charge. Here we go:

Mike Trout

The Holy Grail of Philly Tampering. The Prince Who Was Promised. I wrote yesterday that Harper’s courting of Trout and the Angels’ subsequent hissy fit is not only hilarious, but a completely fruitless endeavor. As a man who was once convinced that Nick Foles would be disastrous in the playoffs last winter and that Markelle Fultz would a perennial All-NBA guard, I’ve never been more sure of anything than the fact that Trout will be in red pinstripes at Citizens Bank Park on Opening Day 2021.

Keep putting the squeeze on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California of the West Coast, Bryce. The Angels’ complaints about tampering are only delaying the inevitable.

Top Tamperer: Harper obviously.

 

Le’Veon Bell

“Legal” tampering begins on Monday for NFL free agency, but that shouldn’t stop the Eagles from getting in on Le’Veon Bell’s good side before then. I have no real sense of what Bell’s market will be this month. Will his refusal to suit up last season hamper how much he can cash in? 

Maybe the market sours on Bell and he is only able to take a one-year deal, much like Alshon Jeffery did two years ago. During the 2016 season, the Eagles kicked the tires on trying to acquire Jeffery from the Bears mid-year only to sign him once free agency came. The Eagles were rumored to be interested in trading for Bell last fall. With Howie Roseman’s wizardry at the Birds’ disposal, I wouldn’t count out history repeating itself.

Top Tamperer: Cre’Von LeBlanc. I would trust Cre’Von to do my taxes, dogsit my pit-terrier mix Bruce and with my life overall. If he wants to head the committee to have Bell make the move towards Eastern Pennsylvania, as he’s already made known on Twitter, there may be no man more more capable of the job.


 

Earl Thomas

Yet another installment in a guy who seemed destined to play in Philadelphia. Earl Thomas is Former Next Dawkins. Roseman and the Eagles may have overplayed their hand by extending Rodney McLeod’s contract ahead of what will be a crowded safety market this offseason, but what if the franchise pursues another vet at the position in free agency?

I’m obviously diving into wild hypotheticals, but what if the Birds let Jordan Hicks walk as a free agent and essentially play Big Dime with three safeties as their base formation? Jim Schwartz loved utilizing that package during the franchise’s Super Bowl-winning campaign two years ago with a healthy McLeod and a not-yet-washed-up Corey Graham opposite Malcolm Jenkins. It also serves as a proactive depth move with McLeod coming off a season-ending knee injury in case he doesn’t quite return to his 2017 form.

Top Tamperer: Brandon Graham. A sizeable portion of the Eagles fan base still held ill will towards Graham before 2017 on account of him being Not Earl Thomas, as the safety was a presumed and popular choice for the Eagles in the 2010 NFL Draft. Graham was selected one pick ahead of Thomas. Time is a flat circle. BG should help bring Thomas along for the Eagles’ next ride to the postseason with both players looking for their second Super Bowl ring.

 

D’Angelo Russell

Imagine a world where the Lakers selected Jahlil Okafor instead of D’Angelo Russell with the second pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, allowing Russell to fall to the Sixers with third-overall selection. His silky smooth offensive game would’ve been a perfect match to develop alongside both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Elton Brand and the Sixers have a chance to right the wrongs of the Okafor era and pursue D’Angelo Russell in restricted free agency this summer.

If the Nets were to decide in favor of keeping cap flexibility for superstar-level talent this summer, the Sixers should absolutely make a move on Russell. I’m sort of over the Jimmy Butler Experience and the negative energy that’s persisted around the team in 2019. Let’s say the Sixers let him walk, clear some cap space and hit “Voodoo” Russell with an offer sheet. They’d have Russell, Embiid, Simmons, JJ Redick and Tobias Harris as they fight for a Finals berth in 2020. Sign me up for that.

Top Tamperer: Duh, Embiid. The social media king may have learned from his mistake of recruiting LeBron James over the years and he should turn his attention to a more attainable target. Russell was briefly high school teammates with Embiid (and later Simmons) at Montverde Academy in Florida. The school’s mascot is an Eagle, so the stars have clearly aligned and there’s 100 percent chance of this happening. Go Birds.

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More from The700Level

Eagles Mailbag: Possible trade for Earl Thomas; will Alshon Jeffery play?

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USA Today Images

Eagles Mailbag: Possible trade for Earl Thomas; will Alshon Jeffery play?

SOMEWHERE OVER WEST VIRGINIA — I got to the Philly airport on Saturday and as I checked my bag, the American flight attendant said, “Are you going to the game too?” 

Yeah, there are going to be a lot of Eagles fans in Nashville. 

Time for your questions:

This question and “how much will he play?” keep coming up. 

As of Friday, Jeffery was still pretty sick, but the Eagles think it was just a 24-48 hour virus. The good news is that his shoulder is fine; that won’t keep him out. 

If Jeffery does get through this illness, he’s going to play. The surgically-repaired shoulder has held up fine and will be good to go. That’s not the problem. I think Jeffery is going to play, but I question how much he’ll be able to play because of the sickness. We’ve all been sick, so we all know how much it can take out of you. That’s something to watch in this game. Not sure Jeffery will be at 100 percent. 

https://twitter.com/JHoff__/status/1046054518700601349

Nah. He’s still the starting left cornerback. As much as fans want to remove him from playing corner, the Eagles like him there. We’ll see Malcolm Jenkins and Corey Graham starting at safety. The next guy up if they ever want to use three safeties is the real question. I doubt we see much of it, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Rasul Douglas eventually get a shot at safety in a pinch. 

https://twitter.com/MakeJoAnAllStar/status/1046055588768219137

This is a disguised Jalen Mills question, but I get it. We all see Sidney Jones look great and we want more. I think there’s a chance, but I think Mills and Ronald Darby have much longer leashes than fans probably want. And for now, Jones is already pretty much a starter. He played like 75 percent of the snaps and he’s been really good inside. I don’t think they’ll be in a hurry to move him outside. 

Sure, it’s possible, but not likely. And we all know better than to doubt Howie Roseman when it comes to trades. I think it’s at least worth a phone call. Graham can still play, but he’s not Thomas. Now, how much is it going to cost? That’s obviously the real question. The Seahawks reportedly turned down a second-rounder from the Cowboys. The Eagles are much better than the Cowboys so their second-rounder next year is even less valuable. And then you have to ask yourself how much Thomas wants in a contract. He’s in the final year of his deal and wants to get paid. The Eagles already have a very expensive safety in Malcolm Jenkins. They could move on from Rodney McLeod after this year. And a duo of Jenkins and Thomas is scary, but also crazy expensive. It’s worth a call, but I don’t think it’s likely. 

As I understand the injury, there’s not a chance of further injury. Really, it’s just a matter of pain tolerance. So, it’s not like a hamstring injury that if he plays he could end up on the shelf for a month or something. It sounds crazy, I know. Playing with a back fracture. But Ajayi said he feels good and has a high pain tolerance. 

And he wants to play. This is a big season for Ajayi. He’s trying to earn a contract. It might be his one shot to make some real money in this league. 

https://twitter.com/JesusZoidberg/status/1046053874161897473

No, but I’d give Gritty a look at defensive tackle. I think he’d be relentless in pursuit and wouldn’t be afraid to handle the dirty work. 

More on the Eagles

Cowboys eyeing blockbuster trade for Seahawks' Earl Thomas

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AP Images

Cowboys eyeing blockbuster trade for Seahawks' Earl Thomas

Now that free agency has begun to settle down, let's take a quick look around the NFC East.

The Eagles have bolstered their Super Bowl-winning roster.

The Giants are ... trying?

The Redskins traded for who they think is their franchise QB.

And the Cowboys ... well, they haven't really done anything at all. They franchise-tagged budding star DE DeMarcus Lawrence and that's about it.

But that could change very quickly, as the Cowboys have shown interest in trading for arguably the best safety in the league, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora.

Just about every team would love to have Earl Thomas — 28 years old and a three-time All-Pro — who the Eagles infamously passed on in favor of Brandon Graham. (Can we put that argument to rest already?)

But the Cowboys may have the assets to actually pull off the trade, adding one of the game's greats to a defense in desperate need of a playmaker on the back end.

The Cowboys currently own 10 picks in the upcoming draft and with the draft being held in Dallas, the team could be looking to make a splash.

It appears the interest is mutual, too.

After the Seahawks topped the Cowboys in Dallas last season, Thomas told Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, "If you have a chance to get me, come get me."

The Seahawks' fire sale has already claimed Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett on the defensive side, while Kam Chancellor's future is uncertain while he deals with a neck injury. 

Would a full season of Ezekiel Elliott and a retooled secondary led by Thomas be enough to compete with the Eagles for the NFC East crown?