Gary Horton and Field Yates are doing "Offseason Playbook features" on every team, and if you have the Insider access I recommend them thoroughly. And if you don't have the Insider access, I recommend getting it. Anyway, today Gary and Field take a look at the Philadelphia Eagles with a brief rundown of what the offense and defense will look like under new head coach Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis. Interesting stuff in there, especially the part that urges people (as we've been doing for some time) not to assume the offense will just be an NFL version of the one Kelly ran at Oregon.
They also list six positions of need, starting with safety and cornerback as you or I would. And as they've done with every team in the series so far, they pick one free agent they think the team should pursue. For the Eagles, with a gaping need at safety and the cap room to outbid anyone, they select 49ers safety Dashon Goldson. Field writes that Goldson "can be a tone-setter for Philadelphia, which needs help in the worst way in the secondary."
In Philadelphia he would bring consistency and reliability to a safety group that had very little of it last season. Goldson is a productive safety against both the run and in the passing game and would bring immediate toughness to a defense that is in transition right now.
Regardless of what scheme Davis opts to run in Philadelphia, he needs to add playmakers on all three levels of his defense. Goldson has proven himself to be one for the 49ers in each of the past four seasons, and he would immediately become a pillar of Philly's new-look defense in 2013.
It would certainly be exciting for the Eagles to land a player who may be the top guy on the market at a position of significant need. Goldson turns 29 in September, so he's not old but likely not exactly as young as the Eagles would like the new players on their defense to be. And you do have to ask yourself why a Super Bowl team that barely substituted at all on defense in 2012 is letting Goldson go. Eagles fans may also be gun-shy about another big-name free-agent signing so soon after the mess of 2011. But there's no question they need players -- and playmakers, especially on defense. There are quite a few experienced safeties on the market, and it's possible the Eagles like someone else better. But they will need to get someone, and Goldson would qualify as a big splash.