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Philly stakes claim to former Pro Bowler

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles placed the franchise
tag on former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Corey Simon on Thursday.

Simon had 24 tackles and 5½ sacks this season, and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent March 2.

The Eagles would have seven days to match any offer made to
Simon, a Pro Bowler last year after leading the team with 7½ sacks.
If Philadelphia declines to match the offer, the Eagles would
receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.

Unless he re-signs to a long-term contract, Simon would play
next season under a one-year deal for the average of the five
highest-paid players at his position.

"Corey's a good player, and his personality fits very well in
our locker room," coach Andy Reid said in a statement. "He's a
talented player against the pass and against the run. We're happy
to take this step to keep him in Philadelphia."

The Eagles, with about $18 million under the salary cap for next year, have several players from this year's Super Bowl team who
could leave via free agency, most notably Pro Bowl middle
linebacker Jeremiah Trotter. Guard Jermane Mayberry, defensive end
Derrick Burgess and tight end Chad Lewis are also unrestricted free
agents, while running back Brian Westbrook is a restricted free
agent.

Simon, out of Florida State, was the Eagles top pick (sixth
overall) in 2000. He has 32 sacks in his five-year career and set
the Eagles' rookie record with 9½ sacks -- including a sack of the
Dallas Cowboys' Troy Aikman on his first career play.