2011 NFC post-lockout grades
Grading every NFC team on how much it has improved since the lockout ended
After the monotony of the NFL lockout, free agency began July 26 with a flurry of signings and trades that has slowed only in the past few days. Some teams (Philadelphia Eagles) made moves to push them to the brink of being a Super Bowl favorite. Others (Cleveland Browns) stood pat.
Matt Williamson grades all 32 NFL teams on their free-agent acquisitions and trades since the end of the lockout
Key additions: Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cullen Jenkins, Vince Young, Ronnie Brown, Ryan Harris, Evan Mathis, Akeem Jordan (re-signed), Jarrad Page, Derek Landri, Anthony Hargrove
Key losses: Kevin Kolb, Brodrick Bunkley, Quintin Mikell, Leonard Weaver, Ernie Sims, Max Jean-Gilles, Dimitri Patterson, Stewart Bradley
Analysis: Cornerback was a huge problem area for Philadelphia last year. Not anymore. The Eagles landed the biggest free-agent prize in Asomugha and got Rodgers-Cromartie in the Kolb trade. Philadelphia added another big-time pass-rusher in Babin, who excelled under the Eagles' new defensive line coach, Jim Washburn, last year in Tennessee. As he did last season, Washburn will line Babin up wide and just let him loose, allowing the former first-round pick to use his great speed and tools. With as much attention as the great Trent Cole commands, Babin could match his lofty totals from a year ago.
The Eagles more or less swapped out Bunkley, a great player versus the run, for Jenkins, who is one of the best interior pass-rushers in the league. Although Kolb is now in Arizona, Philadelphia scored big in landing Young as the backup to Michael Vick. Young has obvious similarities to the Eagles' starting signal-caller, and coach Andy Reid is a master at developing quarterbacks. Not only should Young's time in Philadelphia do him a ton of good, but he very well could be called on if the injury-prone Vick goes down.
It would be very easy to overlook the addition of Mathis, an underrated but solid guard signed from the Bengals. Injuries have been a problem for Harris, but he is athletic and should fit in very well. The Eagles also added Brown to spell LeSean McCoy. He's a bigger back who will help Philadelphia put away opponents late in games.
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