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Philadelphia Eagles set standard for NFL Free Agency, and new Phillie Hunter Pence gets his feet wet


Philly2Philly’s Two-Minute Drill

The good people at P2P have decided to give you our humorous yet accurate (at least we think so) thoughts on some local sports topics in a brief 120 seconds. It really shouldn't take any longer than that to read. And if it does, "I really need to do a better job of putting my readers in a better position to read faster."

The Eagles are “all in”

And you all thought the Eagles were sleeping.

Despite being dormant on the free agent front for the first 24 hours or so, it was really the calm before the storm in regards to the Philadelphia Eagles free agent shopping spree. Just prior to the ending of the NFL lockout, the team claimed they would make a free agent splash. It took a little bit, but no worries: the Eagles were just getting their ducks lined up.

After the first day of free agency came and went, the Birds helped their defensive line by signing defensive end Jason Babin and acquiring Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie AND a second round pick from the Cardinals in exchange for Kevin Kolb. Although these deals were discussed this week, they were finalized Friday.

Babin had a career year last year at 30, and is reunited with Eagles’ new defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who coached Babin at Tennessee. This is Babin’s second tour of duty with the Eagles, having played for them in 2009 with modest success.  Rodgers-Cromartie is a 2009 Pro Bowler and at 24, is considered a raw talent and an interception machine.

But wait, there’s more!

Former Tennessee quarterback Vince Young was signed by the Eagles Friday in a backup role to Michael Vick. Young’s biggest problem is between his ears. His troubles with the Titans and former head coach Jeff Fisher are well documented. Many see Philadelphia as a pit stop for Young. Andy Reid has a good track record with quarterbacks, and with the help of Michael Vick, maybe Young can get straightened out and become that highly touted draft pick that Tennessee always thought he would be.

Just when you thought that was going to be it with the Eagles on Friday, then the real bomb dropped.

In true Ruben Amaro-esque fashion, the Eagles shocked the NFL world and signed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to a five year $60 million dollar deal, with $25 million of it guaranteed. It was reportedly a foregone conclusion that Asomugha was too pricey for the Birds. Apparently not. Rumors had him going to the Jets or Cowboys. Asomugha was recently ranked 18th out of the top 100 players in the league by the NFL Network. He is a strong physical cornerback, the opposite of Asante Samuel and Rodgers-Cromartie.  And oh yeah, he's THE biggest free agent of this year's class!

Which brings us to our next question. Is Asante Samuel now expendable?

The Eagles now have three cornerbacks. They desperately need a defensive tackle and another linebacker, not to mention possible veteran help at the safety position due to the young ages of Nate Allen and rookie Jaiquawn Jarrett.

I’ve actually had to add to this article twice before publishing it, so I’m going to do it again.

At 5pm on Saturday, the Eagles pulled off another surprise as GM Howie Roseman announced the team had signed defensive tackle and Super Bowl Champion Cullen Jenkins to a five-year deal. Jenkins will definitely help the inside pass rush and it will be interesting to see how else he is used in Jim Washburn’s defensive line.

The Eagles said they were going to big players in the free agent market. And even if they stopped today, they would have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Philadelphia has become THE place to play, and Andy Reid is sitting on one of the most envious positions an NFL coach could occupy. This is something Eagles fans have wanted from this ownership for decades. They got a taste of it in 2004 when the team signed Jevon Kearse and Terrell Owens, but this is even more of a splash.

Something tells me the Eagles are just getting started. Joe Banner  responded with a “Hell yeah” when Roseman deflected the question of whether the Eagles still had cap room. They mange it arguably better than anyone in NFL history, and a few more moves could very well make them the team to beat in the NFC. Take THAT Green Bay.

For more on the Eagles, read Dennis Bakay’s article HERE!

Phillies hunt Hunter Pence, and get him

The sell-out crowd of 45,000 plus at Citizens Bank Park cheered loudly when word got out that the Phillies had acquired Hunter Pence from the Astros.

 Help Joe Vallee win 97.5 FM The Fanatic Dream Job by 'liking' and 'commenting' on his rant!

Ruben Amaro admitted at his press conference that having Pence under contract for two more seasons after 2011 was one

hunter pence

of the reasons they pursued him. The Phillies, as Amaro stated in the press conference, are not big on rentals (referring of course, to the new Giant Carlos Beltran). It was a foregone conclusion that the Phils needed some stability in the outfield, and they think Pence is the answer. What will be very interesting is to see how teams pitch to Ryan Howard with Pence hitting behind him. If Saturday night’s game is any indication, it looks promising.

Pence doesn’t wallk much, has ok speed, and adds 100 strikeouts a year to an already strikeout heavy Phillies lineup. His home runs are down this year, but he should benefit from hitting in a better lineup. Not that the Phils lineup is scary anymore, but the Astros are the worst team in baseball. Three out of the last four years he has led the league in outfield assists, and according to reports he always gives 100 percent, so that should make him an eventual fan favorite. Yes, I know last year I called him the poster child for riddalin, but I don’t care how he looks when he plays as long as he helps the Phillies win the World Series..

Make no mistake, the Phillies are better than they were on Thursday, but Pence is not the same caliber player Beltran is. The Giants only gave up one prospect for Beltran, Zack Wheeler. While some say he is a future top of the line rotation pitcher, others say he is middle of the road.

Meanwhile, the Phillies surrendered Class-A prospect first baseman Jonathan Singleton, right-hander Jared Cosart, right-hander Josh Zeid, and a player to be named later.

Pence will help the Phillies. However, his numbers against the Giants’ starters is less than spectacular. As for the Phillies, that last series said a lot of things about this club, and not in a  good way. All the 103-win seasons in the world can’t hide that fact that they need to hit the Giants’ pitching, or else this season redefines colossal disappointment..

It looks like at this point the Phillies are done their trade deadline shopping. However, don’t count Amaro out just yet. There were some rumblings Saturday that the Phillies had inquired about the services of former Phil Jim Thome.

Stay tuned.


Contact Joe Vallee at Jvallee@philly2philly.com

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