Team Report: Eagles

Hugh Douglas took the money and ran. Opted for a slightly bigger signing bonus in Jacksonville instead of a better Super Bowl opportunity in Philadelphia.

Much to the Eagles' chagrin, they so far haven't been able to persuade the man they've targeted to replace Douglas at right defensive end to do the same.

The Eagles, who have almost $15 million in salary cap space, are prepared to make Packers restricted free agent Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila a rich man. Much richer than the Packers can make him with their $4 million in cap space.

The Eagles brought KGB to town a week and a half ago and wined him and dined him. Showed him their state-of-the-art training facility and their brand new stadium. Promised to make him richer than he ever dreamed.

Yet, a week and a half later, KGB has yet to sign an offer sheet with the Eagles. All things being equal, he'd rather stay in Green Bay. Even if all things aren't equal, he'd rather stay in Green Bay.

While Gbaja-Biamila's agent continues to negotiate with the Packers, the Eagles continue to wait for a yes or no answer. KGB's agent says his client is still mulling things over. The Eagles aren't dumb. They know that means their chances of getting KGB's signature on an offer sheet aren't very good.

On Wednesday morning (March 26), Eagles head coach Andy Reid labeled the Eagles' talks with KGB "dead, dead for now." At about the same time he spoke those words, though, club president Joe Banner was having breakfast with KGB's agent, Bruce Tollner. Two days later, though, there still was no signature on an offer sheet.

While the Eagles are willing to give Gbaja-Biamila as much time as he needs to make a decision, they clearly are growing weary of his indecision and are making plans to proceed without him. That means looking at the draft board and seeing which defensive ends might still be available at No. 30, which is when the Eagles pick in the first round. That means continuing to cross their fingers that Derrick Burgess will come all the way back from his broken foot. That means having their personnel people investigate which veteran defensive ends might spring loose after June 1.

If Burgess, who had bone graft surgery on his injured foot in February, is able to make a complete recovery as the doctors have suggested, Reid thinks the Eagles will be fine without Douglas and without KGB.

"We can go play right now," he said. "We're ready to roll."

Reid thinks the combination of Burgess, who had six sacks in a part-time role as a rookie two years ago, and speedy N.D. Kalu, who had eight sacks last season, can get the job done on the right side. With the return of Hollis Thomas, who missed all of last season with a broken foot, the Eagles also likely would slide versatile right tackle Darwin Walker outside on run downs a lot.


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