Bentley, Garcia Top Eagles Free Agent Options

LeCharles Bentley is job number one as the Eagles go into the free agency signing period. Job 1A is quarterback Jeff Garcia to backup Donovan McNabb. After that, it's the shotgun approach to bringing in as many impact free agents as they can. We've got a look at all of the options, including some new names that are part of the rumor mill.

LeCharles Bentley may have the basics of a deal with the Eagles already worked out even though the free agent signing period isn't even a day old (wink,wink,nod,nod). Reports from as far away as San Diego, who were also interested in Bentley, indicate that they've been told the free agent center is off the market.

The Eagles could announce the signing as early as Saturday, but it shouldn't drag out much past Monday.

Quarterback Jeff Garcia could be announced shortly after the Bentley signing and could precede an announcement that either Mike McMahon or Koy Detmer will be released. As with Bentley, there are reports of at least the parameters of a deal already being in place with Garcia.

Once those moves are done, the Eagles will turn their attention to other players who they can nab. Thanks to a ballooning salary cap, the Eagles have approximately $30 million to work with after they cut Terrell Owens salary from the books either through a trade or a simple release.

Antwaan Randle El and the Pittsburgh Steelers may be helped by the increased cap. While Randle El, who the Eagles have an interest in signing, could command an even higher figure than originally thought, he has said that he would accept considerably less to stay in Pittsburgh. With more cap room, the Steelers could take advantage of the discount to keep Randle El in town. That would leave the Eagles to consider other wide receivers like Cleveland's Antonio Bryant and Seattle's Joe Jurevicius, who is gaining in the rankings of the top NFL free agents and has also drawn increased interest from the Eagles.

As a compliment to the often injured Brian Westbrook, the Eagles will consider former Broncos' running back Mike Anderson and Baltimore's Chester Taylor.

With Bentley practically a done deal, the Eagles will look at the other side of the line for help at the defensive tackle spot. Kendrick Clancy of the Giants and Seattle's Rocky Bernard are known to be of interest to the Eagles. Add St. Louis DT Ryan Pickett and Baltimore's Maake Kemoeatu to the mix as new names to consider.

With Shawn Barber signed, the birds have little to no interest in any other linebackers on the market, including LaVar Arrington. Bentley's signing would seem to seal the fate of Jon Runyan, who has yet to be contacted by the Eagles regarding re-signing with the team. Instead, the Eagles will cover Runyan's exit by shifting Shawn Andrews to right tackle and handing the guard spot to Todd Herremans, who was impressive in his rookie campaign. Bentley's signing also would seem to take Kevin Mawae off the radar in Philadelphia. Seattle offensive guard Steve Hutchinson is considered possibly the best remaining free agent on the market, but the Eagles aren't likely to meet his asking price and he'll probably go elsewhere.


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