Is Damaged Donte For The Birds?

With news that Donte Stallworth is in the NFL's substance abuse program, the fact that he's not a hot commodity on the free agent market isn't as surprising. So, will the Eagles be interested in getting him back with a cheap deal?

There's never a good time to be listed as a member of the NFL's substance program, but Donte Stallworth picked perhaps the worst time. Instead of getting a nice deal as a free agent, the interest in Stallworth is luke warm thanks to his inclusion on the list and it has definitely hurt his chances. Teams have a right to know if a player they are about to sign is in the substance program and Stallworth's name has popped up on the list of players who entered the program this season.

The Eagles had considered making Stallworth their franchise player, but backed away, in part because of the fact that he could be suspended with another substance abuse issue. It's unclear how Stallworth became a part of the program, since there are various ways that a player can be put into the program, including a positive test, an off the field incident or a voluntary inclusion on the list. There hasn't been any word of off the field incidents and it's unlikely that he would have put himself on the list knowing it would hurt his free agency chances, so most NFL executives believe it's from a positive test.

With Stallworth's dollar value dropping, would the Eagles be interested in bringing him back at a low value? It's possible. Stallworth had hoped to sign with New England, Miami or San Francisco, but his options are dwindling. The '49ers and Patriots have both signed free agent wide receivers this off-season and the Dolphins aren't looking to be big spenders and have reportedly passed on Stallworth. That could leave the Eagles sitting in the Catbird seat, but you have to figure that agent Drew Rosenhaus will put the best possible spin on Stallworth's situation and fight for the biggest dollar value possible. However, teams aren't knocking down Stallworth's door and he hasn't been invited for any official visits with other teams.

For their part, the Eagles are mum on Stallworth, but are reportedly courting Rams receiver Kevin Curtis, although no official visit with Curtis - or any other free agent for that matter - has been arranged. Curtis has served as the Rams number three receiver and would likely come at a decent price and keep a veteran presence next to young Reggie Brown, who the Eagles view as their number one receiver. The 28 year old Curtis interviewed with both the Lions and Vikings, but didn't sign with either team and hasn't received an official offer from either team.

Considering his now tenuous situation, it's possible that the Eagles will simply pass on Stallworth and only have interest in him if they can't sign Curtis.

On other fronts, Correll Buckhalter cancelled a visit to the Denver Broncos yesterday, prompting speculation that he and the Eagles were moving closer to a deal. Buckhalter would prefer to stay in Philadelphia, but the Eagles have looked around for other options to back-up Brian Westbrook. They called Sam Morris to schedule a visit, but he was moments away from signing elsewhere and declined to cancel the signing to come to Philadelphia. The more interesting names still on the market include Corey Dillon, Dominic Rhodes, Chris Brown, T.J. Duckett and Ron Dayne, although the Eagles aren't thought to have major interest in any of those players.

On defense, the New Orleans Saints have met with both Rod Hood and Will James, both of whom the Eagles would like to re-sign. Both players have also received interest from other teams in addition to the Saints and Eagles. If either or both wind up elsewhere, the Eagles will definitely look for a free agent corner to add to the mix. They are also reportedly considering some help at the linebacker spot, but have curiously not scheduled any visits with free agents from any position.


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