The Philadelphia Eagles might have made the biggest splash in free agency this offseason, but they aren’t the clear-cut favorites to win anything — not even the NFC Championship. Heck, even their owner knows that.
“We’re about as far from a dream team as you can be, we’re playing catch up,” Jeffrey Lurie said during training camp. “The only dream team I know is the Green Bay Packers.”
The Eagles certainly were the biggest winners of free agency, since they picked up the most marquee names. However, the team still has to prove it can jell in time.
In the AFC, the Jets brought in former Giants receiver Plaxico Burress, but will the attention the signing received match the on-field production? And then there’s the Patriots. Bill Belichick kept up his notorious bad-guy signing spree by bringing in Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the new faces in different places this season. Some of the names on this list might surprise you, others probably won’t. Either way, here’s our list of players we expect to make the biggest impacts in their new homes.
Old team » Eagles
New one » Rams
The Eagles usually know when to cut ties with aging players, but hear us out. The 30-year-old can still bring the wood and fills a huge void left by longtime starter Oshiomogho Atogwe. Plus, he’s being re-united with former Eagles assistant and defensive backs coach Steve Spagnuolo in St. Louis.
Old team » Eagles
New one » Cardinals
The kid that made Donovan McNabb expendable gets a second shot at starting — and, with a $65 million price tag, we’re thinking it lasts longer than one game. Still, we have strong doubts about Kolb’s pocket presence and penchant for chucking interceptions. It certainly won’t hurt to be throwing to Larry Fitzgerald though.
Old team » Redskins
New one » Patriots
Bill Belichick is attempting to breathe life into the former Redskins bust. Despite only playing in one preseason game, we expect big things. Belichick is a master of getting the most out of his players (see: Randy Moss, 2007) — and he has too much talent.
Old team » Green Bay
New one » Packers
Everyone points to Nnamdi Asomugha as the Eagles’ biggest prize in free agency. Maybe. Then again, maybe it’s Jenkins. The last time the team had a havoc-creating, sack-hungry defensive tackle was back in 2004, when the Eagles went to the Super Bowl.
Old team » Prison
New one » N.Y. Jets
Not many teams wanted the former inmate when he hit the open market in early June. But outspoken Rex Ryan isn’t one to pass on a reclamation project. At 6-foot-5, the Jets see Burress as a way to solve Mark Sanchez’s accuracy problems.
Old team » Cardinals
New one » Redskins
The running back was shoved out the front door three seasons ago in Arizona, when they drafted his potential successor. Now, Hightower has found new life in D.C. where he averaged 6.8 yards per carry in three preseason games.
Old team » Vikings
New one » Falcons
Many considered Edwards the top-rated end in free agency, even as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery. With him and John Abraham book-ending an already loaded defensive line, the Falcons will surely be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks to play against this season.
Old team » Raiders
New one » Seahawks
The hard-blocking guard priced himself out of Oakland and re-joined former coach Tom Cable, who is Seattle’s offensive line coach. Gallery, a seven-year veteran, should provide some leadership on a very young and inexperienced O-line.
Old team » Colts
New one » Chargers
There was a time when The Eraser was the best — and highest-paid — safety in football. But the 30-year-old couldn’t stay healthy (he played in just nine games in the past three seasons) and was sent packing. He gets a second chance in San Diego, which boasted the stingiest defense in the NFL in 2010.
Old team » Chargers
New one » Saints
He’s like the iPhone 5G version of Reggie Bush. The Saints saved about $1.3
million in salary for a younger, speedier upgrade at tailback. Sproles, who has 10,000 all-purpose yards in 78 games (compare that to less than 5,000 for Bush in 60 games) will provide a lethal change of pace when coupled with rookie bruiser Mark Ingram.