The Eagles became the first team to really begin working in the restricted free agent market to improve their team as they signed RB Mike Bell to an offer sheet and traded for Seahawks DE Darryl Tapp, who was a restricted free agent. In exchange for Tapp, the Eagles gave up DE Chris Clemons and a fourth-round pick. Here are some thoughts on both moves.
Bell had a breakout rookie season in Denver but then lost his gig there before finding a renaissance in New Orleans. He isn’t a dynamic back, but he’s an effective phyiscal runner who was great last season at grinding out the clock. Now he gets a one-year, $1.7 million offer to move to the Eagles . If the Saints don’t match Bell’s offer, he’ll keep the pressure off LeSean McCoy and allow the Eagles to limit McCoy’s carries. Bell does duplicate what FB Leonard Weaver can provide, but nowadays teams can’t have enough backs, and so Bell becomes an uncapped year luxury as a backup making more than using. New Orleans will not get any compensation if Bell leaves, so the Saints must decide whether the cash outlay is too rich or if they can swallow signing that check for a solid but unspectacular back who falls behind Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush in the pecking order.
Instead of signing Tapp, who was a restricted free agent, to an offer sheet and potentially surrendering a second-rounder for him, the Eagles worked out a trade for Tapp and then signed him to a three-year extension. Tapp hasn’t been a huge sack producer in his four-year career, and he has only been a part-time starter the last two years, but he still appears to have pass-rush potential. The Eagles, who run a more aggressive scheme, believe Tapp can blossom across from Trent Cole. Seattle gets a fourth-rounder in exchange for Tapp along with Clemons, who has had only one big sack season in his six-year career. Still, Clemons can at least be a rotation end for Pete Carroll’s revamped defense. Seattle didn’t get a second-round pick, but it got a decent haul for a player who wanted a fresh start elsewhere.