By Jack Ryan
After the Eagles cut Todd Herremans yesterday, lots of speculation on a replacement centered on free agency or the draft.
But there is another option for Supreme Leader Chip Kelly.
The Eagles may be looking in-house.
Andrew Gardner appeared in 14 games, including six starts at right guard, receiving a minus-6.4 for the entire body of work. Obviously, any negative score isn’t good, but Gardner outperformed Herremans!
Last offseason, the Eagles signed Allen Barbre (photo above) to a three-year contract extension, indicating they felt a reserve lineman was important to the club’s future. Is it a coincidence there is a vacancy a year later? Barbre had filled in capably during a handful of relief appearances in 2013. The three-year, $4.35 million deal he signed didn’t seem indicative of anything beyond well-compensated depth at the time.
If you forgot that Barbre was even on the roster, that’s understandable. He was filling in at right tackle for a suspended Lane Johnson when he suffered a season-ending ankle injury on opening day in 2014 and hasn’t been heard from since.
This is all just thinking out loud, too. Barbre is another journeyman who also spent a year out of the league. He has eight career starts in an NFL career that spans eight years, and most of those didn’t go very well. Yet by definition, Barbre is an option to replace Herremans.
Then again, by definition, so are Matt Tobin and Dennis Kelly, both of whom spent time at right guard in 2014, in that all of these players are still on the roster. Neither Tobin nor Kelly was very effective, though, so they seem unlikely choices, as does Josh Andrews, an undrafted free agent with no NFL experience who was signed to a futures contract at season’s end.
Perhaps the best bet really is for Philly to sign a proven replacement in free agency. Of course, only $2.8 million of Herremans’ cap hit was in actual savings—the other $2.4 million is dead money—which means the Eagles could wind up allocating a lot of money on a right guard in 2015 should they go that route.
That’s a curious decision to arrive at when, despite the metrics, Herremans was considered an adequate solution when healthy.
With free agency set to open on March 10, we’ll find out soon enough if the Birds intend to spend money to fill the hole they created along the offensive line or if they’re going to have to get creative.