PHILADELPHIA – Hours later, it still hasn’t worn off, that feeling that the Eagles actually did it.
They signed Ryan Kerrigan away from the Washington Football Team.
Chris Long was the same age – 32 – when the Eagles signed him in 2017 and gave the Eagles two solid seasons. Though he started only one game, Long played in all 16 and had 11 sacks and 38 QB hits.
Like Kerrigan, Long played most of his career with one team. He spent eight seasons with the St. Louis Rams then had a one-year pit stop in New England.
Whatever Long did on the field was probably less important than what he meant off the field. He was a culture setter, a team-first player, a popular locker room figure, a leader, and, ultimately, a Super Bowl champion in Philadelphia and New England, too.
Kerrigan is all of that, too. That’s not saying the Eagles are ready to win a Super Bowl, but what he can bring to a locker room in transition could prove invaluable down the road, and, if he shows he has some gas left in his tank, maybe he earns another one- or two-year deal in 2022 when the Eagles figure to have more money to use.
The signing got me thinking.
If you could pick any five players to "steal" from the Eagles’ NFC East rivals, who would they be?
Kerrigan is probably at the top of the list, but he’s not alone.
Here are four others that won't happen, but would certainly be nice fits for Philly:
CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys. The obvious choice, and to think, he was almost an Eagle. Steal him now and imagine the trio of DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, and Lamb for years to come. Some thought was given to Dak Prescott. The guy is a leader and doesn't get the credit he should from Eagles fans. Take him away from the Cowboys and whattya got? Ben DiNucci?
James Bradberry, Giants. The Eagles could still use a cornerback, and they could’ve had this one as a free agent last year. He’s one of the leaders of the back seven and a solid locker room presence. And he’s just 27.
Blake Martinez, Giants. Another player the Eagles could have had in free agency following the 2019 season. All he does is tackle, with more than 140 each of the past four years, including last season when he had 151 during his first season in New York.
He is the other leader of the back seven long with Bradberry and, like Bradberry, he is a culture setter.
You want to know why the Giants are my springtime pick to win the NFC East this year?
Bradberry and Martinez are big reasons why. Not the only ones, but big ones.
Brandon Scherff, WFT. Washington has been collecting talent on the defensive side of the ball for a number of drafts now, and Chase Young, Montez Sweat, and Jamin Davis would look good in DC Jonathan Gannon’s scheme, but Scherff is to the offense what Kerrigan was to the defense – the glue that holds it all together.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.